Her Stories
Harmony - Celebrate Age|March 2018

A prolific writer, Kusum Ansal is a chronicler of women’s lives.

Her vast repertoire comprises short stories, poems, teleplays, travelogues and novels. While her novel Ek Aur Panchvati dealt with a woman’s right to seek happiness elsewhere in an unhappy marriage, The Widow of Vrindavan put the spotlight on the forgotten widows of the temple town. Ansal’s books in Hindi, Punjabi and English have been translated into languages such as Bengali, Urdu, Russian, Greek and French.

Foraying beyond the print medium, Ansal has dabbled in television, radio and theatre. Ek Aur Panchvati was adapted into a film—Panchvati—by Basu Bhattacharya, starring Deepti Naval and Suresh Oberoi. Incidentally, Ansal wrote the screenplay and dialogues for the film.

She has also been actively involved with organisations working in the fields of education and social service and has helmed the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s women’s wing—FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO). Ansal is the recipient of several awards including the Priyadarshani Award in 1988, Sahitya Akademi Punjabi Award in 1997 and the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award in 2010.

Holder of a master’s degree in psychology from Aligarh Muslim University and a PhD in Hindi Literature from Punjab University, the 77 year-old recently led a discussion attended by Delhi’s literati at the Sahitya Akademi on her novel Parchaiyon ka Samaysar. In an interview with Raj Kanwar, Ansal talks about books, theatre and her love for ikebana. Excerpts:

What is your latest book Parchaiyon ka Samaysar about?

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