Kamala Surayya (Madhavikutty )

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Birthday : Mar 31st 1934
Date of demise: May 31st 2009
She was 75 at the time of her death
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Born : Thrissur, Kerala
Last updated : Dec 31st 2021

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About Kamala Surayya

Kamala Surayya also known as Madhavikutty and Kamala Das (married name) was an Indian poet and author. She was born in a conservative Hindu Nair (Nalapat) family having royal ancestry. She converted to Islam on December 11, 1999, at the age of 65 and assumed the name Kamala Surayya. She is most famous in Kerala for her short stories and autobiography in Malayalam. She has written most of her English work under the name Kamala Das and is noted for her poems and explicit autobiography. On 31 May 2009, aged 75, she died at a hospital in Pune, after a long battle with pneumonia. She was buried at the Palayam Juma Masjid at Thiruvananthapuram with full state honour.

Awards and recognitions

Kamala Das has received many awards for her literary contribution. Notable awards include Ezhuthachan Puraskaram (2002), Vayalar Award (1997), Sahitya Akademi Award, Asan World Prize, Asian Poetry Prize (1998), Kent Award etc.

In 1984 she was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature

Family life

Kamala Das was born to V. M. Nair ( a managing editor of Mathrubhumi ) and Nalapat Balamani Amma (poet).

At the age of 15, she married bank officer Madhav Das. The couple had three sons – M D Nalapat, Chinen Das and Jayasurya Das. Her husband predeceased her in 1992, after 43 years of marriage.

Kamala Surayya converted to Islam in 1999 and announced that she planned to marry her Muslim lover, but she never remarried.

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