“Fragrance of Feminism and Rewriting in Kamla Das”
Kamla Das occupies a very significant place among the moderns but even in Indian poetry in English by women as a whole. She embodies the most significant stage of the development of Indian feminine poetic sensibility. Her poetry voices to the full not only the existential pressures generated during the modern Indian woman’s journey from tradition to modernity, from past to the present, but even the Indian woman poet’s sense of conviction to reality. Born in 1934, she hails from Kerala and started her literary career like her mother as a story-writer in Malayalam. Her fame shot up as an Indo-English feminist poet with Summer in Calcutta (1965). Her poetry highlights the spirit of the modern Indian woman torn between frustrated love and a keen desire for the fulfilment of sentimental touch. This is the amalgamation of her feminine sensibility with that of masculine that intends to project the poet’s experience in all its nakedness and as a thing-in-itself. The physical tensions dominate her poetry followed by a quest for the beautiful and serene. Her poetry basically deals with the basic themes of love and marriage. Among her best-known poems are The Dance of Eunuch, the suicide, Man is a Season, Forest-Fire, the Suicide, An Intensity etc. projecting an intensity of feeling combined with unorthodoxy and protest. She was also awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1985 for her significant contribution. She is almost exclusively concerned with the personal experience of love in her poetry. For her ideal love is fulfillment on the levels of body and mind and it is the experience beyond sex through sex. The tragic failure to get love in terms of sexual-spiritual fulfillment from the husband leads to her search for it in extra-marital relationships with other men. Because of absolute frustration and loneliness, she turns to poetry as the exclusive medium for its cathartic release.