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    PM mourns Kamala Das's death, praises her sensitive poems

    New Delhi (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday expressed grief at the demise of eminent poet and author Kamala Das and praised her poems "focusing on womanhood and feminism" for sensitivity.

    In his condolence message, the prime minister paid glowing tributes to Das, saying her "poems focusing on womanhood and feminism gained her recognition as one of the most noted of modern Indian poets".

    "Her achievements extended well beyond her verses of poetry. She made a mark in painting and fiction. As a syndicated columnist, her columns touched on everything from women's issues and child care to politics," he said in his condolence message.

    The prime minister singled out her books of poems, including "The Descendants" and "Only the Soul Knows How to Sing", for praise, sating they were widely read and admired for their human sensitivity.

    He expressed his sincere condolences to the bereaved members of her family and "thousands of her readers and admirers".

    Das, known for her unconventional poems celebrating teenage rebellion and frank exploration of female sexuality, is known as one of the pioneers of Indian English poetry. Intense, melancholic and sensuous by turns, in Das's memorable words, poetry was like "the April sun squeezed like an orange juice".

    A writer in Malayalam and English, the 75-year-old Kamala Das died in Pune early Sunday.

    She suffered from diabetes and was recently hospitalised with pneumonia. The end came in a private hospital, a family source said in Thiruvananthapuram.

    Born in a conservative Hindu Nair family, Das converted to Islam a decade ago at the age of 65 and assumed the name Kamala Suraiya.


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