Google doodle honours Kamala Das, ‘Mother of modern English poetry’
Search engine giant Google today honoured Kamala Das, one of the most prominent feminist voices in the postcolonial era.
Das is one of India's prominent poets and a Malayalam author who dared to write about women's sexual lives and marital problems at a time when open discussion about such topics was taboo.
Her work inspired women struggling against domestic and sexual oppression and is documented in more than 20 books. On account of her extensive contribution to the poetry in our country, she earned the label 'The Mother of Modern Indian English Poetry'.
Kamala was born in Thrissur District of Kerala, on March 31, 1934, to V M Nair, who was a former managing editor of Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi, and Nalapat Balamani Amma, a renowned Malayali poet.
Her childhood was spent her childhood between Calcutta, where her father was working in the Walford Transport Company which sold automobiles like Bentley and Rolls Royce and ancestral home in Punnayurkulam.
In "My Story", which was published in 1976, Das recounts her childhood, spent in Kerala and Kolkata, her unfulfilling arranged marriage to an older man before her 16th birthday; the emotional breakdowns and suicidal thoughts that she faced as a young wife and mother; her husband's apparent homosexuality and the sexual and romantic yearning that ran through most of her married life.
After suffering from acute diabetes and related illnesses, she passed away at the age of 75 in Pine on May 31, 2009.
She embraced Islam on December 11, 1999, at the age of 65 and assumed the name Kamala Surayya.
Even after her death, she remains a controversial figure. A film based on her life has run into legal troubles with a petition being filed in the Kerala High Court, alleging that the film was sending a message favouring love jihad.
In his petition, lawyer K P Ramachandran alleged that former Muslim League MP and orator Abdul Samad Samadani had developed intimacy with her and converted her to Islam as part of a terrorist-funded plan.
Google, celebrating her work, writes in tribute to her, "Through all her transitions and personal reinventions, Das continued to write poetry and prose that was unflinching and passionate.
"Today's Doodle by artist Manjit Thapp celebrates the work she left behind, which provides a window into the world of an engrossing woman," it says.