New Delhi, Sep 16 (PTI) Scholar, author and connoisseur of the arts Kapila Vatsyayan died at her Delhi home on Wednesday. She was 92. 'She passed away at 9 am today at her home in Gulmohar Enclave,” Kanwal Ali, secretary of the India International Centre where she was a lifetime trustee, told PTI.
Vatsyayan, who was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2011, was the founding director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. A former nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, she was also chairperson of the Asia Project at the IIC. The renowned scholar of art history, architecture and Indian classical dance was born in New Delhi in 1928 and did her masters in English Literature from Delhi University and in Education from the University of Michigan in the US. Vatsyayan, the younger sister of poet and critic Keshav Malik, is survived by her younger brother Subhash Malik. She married legendary Hindi litterateur Sachchidananda Vatsyayan ‘Agyeya’ in 1956, and continued with her married name even after their separation in 1969. The final rites were held at the Lodhi Cremation Ground on Wednesday afternoon. She authored nearly 20 books on different forms of art and their histories in her long career. Her notable works include “The Square and the Circle of Indian Arts” (1997), “Bharata: The Natya Sastra” (2006), “Dance in Indian Painting” (2004), “Classical Indian Dance in Literature and the Arts” (2007), and “Transmissions and Transformations: Learning Through the Arts in Asia” (2011).
Tributes poured for the culture czarina, who occupied a unique space all her own. From politicians and academics to writers and artists, many people remembered her as an institution builder who had contributed immeasurably to the world of art.
IIC President N N Vohra said in a statement that Vatsyayan had made “invaluable contribution” to the growth of the institution.
“The gap caused by her passing on cannot be filled. She will be missed by the Centre’s members and many others in various parts of the world who had got to know her,” he said. Renowned Hindi writer Ashok Vajpeyi said Vatsyayan’s death was a “personal loss”.
“l deeply mourn the passing away of Kapila Vatsyayan,a great scholar, a sharp mind, a creative person and a great institution-builder.
“The world of culture in India loses a doyen, a tireless promoter and a bridgemaker amongst the arts, thought and imagination. Also a personal loss to many like me,” he wrote on Facebook.
Congress leader Karan Singh said the nation has lost a woman of great learning and Erudition.
'A prolific author, her work on Gita Govinda and the Thanjavur temple inscriptions is well known, as is her role in setting up the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, including a special manuscript section to which she contributed a large number from her personal collection,' he said in a statement.
Describing Vatsyayan as a “true scholar of the deep refinements of ancient Indian culture and civilisation”, politician Pavan K Varma said he was “deeply grieved” by her death.
“She was a true scholar of the deep refinements of ancient Indian culture and civilisation. Her book ’The Square and The Circle of Indian Arts’ is a classic. Om Shanti,” he tweeted.
Film and television actor Manoj Joshi said she had made her mark both as an art historian as well as an administrator. “Very sad to hear about the demise of Kapila Vatsyayan ji, the doyenne of Indian art forms and founding director @ignca_delhi. She made her mark as an art historian and an administrator,” he tweeted. Wishing strength to her family and friends, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot wrote, “My heartfelt condolences at the passing away of former MP, Padma Vibhushan Kapila Vatsyayan ji, a leading scholar of Indian classical dance, architecture & art history.” Eminent sarod player Amjad Ali Khan said she was a leading scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture, and art history. Producer of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Sanjoy K Roy described her as “the last of the greats”.
Several institutions that Vatsyayan was associated with took to social media to pay their respects. IGNCA in a Twitter post said she was known for “integrating India’s rich cultural past with its present for future”, and that she made “immense contributions in shaping the cultural infrastructure and hugely successful delivery mechanism of the same in the post independent India”.
Sangeet Natak Akademi, which awarded Vatsyayan its fellowship award in 1970, wrote, “Sangeet Natak Akademi, @MinOfCultureGoI and its associate bodies are deeply grieved to hear of the sudden demise of the great scholar, academician, and Akademi Fellow Dr Kapila Vatsyayan ji. May the departed soul rest in peace.” UNESCO, New Delhi, also expressed its condolences. Vatsyayan was a former Representative of India to UNESCO’s Executive Board.
“Kapila Vatsyayan had legendary knowledge of Asian culture. She greatly supported the establishment of the @UNESCO programme of Tagore, Neruda and Cesaire for a Reconciled Universal. May she rest in peace. - Eric Falt, Director @unesconewdelhi,' the official UNESCO, New Delhi Twitter handle posted. The National School of Drama said “her demise has left a huge void in the art & culture world”.
She was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana award in 2000, among the many accolades she won over the years. PTI TRS MIN DPB DPB