Who wouldn’t want to be on a Google doodle? I mean just the idea of an image or cartoon of you pasted as a sign of respect on the world’s most popular search engine is enough to make you furiously work towards it.
Well, late poet and author Kamala Das, who’s featured on today’s Google Doodle deserves every bit of it.
For those who don’t know, Kamala Das is an important figure in Indian literature, famous for her short stories and poems like ‘Summer in Calcutta’ and The Descendants’. She is known for writing about women’s issues and her poetry, in particular, is filled with bold references to female sexuality.
The cute Doodle based on the English and Malayalam writer honours her famous autobiographical book My Story which was published on 1 February 1973. According to a blogpost by Google, the doodle celebrates “the work she left behind, which provides a window into the world of an engrossing woman.”
Her legend status definitely makes her extremely deserving of the Doodle but some people in Kerala seem to think differently.
Just a day earlier, a petition was filed in the Kerala High Court by lawyer KP Ramachandran, seeking a ban against Aami, the biopic about Das that is set to hit the theatres soon. The film has been directed by national award winner Kamal, with inimitable Malayalam actor Manju Warrier playing the role of Das.
But the reason for the ban? The petition claims that Kamala Das was the harbinger of ‘Love Jihad’ in Kerala.
Kamala Das was also known as Kamala Suraiyya. She adopted this name when she converted from Hinduism to Islam at the age of 65. Her reason was very clear. She had a strong affection for the Islamic way of living and didn’t like the idea of being burned after death, which is the Hindu way.
But according to the petition “The conversion of Madhavikutty (Das) into Islam was the beginning of “love jihad” in Kerala. Love jihad is the grave menace the society now faces in Kerala.” It claims that the film will just promote love jihad in the southern state.
The petition seems laughable especially when the news articles reporting it end up located just below Das’ Doodle. It feels like Das is looking down at the articles from above, with a contemptuous smile that says, “I am above all this.”