Noted Gujrati author Kundanika Kapadia, who was best known for her novel Saat Pagla Aakashma died at her residence in Nandigram ashram in Vankal village of Valsad district on Thursday. She was 93.
Those associated with Nandigram Ashram said that Kapadia breathed her last at her residence in the Ashram itself. “She had received treatment for intestine cancer in 2018 and was leading a normal life thereafter. Hover, her health deteriorated in recent days and she breathed her last this morning,” said a person associated with the Ashram.
Kapadia and Makrand Dave, the Gujarati poet who was her partner in life, had co-founded the Nandigram ashram in 1959 with an aim to serve the downtrodden as well as to lead a spiritual life. They had no children.
Kapadia was born in Limdi town in Surendranagar district in 1927 and had graduated with history and political science. She used to live in Mumbai before shifting to Nandigram. Her first collection of short stories, entitled Premna Anshu was published in 1954. Later on she authored four other collections of short stories—Vadhu ne Vadhu Sundar (1968), Kagalni Hodi (1978), Java Daishu Tamne (1983) and Manushya Thavu (1990). She also wrote three novels, Parodh Thata Pahela (1968) , Aganpipasa (1972) and Saat Pagla Aakashma (1984).
“Her works explored philosophy, music and natural world. Premna Anshu and Kalagalni Hodi are collections of good short stories. But her creative personality came into its own in her novels. Parodh Thata Pahela, which deals with pain and suffering of human life and how to find happiness by transcending them, is deeply philosophical. In terms of subject matter and treatment, it is a very high-quality very. She broke new grounds by introducing in Gujarati literature self-assertion of women as subject matter through her novel Saat Pagla Aakashma (literally meaning seven steps in the sky). The subject of the novel was novel to Gujarati literature as it talked of women as separate and independent entity from men and not merely fitment in patriarchal world. It turned out a popular subject and the novel came to be recognised as her seminal work,” Prof Jignesh Upadhyay, associate professor of Gujarati literature at Dharmendrasinhji Arts College in Rajkot said.
Prof Upadhyay said that Kapadia’s work was influenced by Gujarati author Dhumketu, Ravindranath Tagore, Sharadchandra Chattopadhyay, William Shakespeare. The Saat Pagla Aakashma won her Gujarati Sahitya Academy award in 1985. Her two collections of essays were also published. Besides editing literary magazines Yatrik and Navneet.
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