THRISSUR, Sept 26, 2015:
A book launch here in Kerala state was marred when a woman writer was allegedly asked not to attend the function just to please a spiritual leader, throwing into focus the gender bias existing in the state.
Women in Kerala which is well-known for being the most literate state in India and has a proud reputation for women’s rights were naturally riled.
As the function started on Saturday at Sahitya Academy hall in Thrissur, more than 250km north of capital Thiruvananthapuram, a group of women activists stormed the venue shouting slogans against the publisher and spiritual leaders, according to a report in Hindustan Times.
The function was organised for the formal release of the Malayalam version of a book by former President APJ Abdul Kalam, translated by Sridevi S Kartha, the alleged victim.
Sridevi alleged she was asked not to attend the function as Brahma Vihari Das of BAPS Swami Narayana Sanstha did not like the presence of women on the stage along with him.
“The first three rows also should be reserved for Swami’s followers so that they can ensure that even impure shadow of women must not fall on him,” Sridevi sarcastically said in her Facebook post.
She also announced her decision to boycott the function.
Reacting to the issue, famous poet Sugathakumari said those “who are afraid of their mothers should go back to dark-age caves”.
“Hinduism is the only religion which 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 was quoted in the report as saying.