Kapila Vatsyayan

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Kapila Vatsyayan
Kapila Vatsyayan in 2006
Born (1928-12-25) 25 December 1928 (age 88)
Alma mater Delhi University, University of Michigan, Banaras Hindu University
Occupation scholar, art historian

Kapila Vatsyayan (born 25 December 1928) is a leading Indian scholar of classical Indian dance, Indian art and Indian architecture and art historian. She was the founding director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, Delhi, and continues as its chairperson.

In 1970, she was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India's National Academy for Music, Dance and Drama. This was followed by the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour in the fine arts, given by Lalit Kala Akademi, India's National Academy of Art in 1995. In 2011, she was a recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, awarded by the Government of India.

Early life and background[edit]

She was born in Delhi, to Ram Lal Malik and Satyawati Malik.[1] She did M.A. in English literature from Delhi University.[2] Thereafter on did her M.A. (Education) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor followed by PhD from the Banaras Hindu University.

Her elder brother was poet and critic Keshav Malik (1924–2014).


She is the author of many books including The Square and the Circle of Indian Arts, Bharata: The Natya Sastra, and Matralaksanam.[3]

In 1987, she became the founder trustee and member secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (Indira Kalakendra), Indian premier arts organisation in Delhi.[3][4] Thereafter in 1993 she was made the academic director, a post she held till 2000, when she was retired by the NDA government. In 2005, when Congress government (UPA) was back in powwer, she was made the chairperson of the institution.[5] She has also served as secretary to the government of India and the Ministry of Education, department of Arts and Culture, in which she was responsible for the establishment of many institutions of higher education in India. She is also the chairperson of Asia Project, of India International Centre (IIC), Delhi.[5]

She was nominated as a member of the Upper house of Parliament of India, the Rajya Sabha in 2006, though subsequently in March 2006, she resigned following the office of profit controversy.[6] Thereafter in April 2007 she was renominated to the Rajya Sabha, with a term expiring in February 2012.[7]


In 1970 Vatsyayan received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship.[8] In the same year she was awarded a fellowship from the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Fund to survery cultural institutions and contemporary art developments in the United States and Indonesia. She was awarded the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship in 1975.[9] In 1992 the Asian Cultural Council honoured her with the John D. Rockefeller 3rd Award for outstanding professional achievement and her significant contribution to the international understanding, practice, and study of dance and art history in India.[10] In 1998, she received the "Outstanding Contribution to Dance Research" award, given by Congress on Research in Dance (CORD).[11] In 2000, she was a recipient of Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award[12] and in 2011, she was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India.[13]

She was married to the noted Hindi Writer S.H.Vatsyayan Ajneya (1911–1987) whose birth centenary was observed in 2011.



  1. ^ "Members Biodata". Rajya Sabha. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  2. ^ Uttara Asha Coorlawala (12 January 2000). "Kapila Vatsyayan – Formative Influences". narthaki. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Bouton, Marshall & Oldenburg, Philip, Eds. (2003). India Briefing: A Transformative Fifty Years, p. 312. Delhi: Aakar Publications.
  4. ^ "About IGNCA". IGNCA. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Congress appoints Kapila Vatsyayan as IGNCA chairperson, completes tit-for-tat with NDA". India Today. 31 October 2005. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  6. ^ "Vatsyayan resigns from RS". Rediff.com India News. 24 March 2006. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Swaminathan, Vatsyayan nominated to Rajya Sabha". The Hindu. 11 April 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "SNA: List of Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratna Puraskar winners (Akademi Fellows)". Official website. 
  9. ^ "Official list of Jawaharlal Nehru Fellows (1969-present)". Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund. 
  10. ^ "ACC: List of John D. Rockefeller 3rd Awardees". Official website. 
  11. ^ "Past Award Recipients". Congress on Research in Dance. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "Secularism under assault, says Sonia". The Hindu. 21 August 2001. 
  13. ^ "Padma Awards Announced" (Press release). Ministry of Home Affairs. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 25 January 2011. 

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