20 October, 2020

'I Am Allah's Handmaiden'

The controversial writer who now likes to be called Dr Kamala Sorayya whom Kerala knows as Madhavikutty, on her conversion to Islam.

'I Am Allah's Handmaiden'

She might be 65 now, but ever since Kamala Das shocked middle-class morality in the seventies by penning her bare-all My Story, she’s reinforced her irreverent image with a corpus of poems and paintings - documenting the female quest for fulfillment - that established her as a person with a hugely respectable talent for saying disrespectful things. All this sent Kerala society into a tizzy but also earned her literary prestige. Today, Madhavikutty, as Kerala prefers to call her, has shut the door on her past. Widowed and lonely, she finds security in the ‘rigidities’ of Islam. Venu Menon spoke to her in her apartment in Kochi. Excerpts:

What do we call you now?
Preferably Dr Kamala Sorayya. But whatever you do please don’t call me aunty. I’m a smart-looking woman. I can go to any auditorium and be scintillating. And some fat woman who does nothing but overeat comes and calls me aunty. It’s so...



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