The year 2020 seems to be snatching several brilliant personalities from us. In an unfortunate event, renowned Gujarati author, Kundanika Kapadia, passed away this Thursday at her Nandigram Ashram in Valsad, South Gujarat. At the age of 93, she succumbed to the bad health and breathed her last on Thursday morning. Known as Ishama by her Nandigram fellows, her pen name was Snehdhan.

Who Was Kundanika Kapadia?

  • Kundanika Kapadia, renowned Gujarati author passed away this Thursday, at the Nandigram Ashram in Valsad, South Gujarat. 
  • She was 93. She had reportedly received treatment for intestinal cancer in 2018 and was leading a normal life thereafter.
  • Also known as Ishama, her pen name was Snehdhan. She, along with her life partner Makrand Dave, founded the Nandi Ashram in 1959 to serve the downtrodden.
  • Her first story, ‘Premna Ansu’, won her second prize in the International Story Competition, organized by Janmabhoomi Newspaper.

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Life History

Kundanika Kapadia was born in Limbdi (now known as Surendranagar district in Gujarat) on January 11, 1927. She completed her primary and secondary education from Godhra. Apart from being a brilliant writer, she also participated in the Quit India movement in 1942. She pursued a bachelor’s in Arts with history and politics as the primary subjects, from the Samaldas College, Bhavnagar, affiliated to the University of Bombay. Her academic career came to a halt when she could not appear for her MA Politics exams in the Mumbai School of Economics.

In 1968, she married Makrand Dave, a Gujarati poet. The couple tied the knot in Mumbai. Post this, they co-founded Nandigram, an ashram, in order to help the disadvantaged section of the society. The ashram is located in Vankal Village near Valsad, Gujarat. The Nandigram people used to call her Ishama out of love.

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Literary Career

Her pen name was Snehdhan. Her first story, Premna Ansu, won her second prize in the International Story Competition, organized by Janmabhoomi Newspaper. Thereafter, she started writing more stories and published her story collection with the name of her first story, Prema Ansu in 1954. Other story collections in her bookshelf were Vadhu ne Vadhu Sundar ( 1968), Kagalni Hodi (1978), Java Daishu Tamane (1983), and Manushya Thavu (1990). She got her first novel published in 1968, titled Parodh Thata Pahela. The next in line was Agnipipasa which was published in 1972. Sat Pagala Akashma (Seven Steps In The Sky) is said to be the best novel she wrote in her lifetime. This was published in the year 1984 and won her critical acclaim.

The ashram is located in Vankal Village near Valsad, Gujarat. The Nandigram people used to call her Ishama out of love.

Another very popular work of this brilliant Gujarati author is Param Samipe, a prayer collection. She also has two essay collections to her name titled Dwar Ane Deewal (1987) and Tara Vriksh Vadal (1988). Her major translations include Vasant Avshe (1962) which was a Gujarati translation of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s work. She also translated Florence Scovel Shinn’s The Game of Life And How To Play It by the name Jeevan Ek Khel in 1981.

Picture Credit- Indian Express

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