Dr Kapila Vatsyayan – Legacy and Contribution

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Dr Kapila Vatsyayan

Dr Kapila Vatsyayan was a leading name in Indian classical dance, architecture, art, and art history. She served as a member of parliament and bureaucrat in India, and as the founding director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. She passed away on 16th September 2020 at the age of 92.

What we will discuss:

  • Her Life
  • Her Career
  • Her Achievement
  • Books by Her

Her Life

  • She was born to Ram Lal and Satyawati Malik in Delhi.
  • She earned an MA in English Literature from Delhi University and pursued a second MA in English from the University of Michingan.
  • She earned Ph.D from Banaras Hindu University.
  • She learned Kathak from the legendary Achhan Maharaj,
    Bharatanatyam from Guru Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, and Manipuri from Guru Amubi Singh.
  • She was married to the Hindi Writer S.H. Vatsyayan ‘Ajneya’, but lately they got separated.

Her Career

  • She had been a former Member of Parliament.
  • She had served as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Education. As the secretary, she established several national institutions of higher education.
  • She was the founder trustee and member secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (Indira Kalakendra).
  • She also worked as former President of India International Centre (IIC).

Her Achievements

  • In 1970, she received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi.
  • In 1975, she was awarded the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship.
  • In the year 1992, she was honoured the Asian Cultural Council with the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award.
  • In the year 1955, she was conferred with the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour given to someone in the fine arts.
  • In 2000, she was honoured with the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award.
  • She was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India in the year 2001.

Books by Her

Dr Kapila Vatsyayan has authored more than 50 books, some of them are listed below:

  • The Square and the Circle of Indian Arts (1997)
  • Indian classical dance (1997)
  • Bharata : The Nāṭyaśāstra (1996)
  • Matralaksanam (1988)
  • Dance In Indian Painting (2013)
  • Plural Cultures and Monolothic Structures (2013)

The Bottom Line

Dr Kapila Vatsyayan is a prominent scholar of Indian classical dance, architecture, art and art history. Her demise is a huge loss to the art & culture world. She will be remembered for her legacy and contribution.

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