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Padma Vibhushan art scholar Kapila Vatsyayan passes away at 92

Padma Vibhushan art scholar Kapila Vatsyayan passes away at 92

New Delhi: 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, said.

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 the 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. 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 an 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. 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."

With agency inputs

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