Today’s Google doodle honours the mother of modern English poetry, Kamala Das, one of India’s most prominent poets. She wrote about women’s sexual lives and martial problems in the the post-colonial era. The Kamala Das google doodle, is made by artist Manjit Thapp

Here are a few things to know about this iconic lady:

She wrote in Malayalam and in English. She had adopted the pen name Madhavi Kutty. She earned the title ‘The Mother of Modern Indian English Poetry.’

She was born on March 31st in 1934 and died on May 31st, 2009. 

Her parents were also writers. Her father was the managing editor of Mathrubhoomi VM Nair and her mother was Nalapat Balamani Amma, a renowned Malayali poet. Her great uncle Nalapat Narayana Menon, also a prominent writer, influenced her, and she fell in love with poetry at a very young age. 

Das converted to Islam in 1999 and changed her name to Kamala Surayya.

Her father was the managing editor of Mathrubhoomi VM Nair and her mother was Nalapat Balamani Amma, a renowned Malayali poet

She ran for a Parliament seat in 1984, but was unsuccessful. She did not pursue politics after that.

Her writings were always controversial. Her autobiography My Story was considered too liberal.

Das spoke about her childhood, in Kerala and Kolkata, her arranged marriage to an older man before her 16th birthday. She spoke about her emotional breakdowns and suicidal thoughts that she faced as a young wife and mother. She even spoke about her husband’s apparent homosexuality and how she yearned for sex and romance throughout most of her married life. Her relatives, and many others tried to block her autobiography from being published and released.

She has been in the news because of the biopic on her which has seen controversy. A petition to ban it has been filed in the Kerala High Court on the grounds that the film justifies love jihad. The film stars Manju Warrier.

She was honoured with the Sahitya Academy Award in 1984.

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