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December 13, 1999
Kamala Das, nee Surayya, is VHP's new hate object
Noted writer Madhavikutty, aka Kamala Das, who has allegedly received several threats to her life following her decision to embrace Islam, has refused police protection. Kamala Das, who has changed her name to Kamala Surayya, told rediff.com that she was not frightened by the threats especially after converting to Islam. "I have left everything to Allah. He will protect me to the last," she said.
Kamala Das' son M D Nalapat, who has came to Kochi from Delhi, said that they had received a number of threatening telephone calls. The calls appeared to be from Hindu extremists, he added. One caller threatened that he would kill Kamala Das within 24 hours. Nalapat said that his mother had shown extraordinary courage in embracing Islam. He disclosed that she had refused to accept police protection when some police personnel approached her officially.
Nalapat would staying with his mother for some more days in the light of the threat, he revealed. His younger brother, Jayasuriya, who is working in Pune, is also expected to join them on Tuesday. Kamala Das is staying alone in a flat at Kochi. Nalapat said that the entire family has extended support to his mother. "We have no disagreement with her decision. She is our mother whether she is a Hindu or Christian or Muslim. We would be with her all the time," he added.
Nalapat said that his mother's decision did not surprise him since their family had close connections with the Muslim community. He said his parents had adopted two Muslim boys 27 years ago and brought them up as members of the family. The two, Irshad and Imtiaz, visit the family once in a year. "We consider them as our brothers," Nalapat said. While Irshad is working as a professor in Darjeeling, Imtiaz is practising as a barrister in London.
The Hindu extremists are apparently angry over her statement that she was taking away the Hindu god Krishna from the Guruvayoor temple to make him Mohammad. They have expressed the fear that her statement about Guruvayoor would hurt millions of devotees of Guruvayoorappan.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad's organising secretary Kummanam Rajashekharan has criticised Kamala Das' attempt to show the Hindu religion in poor light. "Everyone has the right to convert. But it is not necessary to shun one religion to bow down to another," Kummanam said. She need not have downsized her peers while stepping out of the home she grew up for more than 60 years, he said.
The VHP leader said that such statements would breed communal hatred. He said that the doors of Hinduism will remain open to Kamala Das if at all she changes her mind and wants to return.
Kamala Das, however, defended her statement saying that she had made it in the abstract sense. "For me god has no definite form. God is an unseen power. Anybody can call it by any name," she said and added that she had never given any name to god in all her writings. "I addressed god as an almighty in my works. I don't know why people should take objection to any name I give to my god," she said.
Kamala Das said she had not visited the Guruvayoor temple for the last 14 years. I went there once as a nurse to my mother. "My sole purpose was to accompany her and help her," she remarked. Kamala Das exclaimed, "It seems I have got a new life. Lot of people have been calling from all over the world and extending their support. I am flabbergasted by the love they have showered on me. I wanted this love and compassion and that is why I have embraced Islam,'' she said.
Meanwhile, several fellow writers have conveyed their support to Madhavikutty. Noted writer O V Vijayan telephoned and congratulated her for her bold decision. Vijayan said that he was happy that Madhavikutty has finally exercised her freedom. Noted poet Balachandran Chullikkad visited Madhavikutty yesterday with his wife. They were together for a couple of hours.
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