Noted Gujarati author Kundanika Kapadia died at her residence in Nandigram ashram in Vankal village of Valsad district on Thursday. She was 93.
She is best known for her novel Saat Pagla Aakashma.
Those associated with Nandigram Ashram said that Kapadia had received treatment for intestine cancer in 2018 and was leading a normal life thereafter.
“But the disease recurred with metastasis and that is the cause of death. After the disease recurred, she refused to take rigorous treatment for the second time. Being an extraordinary soul, she was highly determined and knew her time was up. Her health had worsened over the last three-four days,” Amiben Parikh, one the trustees of the ashram, told The Indian Express.
Kapadia and Makrand Dave, the Gujarati poet who was her life partner, had co-founded the Nandigram ashram in 1985 to serve the downtrodden. They had no children. Dave had died in 2005.
Kapadia was born in Limdi town in Surendranagar district in 1927. Her father was a homeopathy practitioner while her mother was a homemaker. Kapadia had graduated in History and Political Science.
She used to live in Mumbai before shifting to Nandigram. Her first collection of short stories, titled 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).
Saat Pagla Aakashma won her Gujarati Sahitya Academy award in 1985.
“Her works explored philosophy, music and natural world. Premna Anshu and Kagalni 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. 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 new to Gujarati literature as it talked of women as an independent entity,” 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 and William Shakespeare.
She had also published two collections of essays. Besides editing literary magazines Yatrik and Navneet she also edited Gulal and Gujar, a collection of poems written by Dave.
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