She is most remembered for her contribution to the Indian independence movement; for being the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, handlooms, and theatre in independent India; and for upliftment of the socio-economic standard of Indian women by pioneering the co-operative movement.
In 1974, she was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship the highest honour conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama.To Honour her achievements google created a doodle of her on her birthday,3rd April 2018.
In 1964 she started the Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography (NIKC), Bangalore, under the aegis of Bharatiya Natya Sangh, affiliated to the UNESCO. Its present director is famous danseuse Smt. Maya Rao.
Kamaladevi was a woman ahead of her times, she was instrumental in setting up the All India Handicrafts Board, she was also it’s the first chairperson, The Crafts Council of India was also the first president of the World Crafts Council, Asia Pacific Region.
She also set up the National School of Drama and later headed the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and also a member of UNESCO. Her acclaimed autobiography, Inner Recesses and Outer Spaces: Memoir was published in 1986.
Books by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay
- The Awakening of Indian women, Everyman’s Press, 1939.
- Japan-its weakness and strength, Padma Publications 1943.
- Uncle Sam’s empire, Padma publications Ltd, 1944.
- In war-torn China, Padma Publications, 1944.
- Towards a National theatre, (All India Women’s Conference, Cultural Section. Cultural books), Aundh Pub. Trust, 1945.
- America,: The land of superlatives, Phoenix Publications, 1946.
- At the Cross Roads, National Information and Publications, 1947.
- Socialism and Society, Chetana, 1950.
- Tribalism in India, Brill Academic Pub, 1978, ISBN 0706906527.
- Handicrafts of India, Indian Council for Cultural Relations & New Age International Pub. Ltd., New Delhi, India, 1995. ISBN 99936-12-78-2.
- Indian Women’s Battle for Freedom. South Asia Books, 1983. ISBN 0-8364-0948-5.
- Indian Carpets and Floor Coverings, All India Handicrafts Board, 1974.
- Indian embroidery, Wiley Eastern, 1977.
- India’s Craft Tradition, Publications Division, Ministry of I & B, Govt. of India, 2000. ISBN 81-230-0774-4.
- Indian Handicrafts, Allied Publishers Pvt. Ltd, Bombay India, 1963.
- Traditions of Indian Folk Dance.
- The Glory of Indian Handicrafts, New Delhi, India: Clarion Books, 1985.
- Inner Recesses, Outer Spaces: Memoirs, 1986. ISBN 81-7013-038-7.
Book on Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya
- Sakuntala Narasimhan, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. New Dawn Books, 1999. ISBN 81-207-2120-9.
- S.R. Bakshi, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya : Role for Women’s Welfare, Om, 2000, ISBN 81-86867-34-1.
- Reena Nanda, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya: A Biography (Modern Indian Greats), Oxford University Press, USA, 2002, ISBN 0-19-565364-5.
- Jamila Brij Bhushan, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya – Portrait of a Rebel, Abhinav Pub, 2003. ISBN 81-7017-033-8.
- M.V. Narayana Rao (Ed.), Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay: A True Karmayogi. The Crafts Council of Karnataka: Bangalore. 2003
- Malvika Singh, The Iconic Women of Modern India – Freeing the Spirit. Penguin, 2006, ISBN 0-14-310082-3.
- Jasleen Dhamija, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, National Book Trust, 2007. ISBN 8123748825
- Indra Gupta , India’s 50 Most Illustrious Women. ISBN 81-88086-19-3.
Awards and recognition
The Government of India conferred on her the Padma Bhushan (1955) and later the second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan in 1987, which are among the highest civilian awards of the Republic of India. She also received the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1966) for Community Leadership. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, Ratna Sadsya, the highest award of Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, given for lifetime achievement in 1974,.
UNESCO honoured her with an award in 1977 for her contribution towards the promotion of handicrafts. Shantiniketan honoured her with the Desikottama, its highest award.
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