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Library to commemorate Kamala Das to set up in Pune

June 28, 2009 18:36 IST

Miles away from her native state Kerala, noted writer Kamala Das Surayya who spent her last days in Pune, will have a memorial in the form of a library named after her in the city. The library, which will have most of the books authored by Das in Malayalam, will be housed in the office of Pravasi Shabdam (Expatriate Voice), a Malayalam magazine published from Pune. "Since her books written in English are easily available, we thought that we should have the Malayalam collection for the benefit of Keralites settled here," editor of the magazine K Harinaryanan told PTI.

Harinarayanan, who was in constant contact with the late writer who died here on May 31 after a protracted illness and diabetic complications, claimed that the bilingual writer who had embraced Islam a decade ago was keen to hear "Harinam Kirtan" at her dying moments. "Amma, her maid servant who lived with Das like

a shadow, recited the devotional lines as wished by her," he said.

An ailing Kamala had come to Pune from Kochi to stay with her son Jaisurya Das in 2007. Though she led a reclusive life, she was "extremely happy" to receive a memento presented to her at her residence by noted filmmaker Adoor Goaplkrishnan,Harinarayanan said. During her Pune days, Das penned some English poems and also made contributions to Pravasi Shabdam, he said.

The proposed library which will have the Malayalam version of My story, was expected to become functional within a week. Meanwhile, the Kerala government was planning to convert the writer's flat in Kochi into a museum, where things used by her would be preserved, sources said. 75-year-old Das, whose uninhibited writings encompassing the torrent of female passion jolted the puritans, was buried as per Islamic rites with state honour in Kerala.

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