Pune: Writer and poet Kamala Das, known for her frank discussion of female sexuality in conservative India, died here on Sunday. She was 75 and is survived by three sons.
The Malayalam writer and poetess, who earned fame for her works in English, breathed her last in a city hospital where she had been admitted on 18 April following a complaint of respiratory distress.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in a statement, expressed grief over the poet’s demise.
She was one of the first Indian writers to explore sexual themes in her work, and her 1976 autobiography, ‘My Story’, was a candid recollection of her own sexual coming of age that was translated into 15 languages.
Das converted to Islam in 1999 and took the name Kamala Das Surayya, but later appeared to regret it, saying, “God has no connection with any religion. There is no respect for women anywhere.” She also dabbled in politics, launching the Lok Seva Party but failing to win a seat in the Parliament.
Her books in English include ‘Summer in Calcutta’, ‘The Descendants’, ‘The Old Playhouse’ and ‘Alphabet of Lust’, among others.