Nissim Ezekiel Age, Death, Wife, Family, Biography & More

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Age: 79 Years
Death Date: 09/01/2004
Death Cause: Alzheimers

Nissim Ezekiel

Profession(s)• Poet
• Actor
• Playwright
• Editor
• Art critic
Known asFather of post-independence Indian poetry in English
First Published workA Time to Change and Other Poems (1952)
A Time to Change and Other Poems by Nissim Ezekiel
Last Published workSelected prose (1992)
Awards• In 1988, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award by the President of India.
• In 1983, he won the Sahitya Akademi cultural award.
Personal Life
Date of Birth16 December 1924 (Tuesday)
BirthplaceBombay, Bombay Presidency, British India
Date of Death9 January 2004
Place of DeathMumbai, Maharashtra, India
Age (at the time of death) 79 Years
Death CauseAlzheimer’s disease [1]Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Zodiac signSagittarius
SignatureNissim Ezekiel's signature
Nationality• Indian (1947-2004)
• British Indian (1924-1947)
School• Convent of Jesus and Mary, Mumbai
• Antonio De Souza High School, Mumbai
College/University• Wilson College, Bombay University (1947)
• Birkbeck College, London (1948-1949)
Educational Qualification(s)• Bachelor of Arts in Literature from Wilson College, Bombay University
• Philosophy from Birkbeck College, London
ReligionJudaism [2]MEI
Food HabitTurned vegetarian at the age of 45 [3]MEI
Relationships & More
Marital StatusDivorced
Marriage DateYear, 1952
Wife/SpouseDaizy Jacob Dandekarand
Nissim Ezekiel's wife
ChildrenSon- 1
• Elkana
Daughter- 2
• Kalpana
Nissim Ezekiel with his daughters
• Kavita Ezekiel Mendonca (writer & poet)
Nissim Ezekiel with his daughter Kalpana Ezekiel
ParentsFather- Moses Ezekiel (a professor at Wilson College)
Mother- Diana Ezekiel (Principal at her own school)
Nissim Ezekiel with his parents and siblings
SiblingsBrother(s)- 2 (names not known)
Sister(s)- 2
• Asha Bhende (Born Lily Ezekiel Talkar)
Nissim Ezekiel's sister with her husband
Other relativesNephew: Nandu Bhende (Lily's son) (actor)
Nissim Ezekiel's nephew, Nandu Bhende

Nissim EzekielSome Lesser Known Facts About Nissim Ezekiel

  • Nissim Ezekiel is known as the founder of English-language post-independence Indian poetry.
  • His works are taught in the NCERT high school curriculum.
  • He also worked as a broadcaster and social analyst.
  • Nissim Ezekiel belonged to the Marathi-speaking Jewish community, known as the Bene Israel, in Mumbai.
  • Following graduation, he worked as a freelance journalist for several publications, for M. N. Roy’s Radical Democratic Party, and as a teacher at Khalsa College in Mumbai for a year.
  • While studying philosophy at Birkbeck College in London, Nissim took evening classes at the City Literary Institute in Chinese, Western Philosophy, and Art Appreciation. After spending three and a half years there, he returned home by working as a deck scrubber on a ship transporting weapons to China and India
  • In the late 1940s, Nissim began his writing career. “A Time to Change,” his debut book, was released in 1952. He released The Deadly Man, a collection of poems, in 1960.
  • He served as general manager and advertising copywriter at a picture frame manufacturer from 1954 to 1959.
  • He was a co-founder of the literary journal Jumpo in 1961. Ezekiel’s three plays Nalini, Marriage Poem, and The Sleep-walkers were published in 1969 at the Writers Workshop.
  • In 1961, he became the head of the English Department at Mithibai College, Bombay.
  • He was also a visiting professor at the University of Leeds in 1964 and the University of Pondicherry in 1967. He remained the Head of the English department until 1972.

    Nissim Ezekiel (sitting in centre) at the USIS American Litt seminar, Bangalore

    Nissim Ezekiel (sitting in centre) at the USIS American Litt seminar, Bangalore

  • He joined The Times of India as an art critic, where he worked for two years, 1964–1966.
  • In 1966, he started working as an editor for Poetry India. He attended the University of Leeds in 1964 and the University of Pondicherry in 1967 as a visiting professor.
  • In 1976, along with Vrinda Nabar, he translated Jawaharlal Nehru‘s poetry from English to Marathi and co-edited an anthology of poetry and fiction. His writing primarily dealt with grief and despair. English textbooks for the ICSE and NCERT both utilize his poems.
  • Nissim Ezekiel passed away in Mumbai on 9 January 2004, at the age of 79, following a prolonged fight with Alzheimer’s in a nursing facility in Bandra. He was buried at the Jewish Cemetery, Worli, Mumbai. His death year, 2014, was regarded as the annus horribilis, a year of disaster or misfortune, for English-language Indian poetry.
  • In 2000, R. Rao, an Indian writer and poet, wrote an authorised biography on Nissim Ezekiel titled Nissim Ezekiel: The Authorized Biography. [4]The Indian Express