Dr Kamal Verma, acclaimed professor of South Asian Literature, passes away


Our Bureau

Johnstown, PA 

Dr Kamal D Verma, an acclaimed scholar of South Asian literature, passed away at the age of 91. Professor Verma taught for 42 years at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown (UPJ) in Pennsylvania. After retirement, he continued to serve as Professor Emeritus and an advisor to the University President after his retirement.

Focusing on recruiting more diverse faculty and students from South Asia. he was also one of the founding members of the South Asian Review and the South Asian Literary Association.  

Born in 1932 in Punjab, India, he was the first member of his extended family to attend college.
He was appointed the principal of a teacher’s college in Punjab where he served until 1963.   He left for the US on a Ford Foundation Fellowship to obtain his Specialist in Education degree at the University of Northern Iowa. He then pursued further professional studies in literature, leading to his PhD from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

Dr Jem Spectar, President of UPJ, called Dr Verma “a brilliant scholar, an exceptional teacher and guide, a highly respected colleague, and a dear friend”. “His students speak of a great intellect: a professor who deepened their critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills, someone who deepened their understanding of our world, and someone whose classes prepared them for lifelong success,” Spectar said.

Dr Verma, his wife Savitri, also a teacher and head of a women’s college in India, and their five children settled in Johnstown, Pennsylvania in 1971, being the first Indian-American family to move to the area.

An author of three published books, his second book, The Indian Imagination, focused on several of the leading writers of the Indian colonial and post-colonial periods of Indian history. His last book, Understanding Mulk Raj Anand, focused on noted Indian writer Mulk Raj Anand and included a series of letters between Dr Verma and Anand over 15 years, focusing again on the ideas that inspired the colonial struggle for independence.

He released the book in the US and India in 2017 with significant critical success. He even presented the book to Prime Minister Modi in 2018.
During his career, Dr Verma would end up teaching thousands of students in India, Canada and the United States, and he published dozens of articles, in addition to the three books.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top