Eminent litterateur and Sahitya Akademi winner Meenakshi Mukherjee died in Hyderabad on Wednesday. She was 72.
Mukherjee, a professor at the University of Hyderabad, fainted and collapsed at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) in Hyderabad while preparing to board a flight to New Delhi, where she was to release one of her books.
"She was travelling alone and was to board an Indigo Airlines flight to Delhi. She fainted at Gate 22 and was rushed to Apollo Medical Centre at the airport, where she was declared dead," an airport spokesman told IANS.
Her relatives, who came to see her off, were still at the airport when she collapsed and was rushed to the medical centre, he said.
Mukherjee, who is survived by two daughters, was on her way to Delhi to release her new book An Indian For All Seasons, a biography of historian RC Dutt. The book published by Penguin was to be released on Thursday.
Wife of litterateur Sujit Mukherjee, Meenakshi Mukherjee was a big name in English literature and had received the Sahitya Akademi award in 2003 for her book The Perishable Empire: Essays on Indian Writing in English.
She was also chairperson of the Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies from 2001 to 2004 and the chairperson of its Indian Chapter from 1993 to 2005.
She taught in a number of Indian colleges in Patna, Pune and Delhi before joining the University of Hyderabad. Her last and longest spell was as professor of English in the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
She was a visiting professor in several universities outside India including the University of Texas at Austin, University of Chicago, University of California at Berkeley, Macquarie Univesity (Sydney), University of Canberra and Flinders University (Adelaide).
She authored The Twice Born Fiction, Realism and Reality: Novel and Society in India, Re-reading Jane Austen and The Perishable Empire. She also edited about half a dozen collections of essays including Considerations: Twelve Studies of Indian Literature in English, Midnight's Children: A Book of Readings, and Early Novels in India.
She was also the founder-editor of a journal Vagartha that published Indian literature in English translation from 1973 to 1979.