Kamala Das, a well-known Indian feminist writer bid farewell to the world, but she will be remembered eternally as an important literary figure until many generations. She was born as Madhavikutty at a small district called Thrissur in Kerala. When young Madhavikutty was still growing up she got married to a much older relative, K. Madhava Das at the age of 15.
As there was a huge age difference between them, she suffered tremendously. Both her parents were renowned writers and thus, writing came rather easy and naturally to Kamala Das. Albeit her husband supported her writing, she still had to face a lot of criticisms from both her other relatives and the society at large.
She was a true unconventional rebel. She defied the social norms and lived her life according to her own rules. She was a consummate deviant in many ways. She fought hard to break free from the mundane and meaningless existence. Many termed her eccentric and silly but she remained unabashed.
She shocked the world with her kinky writings and received a lot of negative criticisms. She followed no apparent rules for writing. Her poems do not follow any rhyme schemes in order, nor do they follow punctuation marks strictly. She wrote the way she wanted to write, and rebelled against everyone who criticised her.
In the early stage of her writing, many critics criticised her for writing in English Language but Kamala Das stood strong and opined that she dreamt of writing in the English Language though born with a different language. All that mattered to her was the way of expressions (she followed a very simple yet direct expressions). She preferred encapsulation over circumlocution. Hence, her writings communicated through a minimal use of language. Nevertheless, her expressions were very crisp and clear.
Kamala Das had been a very important feminist figure amongst the Indian writers. Her bold writings paved a new path for many to follow suit and urge their opinions to the society. She awakened the many subordinated writers from their cocoons and helped them take a strong stance for themselves.
She took the name Kamala Surayya after converting to Islam in 1999. This created a furore among many people. She also received a lot of controversies for the same reason. What made her take this decision is not very certain. However, some believe that she took the extreme step after reading ‘The Quran’ to teach the two boys who she apparently looked after. Some also say that she had enough of Hinduism and hence, converted to Islam.
Which religion she followed is not important but her significant and unconventional contributions to the literary world are. They will be treasured timelessly. The world will remember the writings that showed acerbic wit for which Kamala Das was both admired and criticised.