Google on Thursday celebrated the life of Malayalam author Kamala Das with a doodle. The day marks the publication of her autobiography – “My Story” – published on February 1, 1976, which remains her most celebrated work. Kamala was born in Punnayurkulam, Thrissur District in Kerala, on 31 March 1934 to VM Nair, the former managing editor of Mathrubhoomi, and Nalapat Balamani Amma, a renowned Malayali poet.She had many names in her life. When she began publishing, she used the pseudonym Madhavikutty, Aami was her pet name, and she adopted the name Kamala Suraiyya on her conversion to Islam.Also readProducers of the Kamala Das biopic to take legal action against Vidya Balan?Early draft of the Google Doodle on Kamala Das (google.com)Also readTabu to replace Vidya Balan as Kamala Das?Besides her autobiography, poetry, and short stories, her columns on diverse topics – mainly women’s issues, child care and politics – were widely read. She wrote extensively both in English and Malayalam. “I speak three languages, write in two, dream in one.”Although she wrote extensively on female sexuality, she resisted labels such as “feminist.”She wrote her autobiography, her most celebrated work, in English, but translated it to Malayalam along the way. The autobiography captures her life from childhood to marriage and beyond. Kamala was married to Madhava Das, a banker by profession, at the age of 15. She was encouraged by her husband to write. She published her autobiography, titled ‘My Story’ in 1976. The work was found controversial by many, including her relatives who tried to block it from being published. But it remains her most celebrated work for its honesty and lyricism.Early draft of the Google Doodle on Kamala Das (google.com)She embraced Islam on December 11, 1999, at the age of 65 and assumed the name Kamala Surayya.She died at a hospital in Pune on May 31, 2009 at the age of 75. Even after her death, she remains a controversial figure. A film based on her life has run into legal troubles with a petition being filed in the Kerala High Court, alleging that the film was sending a message favouring love jihad.In his petition, lawyer K P Ramachandran alleged that former Muslim League MP and orator Abdul Samad Samadani had developed intimacy with her and converted her to Islam as part of a terrorist-funded plan.Early draft of the Google Doodle on Kamala Das (google.com)When Madhavikutty learned about the plot, she was upset over it and lost faith in Islam, the lawyer claimed adding that these critical details have been omitted from the film to justify love jihad.Google, celebrating her work, writes in tribute to her, “Through all her transitions and personal reinventions, Das continued to write poetry and prose that was unflinching and passionate. “Today’s Doodle by artist Manjit Thapp celebrates the work she left behind, which provides a window into the world of an engrossing woman,” it says.
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