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Madhavikutty (Kamala Surayya) Biography, Age, Books, Awards

Madhavikutty Cover
NameKamala Surayya
Profession(s)Poet, Novelist, Short story writer
Date of Birth31 March 1934
Died31 May 2009 (aged 75)
Birth PlaceThrissur district, Kerala, India
FamilyFather- V. M. Nair
Mother- Balamani Amma
Marital StatusMarried
SpouseK.Madhav Das
ChildrenMadhav Das Nalapat
Chinnen Das
Jayasurya Das
BooksEnte Katha, My Story, The Descendants
Madhavikutty Biography
Madhavikutty Biography

Who is Madhavikutty?

Madhavikutty (Kamala Surayya) was an Indian poet in English as well as an author in Malayalam from Kerala, India. She was born on 31 March 1934. She is popularly known by her one-time pen name Madhavikutty. Her married name is Kamala Das.

Her popularity in Kerala is based chiefly on her short stories and autobiography. While her oeuvre in English is noted for her poems and explicit autobiography which is written under the name Kamala Das. She was also a widely read columnist and wrote on diverse topics including women’s issues, child care, politics, etc. Her liberal treatment of female sexuality marked her as an iconoclast in the popular culture of her generation. She died on 31 May 2009, aged 75, at Jehangir Hospital in Pune.

Madhavikutty Biography

Kamala Das was born in Punnayurkulam, Ponnani taluk, Malabar District, British India (present-day Thrissur district, Kerala, India) on 31 March 1934. Her father is V. M. Nair, a managing editor of the widely circulated Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi. Her mother is Nalapat Balamani Amma, a renowned Malayali poet.

She spent her childhood between Calcutta, where her father was employed as a senior officer in the Walford Transport Company that sold Bentley and Rolls Royce automobiles, and the Nalapat ancestral home in Punnayurkulam.

Like her mother Balamani Amma, Kamala Das also excelled in writing. Her love of poetry began at an early age through the influence of her great uncle, Nalapat Narayana Menon, a prominent writer

At the age of 15, she married bank officer Madhav Das, who encouraged her writing interests, and she started writing and publishing both in English and Malayalam. Calcutta in the 1960s was a tumultuous time for the arts, and Kamala Das was one of the many voices that came up and started appearing in cult anthologies along with a generation of Indian English poets. English was the language she chose for all six of her published poetry collections.

She was noted for her several Malayalam short stories as well as poems written in English. Das was also a syndicated columnist. She once claimed that “poetry does not sell in this country [India]”. But her forthright columns, which sounded off on everything from women’s issues and child care to politics, were popular. Das was a confessional poet whose poems have often been considered at par with those of Anne Sexton and Robert Lowell.

Kamala Das’ first book of poetry, Summer in Calcutta was a breath of fresh air in Indian English poetry. She wrote chiefly of love, betrayal, and the consequent anguish. Das abandoned the certainties offered by an archaic, and somewhat sterile, aestheticism for the independence of mind and body at a time when Indian poets were still governed by “19th-century diction, sentiment, and romanticised love.”

Madhavikutty is considered one of the best 10 famous Malayalam writers

Madhavikutty Spouse & Family

Kamala married Madhav Das at the age of 15. The couple had three sons: M D Nalapat, Chinen Das, and Jayasurya Das. Her husband who happened to be bisexual later on in their marriage life, predeceased her in 1992, after 43 years of marriage.

Madhav Das Nalapat, her eldest son, is married to Princess Thiruvathira Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi (daughter of Princess Pooyam Thirunal Gouri Parvati Bayi and Sri Chembrol Raja Raja Varma Avargal) from the Travancore Royal House.[citation needed] He holds the UNESCO Peace Chair and is a professor of geopolitics at Manipal University. He had been a resident editor of The Times of India. Kamala Surayya converted to Islam in 1999 and announced that she planned to marry her Muslim lover, but she never remarried.

Autobiography of Madhavikutty

Ente Kadha

Ente Kadha Cover

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Ente Kadha (My Story) is an autobiography written by Kamala Surayya (Madhavikutty) in the year 1973. She was motivated to write this as she became ill and thought will not survive. The book was controversial and outspoken and had her critics gunning her after it was published in 1973; often shocking her readers with her conventions and expression of her opinions on subjects in society- more often on the hypocrisy of it. Though My Story was supposed to be an autobiography, Das later admitted that there was plenty of fiction in it.

Madhavikutty Books



  • 1976: Alphabet of Lust


  • 1976: My Story

Short stories

  • 1977: A Doll for the Child Prostitute
  • 1992: Padmavati the Harlot and Other Stories


  • 1964: The Sirens
  • 1965: Summer in Calcutta
  • 1965: An Introduction
  • 1967: The Descendants
  • 1973: The Old Playhouse and Other Poems
  • 1977: The Stranger Time
  • 1979: Tonight, This Savage Rite (with Pritish Nandy)
  • 1984: Collected Poems
  • 1985: The Anamalai Poems
  • 1997: Only the Soul Knows How to Sing
  • 1999: My Mother at Sixty-six
  • 2001: Yaa Allah
  • Words
  • Punishment in the kindergarten


  • 1964: Pakshiyude Manam (short stories)
  • 1966: Naricheerukal Parakkumbol (short stories)
  • 1968: Thanuppu (short story)
  • 1973: Ente Katha (autobiography)
  • 1987: Balyakala Smaranakal (childhood memories)
  • 1989: Varshangalkku Mumbu (novel)
  • 1990: Palayan (novel)
  • 1991: Neypayasam (short story)
  • 1992: Dayarikkurippukal (novel)
  • 1994: Neermathalam Pootha Kalam (novel)
  • 1996: Kadal Mayooram (short novel)
  • 1996: Rohini (short novel)
  • 1996: Rathriyude Padavinyasam (short novel)
  • 1996: Aattukattil (short novel)
  • 1996: Chekkerunna Pakshikal (short stories)
  • 1998: Nashtapetta Neelambari (short stories)
  • 2005: Chandana Marangal (novel)
  • 2005: Madhavikkuttiyude Unmakkadhakal (short stories)
  • 2005: Vandikkalakal (novel)
  • 2019 : Ottayadi pathayum vishadam pookkunna marangalum

Madhavikutty Awards and Honours

Kamala Das has received many awards for her literary contribution, including:

  • 1963: PEN Asian Poetry Prize
  • 1968: Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for Story – Thanuppu
  • 1984: Shortlisted for the Nobel Prize in Literature
  • 1985: Kendra Sahitya Academy Award (English) – Collected Poems
  • 1988: Kerala State Film Award for Best Story
  • 1997: Vayalar Award – Neermathalam Pootha Kalam
  • 1998: Asian Poetry Prize
  • 2006: Honorary D.Litt by University of Calicut
  • 2006: Muttathu Varkey Award
  • 2002: Ezhuthachan Award

FAQ about Madhavikutty

What is Kamala Das known for?

Kamala Das was a widely read columnist and wrote on diverse topics including women’s issues, child care, politics, etc. Her liberal treatment of female sexuality marked her as an iconoclast in the popular culture of her generation.

Who is the mother of Madhavikutty?

Nalapat Balamani Amma was an Indian poet who wrote in Malayalam. She was a recipient of many awards and honours, including the Padma Bhushan, Saraswati Samman, Sahitya Akademi Award, and Ezhuthachan Award.

Who is Kamala Das husband?

Madhav Das

Source: Wikipedia

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