from the malayalam newspaper kerala kaumudi. thanks to reader ram. emphasis ram's.
kamala surayya (aka kamala das aka madhavi kutty) was suffering from what i call "attention deficit disorder". nobody was paying her any attention, so she decided she'd get some attention by (drum roll)... converting to mohammedanism. i dont think she quite realized what she was doing. she was, i guess, planning to get more attention (drum roll)... by converting *out of* mohammedanism next. but alas, she found out too late that would be considered a big no-no and that she would stand a fair chance of being sent to heaven if she did that. poor kamala surayya is now feeling a little trapped.
i also thought it most entertaining what a famous malayalam poet (marxist with a hindu name) did when people yelled at kamala for converting. he decided to convert, too. but being a clever guy, he decided to convert to, (drum roll)... buddhism! because that would mean no loss of body parts, and he would also have the option of converting *out of* buddhism, should he choose to, with no harm to any body parts including neck. these clever marxists! they think things through, don't they?
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Addressing a meet-the-press programme here, Nasreen said Muslim fundamentalists should not be treated as representative of the Muslim community. "The code should be based on equality and justice and not on religion," she said adding that the biggest tragedy of mankind was that morality has been hijacked by religion.
She claimed most of the Islamic laws were based on inequality. "Democracy means democracy for everybody. States should guarantee equal rights for everyone without considering their religious beliefs," Nasreen said.
To a question whether her argument for uniform civil code would lend credence to the demand of Hindu fundamentalists in India, she asked "if Hindu fundamentalists do some good things why should I oppose them?" Nasreen said she had been fighting religious fundamentalists for a long time. She had used her writing as a means to protest against fundamentalism, extremism and obscurantism. "I want to make people conscious about their rights and freedom.People should be made aware of secular ideals to fight fundamentalism ." Nasreen said she had seen how Muslim women suffered because of religious laws. "Though I did get an opportunity for education, millions of others did not get access to education, economic freedom and were oppressed under religion."
"The Islam religion and their scriptures are out of place and out of time. It still follows 7th century laws and is hopeless. The need of the hour is not reformation but revolution," Taslima told reporters.
The feminist author of Bengali book Lajja is in Kerala in connection with the release of the Malayalam translation of four of her books, which would be released at Thrissur on August 24.
Nasreen said a secular state should have a uniform civil code and should be based on equality, existence and not on religion.
"The state can do a lot of things, and both the state and religion should be separate. The state should not encourage religion. Today religious education and madrassas (religious seminaries) are going up. Jehad is stupidity," said the writer.
She said she had been fighting religious fundamentalism for long.
"I don't go to the streets, instead I write and that is my way of protest. I was born in a Muslim family and Muslim women suffer under Islam. No one told me to fight against oppression. It was inside me. Women are treated as slaves, sexual objects and childbearing machines," added Nasreen.
According to Nasreen, noted Kerala writer Kamala Surayya, who was Kamala Das before she converted to Islam, had now realised that she had made a mistake in converting to Islam. She had held a meeting with Surayya earlier.
"When I asked her if she regrets becoming a Muslim, she said 'yes'. She has realised that Islam does not give equality," said the writer.
She said she would love to return to her country, and if not allowed to then she would like to live in Kolkata because a writer likes to live in surroundings familiar to them.