‘A huge void in the art and culture world’: Indians mourn the death of Kapila Vatsyayan

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By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |

September 16, 2020 5:30:08 pm


Kapila Vatsyayan passed away on September 16, 2020. (Express archives)

Kapila Vatsyayan, a leading scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture, and art history, passed away on September 16, 2020 at her Delhi home, at the age of 91.

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Several eminent personalities, publications, and organisations expressed grief upon the scholar’s demise.

Fayyaz Shehryar, former director general, All India Radio, wrote on Twitter, “Kapila Vatsyayan leaves at 91 after serving with distinction the diverse areas of Fine Arts apart from B’casting. Had been a member of Parliament, Secy, Ministry of Education, established large number of National Institutions of higher learning. Feel the void thus created.”

Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts also paid tribute to its founding member secretary.

Throughout her career, Vatsyayan wrote nearly 20 books on a variety of arts and their histories. Some of her works include The Square and the Circle of Indian Arts (1997), Bharata: The Natya Sastra (2006), Dance in Indian Painting (2004), and Transmissions and Transformations: Learning Through the Arts in Asia (2011), to name a few.

Read| Kapila Vatsyayan’s collection finds place in IGNCA’s new special section

Sangeet Natak Akademi took to Twitter to express condolences. “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.”

Vatsyayan received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship in 1970, the highest honour conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Celebrated Hindi author Ashok Vajpeyi also took to Facebook to mourn the death. “I 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,” Vajpeyi was quoted by PTI.

Publications Division, a publishing house that works as a division of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, wrote on Twitter, “Renowned scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture, and art history Kapila Vatsyayan has passed away today. She had authored a book on ‘Indian Classical Dance’ for @DPD_India in 1974. Prayers for the departed soul.”

Eric Falt, director, UNESCO Delhi, was quoted on social media, “Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Dr Kapila Vatsyayan, leading dance and art historian and former Representative of India to @UNESCO ‘s Executive Board. She will be missed. We offer our heartfelt condolences to her family.”

National School of Drama also wrote about the Padma Vibhushan awardee, “NSD family is saddened to learn of the death of a prominent scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture, and art history, Smt. Kapila Vatsyayan. Her demise has left a huge void in the art & culture world. Our deepest condolences to the bereaved families.”

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