Seer's snub to woman writer of APJ book sparks uproar

Trivandrum - Book launch abandoned after translator told to keep off stage.

By T K Devasia

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Published: Sun 27 Sep 2015, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 27 Sep 2015, 11:48 AM

The release of Malayalam translation of former President A P J Abdul Kalam's latest book was abandoned following protests over denial of stage to the woman translator at the behest of a Hindu seer, who was the chief guest at the function scheduled to be held at the Kerala Sahitya Akademy on Saturday.
Trichur-based Current Books, publisher of the translation of the book 'Transcendenc My spiritual Experience with Pramukh Swamiji' asked the translator Sreedevi S Kartha to keep off the function as his representative Brahma Vihari Das of BAPS Swami Narayana Sanstha did not like the presence of women on the stage with him.
Sreedevi said the organisers had also wanted the first three rows in the hall to be reserved for Swami's followers to ensure that even 'impure shadow of women' must not fall on him. After Sreedevi revealed this in her Facebook page, women and youth activists staged marches to the venue, forcing the organisers to cancel the function.
Several women activists stormed into the venue and occupied the front seats of the hall. 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, 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 said 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 Taleban and Daesh.
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 poet 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.
The book describes Dr Kalam's spiritual experiences with Pramukh Swami Maharaj. The book, published by Harper-Collins India, also included the social and moral contributions of BAPS to society, the co-relation of science and spirituality and creative leadership. It contains the essence of the Upanishads, Gita and Puranas and other principles propagated by Bhagwan Swaminarayan.

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