Google honours poet and author Kamala Surayya (Kamla Das) with a doodle on the publication date of her autobiography, “My Story,” that was released in 1976. According to today’s Google Trends report, people in India have searched Kamala more than 5 million times on Google on the publication anniversary of her autobiography.
Kamala embraced Islam at the age of 65 and changed her name to Kamala Surayya. Her religious conversion and interviews favouring the hijab came as a surprise to many. Kamala is a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award and many literary awards.
These are the Top 10 Points you need to know about “The Mother of Modern Indian English Poetry” Kamala Surayya (Kamala Das):
1. A prominent Indian poet, memoirist and short-story writer Kamala Das were born on March 31, 1934, in Kerala’s Thrissur district.
2. Her father, VM Nair, was the editor of the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi and her mother Nalapat Balamani Amma was a Malayalam poet.
3. Interest in writing was something inherited, she excelled in writing like her mother, and her love of poetry began at an early age. She was noted for her many Malayalam short stories as well as poems written in English.
4. A prolific writer, Kamala wrote more than 20 books. These include several collections of short stories and poems as well as six novels and three memoirs.
5. Kamala was known by her name Madhavikutty and she married at the age of 15 to Madhav Das who stood at her side and encouraged her writing interests.
6. Kamala adopted two blind Muslim children, Irshad Ahmed and Imtiaz Ahmed, who encouraged her closer to Islam, and at 65, Kamala accepted Islam and assumed the name Kamala Surayya, her religious conversion and interviews favoring the ‘Hijab’ came as a surprise to many people.
7. Kamala received many literary awardsfor her work such as Asian Poetry Prize, Kent Award for English Writing from Asian Countries, Asan World Prize, Ezhuthachan Award, Sahitya Academy Award, Vayalar Award, Kerala Sahitya Academy Award and Muttathu Varkey Award.
8. Memoir – ‘My Story’ (1976) “My Story,” is the most famous of her memoirs which was written in English and published in 1976. In it, Kamala describes her childhood, her marriage to an older man, the emotional breakdowns and suicidal thoughts.
9. Kamala’s major works include: The Sirens, Summer in Calcutta, The Descendants, My Story, The Old Playhouse And Other Poems, Alphabet of Lust, The Anamalai Poems, Padmavati; The Harlot and Other Stories, Yaa Allah, Only The Soul Knows How To Sing, Pakshiyude Manam, Dayarikkurippukal, Neermathalam Pootha Kalam, Madhavikuttiyude Unmakkadhakal.
10. Kamala died at the age of 75 on May 31, 2009, at a hospital in Pune, she was suffering from acute diabetes and later she was buried at the Palayam Jama Masjid at Thiruvananthapuram.