June 12, 2009

Remembering Kamala Das

ONE OF INDIA’S most beloved writers, Kamala Das, passed away after a long illness on the morning of May 31  2009. A poet and memoirist, she died at the age of 75, after a long and conflicted career.

Predictably, many of the obituaries focused on the more controversial aspects of her writing and life, particularly where sexuality was concerned, including this one in The Hindu and this one in the New York Times. But as with all lionized public figures, the tendency to reduce a complicated life and body of work to a few choice elements does little justice to the figure her/himself.

Without further comment, then, here is a short documentary in which Das reads and discusses her poems and their inspirations.

4 comments to Remembering Kamala Das

  • apu

    Actually, Kamala Das’ poetry when I first read it, was a revelation to me – until then, I had never come across the suggestion that women (esp ‘good’ Indian women) also thought of their bodies and their sexual needs; in that sense, I thought sexuality formed an important part of her writing, though I do understand what you mean – there isn’t really much coverage of her in these obits as a poet, beyond that.

  • Yamini

    The Maggots
    At Sunset, on the river ban, Krishna/ Loved her for the last time and left../That night in her husband’s arms, Radha felt/ So dead that he asked, What is wrong,/ Do you mind my kisses, love? And she said,/ No, not at all, but thought, What is/ It to the corpse if the maggots nip?…
    KAMALA Das

  • Tufayel

    too good her writing style,i just like to read her writing again and again.Allah will keep her in peace.

  • I am planning to translate five poems of Kamala Das into Telugu as part of a larger project to write a series on Indian English Poets. I will appreciate if some on can provide me with information on how to acquire copyright permission to translate her poems into Telugu. Thank you
    Syamala Kallury Please mail to me at
    s_kallury @hotmail.com
    If you ahve any useful info in this direction.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>