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We worship the likes of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou and Margaret Thatcher. We're well-versed with their works and values. It is through them that we learned how to celebrate the powerful being that a woman is. Closer home poet and author Kamala Das, has been a similar tour de force. She inspired women at a time in India when feminist thinking was considered outlandish and openly ridiculed. Kamala Surayya Das, the mother of Modern Indian English Poetry, deserves every Indian woman’s attention today. A beacon of feminism and equality, Kamala Das repeatedly questioned male entitlement and dogmas that instantly made her an outcast to the society she lived in. The writer and thinker wrote in the post-colonial era of India in her native language, Malayalam. To her Malayali readers, she was known as Madhavi Kutty and to her English patrons, Kamala Das.
After having been married off at 15, Kamala struggled to keep her passion for writing alive as she constantly faced familial and social backlash for being a woman with an opinion of her own.
But, external pressures and internal dilemmas only strengthened her belief in the written word. Kamala Das today stands as a symbol of feminism and strength that seeded in a younger India and that continues to rage not-so-gently into the night!
As the world remembers her on her death anniversary with a Google doodle today, we celebrate her words, her voice and her resolve to be every bit of the woman she was meant to be! Here are just 12 of Kamala’s most thought-provoking, soul-stirring poems and verses that are bound to ignite a fire within every modern Indian woman today.