Thiruvananthapuram : The release of Malayalam translation of former President A P J Abdul Kalam’s book on Pramukh Swamiji on Saturday was abandoned following protests over denial of stage to the woman translator at the behest of a Hindu seer.
Women and youth activists stormed the venue at Kerala Sahitya ”Akademy at Thrissur after translator Sreedevi S Kartha took the issue to the social media. She said in a post in her Facebook page that the publishers of the translation had asked her to keep off the function as Brahma Vihari Das of BAPS Swami Narayana Sanstha, who was the chief guest at the function, did not like the presence of women on the stage with him. Sreedevi said the organizers had also wanted the first three rows in the auditorium to be reserved for Swami”s followers to ensure that even ”impure shadow of women” must not fall on him.
Women activists protested against this by occupying the front seats of the Akademy auditorium.
Members of the youth activists staged a sit-in outside the auditorium.
Sensing the protest, Swami Das did not turn up at the venue. Jnanpith award winner M T Vasudevan Nair, who was to release the book, also returned.
As protests mounted, Thrissur-based Current Books, the publishers, announced that there would not be an official release of the translation of the book titled ”Kaalaatheethm” (Beyond the times).
Expressing shock over the incident, Sreedevi told reporters here the incident was part of the attempts being made by religious organisations to impose their writ on the general public for some time now. She described this fascism that is followed by fundamentalist outfits like Taliban and ISS.
Such inhumane practice can’t be accepted in the land where greats like Sree Narayana Guru, Swami Vivekananda and Chattambi Swami lived, she said.
The incident also evoked protests from several quarters in the state. Noted poetess and environmental activist Sugathakumari said that the right place for those who feared the presence of women was the dark-age caves. Swami Das should go back to the cave, she said.
“Hinduism is the only religion in the world that visualises God in the form of women and our ancient saint and social reformers like Swami Vivekanada, Sree Narayana Guru and Ramana Mahrashi had never shown discrimination towards women,” she added.
The book titled ”Transcendence-My Spiritual Experience with Pramukh Swamiji” describes Dr. Kalam’s spiritual experiences with Swami Maharaj. The original book, published by Harper-Collins India, was released in New Delhi in July this year.
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