Kalam Book Release and  Gender Bias  Religious leader refuses to share bias with a woma

Sreedevi S KarthaImage Courtesy: Sreedevi’s FB profile

Sreedevi S Kartha

Thrissur: The book release function of ‘Kaalatheetham’, a Malayalam translation of late former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s book ‘Transcendence My Spiritual Experience with Pramukh Swamiji’ has been cancelled amid protests over the issue that Sreedevi S Kartha, who translated the book, was allegedly asked to abstain from the function.

According to ‘Malayala Manorama’, various organisations staged protests at the Kerala Sahitya Akademi after Sreedevi S Kartha, the translator of the book, was denied permission to share the dais allegedly at the behest of Swamy Brahmavihari Das who was invited as the chief guest of the function.
The book was supposed to be released by Kalam’s co-author Arun Tiwari and eminent Malayalam writer MT Vasudevan Nair, says Malayala Manorama.
Protesters protesting at the Book launch function

Protesters protesting at the Book launch function

The book release function organized by Current Books, Thrissur, on Saturday had reportedly asked Sreedevi not to attend the function, citing the mere fact that one of the chief guests Swami Brahmavihari Das of BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha doesn’t entertain to share dais with women. She was informed this through one of their staff.

Sreedevi took the issue to social media platform Facebook where she wrote about the atrocities practiced by the swami.

“The first three rows in the hall must be reserved for swamiji’s followers so that they can ensure that even the impure shadow of woman must not fall on him,” she wrote on her Facebook wall. Her post was shared over 5000 and got around 7000 likes until now.

Mean while KJ Johny, publishing manager of Current Books, Thrissur, said that they do not usually invite the persons who translates the book for the book release function. “We have no idea about such rules of the ashram. No such message was conveyed to Sreedevi,” a media report said here.

The other guests of the event are co-writer of the book Arun Tiwari and writer MT Vasudevan Nair.

According to Times Of India, Sreedevi told them that a staff of Current books called her a week ago and said that she should not come as it would be against Ashram rules. “I first thought it as a joke and wait till the eve of the event. Then I decided to make it public as it is more a public issue than a personal one,” she said.

“The hidden dangers in the issue shocked me more than the personal insult as a writer. What is the difference between Taliban, which asked women not to show other body parts except eyes, and Indian culture, which bars women from attending public functions,” she asked in her post.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Writer and translator of APJ Kalam’s book Sreedevi S Kartha has said that the stand taken by Current Books Publishers in prohibiting  her from attending the book release function exposes the narrow mindedness of the publishers.
“For the past several years the practice of religious organisations imposing their interests on the general public has been in vogue. The instruction that girls should not share a public venue with Brahmavihari Das is part of this practice. What is the difference between such organisations and fundamentalist elements like Taliban and ISIS. Are they also not trying to force their motives down others throat?,” she quipped.
She told media persons in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday that “such inhumane practice can’t be accepted in the land where greats like Sree Narayana Guru, Swami Vivekananda and Chattambi Swami lived. Such actions hurt one’s dignity”.
“Sara Joseph’s statement that the translator need not take part in the book release function deserves flak. The writer, who is also a feminist, has taken such a retrograde step in order to please the publishers to whom she has certain obligations,” she allleged.

Sreedevi said she was asked by the publishers to stay away from the dais as Brahmavihari Das does not want to share stage with women. Though the publishers, Current Books Thrissur, said they do not usually invite translators to book release functions.
The book originally titled “Transcendence: My Spiritual Experience with Pramukh Swamiji” has been translated as “Kaalaatheetham”. Brahmavihari Das is a disciple of Pramukh Swami, whom Kalam used to consider his Guru.
The book was supposed to be released by Kalam’s co-author Arun Tiwari and eminent Malayalam writer MT Vasudevan Nair, says Malayala Manorama.