Monday, Oct 03, 2022
Outlook.com
Kerala

Through The Author’s Veil

The great Kamala Das lived life her way. Now, an article about her personal life and conversion has created an uproar.

Through The Author’s Veil
Outspoken | Courtesy: Malayala Manorama
A burqa-clad Kamala Das (Surayya) towards the end of her life
Through The Author’s Veil
outlookindia.com
2016-08-26T16:36:39+05:30

It seems inevitable: in death as in life, controversy continues to pursue Kamala Das (Surayya), Kerala’s beloved poet and short-story writer. In her lifetime, she had revelled in it with impish glee. So, when a journalist’s account of Kamala Das’s conversion to Islam and her unfulfilled desire for reconversion back to Hinduism goes viral on social media, we wonder about its veracity. It has all the ingredients of an intriguing plot: music, romance, religion, rejection, death. The controversy might even be linked with a biopic (in the making) that will feature Vidya Balan in the lead role. Not just that, there seems to be an assembly-line of documentaries and books, all eager to market her.

The 2013 column on Kamala Das, also known as Madhavikutty, was written by Leela Menon, the chief editor of Janmabhumi, a Malayalam newspaper run by the BJP. In it, Menon professes her undimmed love for Kamala Das, saying how each time she wears the ring the poet gifted her, her beautiful face and her laughter come back with immediacy. Menon claims she was a confidante and had known the feisty writer for long. So Menon was taken aback when, in 1999, the 65-year-old Kamala Das announced at a press conference that she would convert to Islam. Menon later learns, acc­ording to her version, that the real reason was that she wanted to marry M.P. Abdussamad Samadani, then 40, former MP and present MLA from Kottakkal.

Outlook Newsletters

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.