Tag Archives: kamala das

Love in the Time of Public Despair: Remembering Kamala Surayya

31 May passed like any day in present-day Kerala – filled with the cacophony of mediocrities and expressions of greed, envy, and hate which have become the new normal. No wonder, then, that most people did not remember that this was the poet Kamala Das/Madhavikkutty/ Kamala Surayya’s death anniversary. I cannot help recollecting that I had predicted that this would happen: that people here would celebrate her death, display sickening sentimentality, and then quickly forget. In life and in death, Surayya never received the critical attention that she deserved as a thinker, nor did those interested in progressive left politics take her forays into politics seriously. In these times of despair, one must, however, turn to her …

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A desk of her own. Farewell to Kamala Das

Kamala Das (Madhavikutty, Kamala Suraiya), died this morning, May 31, 2009, aged 75.

Virginia Woolf wrote in A Room of One’s Own (1929):

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction; and that, as you will see, leaves the great problem of the true nature of woman and the true nature of fiction unsolved.”

In an interview in 1996, the interviewer Shobha Warrier reminds Das of something she had once said “about the pathetic condition of a woman writer who does not even have a writing table. The dining table has to serve as her writing table once it is cleared.”
Kamala Das replies:

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