Kamala Das S Balakrishnan
From: jimas <email@example.com>
Date: Tuesday, July 04, 2000 7:02 PM
IN THE NAME OF ALLAAH THE MOST KIND THE MOST MERCIFUL
4th Rabi' al-Thaani 1421:5th July '00 : Wed:2.55 am (UK time)
From Abu Muntasir,
Assalaam 'alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu.
Innal hamdalillaah was-salaat was-salaam 'alaa rasoolillaah.
Originally posted by brother Mazhar <firstname.lastname@example.org>
***** Indian Nobel Prize Nominee Embraces Islam *****
It takes extraordinary courage for a rich and famous Hindu to
embrace Islam and be faced with the ire of Hindu extremists,
who recently murdered an Australian Missionary priest and his
two lovely children by burning them alive.
The celebrated Indian novelist and poetess Dr. Kamala Das is
now Suraiyya. Her Krishna poems are replaced by Ya Allah.
Kamala's "My Story" has been published in more than 15
languages and is a text book in Japan. Her English poetry
collections include: Summer in Calcutta, Alphabet of Lust,
The Descendants, Old Play House, and Only the Soul Knows
How to Sing. She has been awarded numerous prizes and was
the only Malayalee to be nominated for the Nobel Prize.
Here is part of the "Times of India" article:
I like Islam's orthodox lifestyle: Kamala Das
The Times of India
MUMBAI: Noted writer Kamala Das finds herself in the eye of
a storm following her recent decision to embrace Islam and
change her name to Suraiya. This is not the first time she
finds herself embroiled in a controversy. Her writings in
the past have generated considerable heat. But the earlier
controversies were essentially confined to literary circles.
Her decision to convert to Islam has taken Kerla by storm
with applause and criticism both flying in her direction.
The Times of India spoke to her over the telephone at her
home in Kochi on Tuesday evening. Excerpts:
Question: When exactly did you decide to embrace Islam?
Answer: I do not remember the exact time. I think it was
about 27 years ago.
Q: Why did you wait so long to convert?
A: When I discussed the matter first with my husband in the
early seventies, he asked me to wait. He advised me to read
books on Islam. I again thought of converting before the
1984 parliamentary elections.
But, not all my children were married and settled at that
time. I did not want my decision to impact on their lives.
Now, all of them are well settled and happy. Hence, I have
announced my decision now.
Q: Who introduced you to Islam?
A: My first interface with Islam was through two blind
Muslim children, Irshad Ahmed and Imtiaz Ahmed. They were
sent to me by the National Association for the Blind since
I had volunteered to read and teach the blind. The children
virtually stayed at our flat at Bank House at Churchgate,
Mumbai. I was required to read them Islamic scriptures.
Q: What was it in Islam which attracted you?
A: I liked the purdah which Muslim women wore. I liked the
orthodox lifestyle of Muslim women.
Q: But, doesn't the Purdah circumscribe your freedom?
A: I don't want freedom. I had enough of it thrust on me.
Freedom had become a burden for me. I want guidelines to
regulate and discipline my life. I want a master to protect
me. I wanted protection and not freedom. I want to be
subservient to Allah. In fact, for the past 24 years I had
worn a purdah off and on. I had gone to markets, matinee
shows and even while abroad I had worn purdah. I have
several of them.
A woman in purdah is respected. No one touches you or
teases you if you wear one. You get total protection.
Q: But isn't freedom the most precious of all gifts enjoyed
A: My freedom had become frayed at the edges. It was not
good any more. It was no more the toy I wanted to play with.
I had outgrown the desire for freedom.
Q: What was the immediate reason to accept Islam?
A: Recently I was travelling in a car from the Malabar to
Kochi. I started the journey at 5.45 a.m. I looked at the
rising sun. Surprisingly, it had the colour of a setting
sun. It travelled with me and at 7.00 a.m. it turned white.
For years I have been looking for signs telling me when to
convert. Finally, I got the message.
Q: Can you please specify the three chief reasons which
prompted you to become a Muslim?
A: I cannot list the reasons like that. I wanted protection.
My husband died seven years ago and I am now a lonely widow
who is 67 years old. When he was there he provided me with
protection. I had not to bother about getting tickets,
passports, visa and such other things. I just had to follow
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Wassalaam 'alaikum wa rahmatullaah.
"Take benefit of five before five: your youth before
your old age, your health before your sickness, your
wealth before your poverty, your free-time before your
preoccupation, and your life before your death."
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