I will not be part of any religion: Kamalsy Najmal | Kochi News


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Kamal C Chavara became Kamalsy Najmal after converting to Islam. He has now renounced Islam and simply became Kamalsy
Kamalsy, the author of the novels ‘Daivavum Njanum’ and ‘Smasanangalude Notepusthakam‘converted to Islam in 2018 to protest the cremation of a social activist and writer Najmal Babu also known as TN Joy, against the writer’s wish to be buried in a mosque. After three years, in a Facebook post on December 17, Kamalsy announced that he had renounced Islam. In an interview with Anantha Narayanan K, he explains why he abandoned Islam and how competitive communalism fuels the growth of extremism at both ends. Extracts:
Can you tell us the reason for your conversion to Islam?
The immediate reason for my conversion was the death of social activist and writer TN Joy, who converted to Islam by adopting the name Najmal Babu, in October 2018. He was my close friend and that was my last wish. of Joy that his body be buried in Cheramaan. Kodungalloor Mosque. But his family cremated him at his home. I chose to be a Muslim to protest against this and recited the sacred songs in the presence of an Islamic scholar in front of the secretariat two days after Joy’s funeral.
This is how Kamal C Chavara became Kamalsy Najmal in memory of Najmal Babu at the age of 41. It was my only decision to be a Muslim. I was born a Hindu but never followed religion. I was a silent atheist until three years ago. From a young age I have observed the atrocities committed against the Muslim community in our country and have always believed that being a Muslim is the best way to fight these atrocities.
I had been harboring this thought since the demolition of Babri Masjid and Joy’s death made my decision.
What was your experience as a Muslim? Did the community members accept you as one of them?
I have been a Muslim for over three years and have lived by the Islamic faith. I was accepted as a member of the community and I was treated as their equal, or I thought so. As a writer, I have been invited to many Islamic programs where I have interacted with several leaders. I had good relations with everyone, even with the Indian Social Democratic Party (SDPI), which advocated extreme Islamic beliefs.
But later, whenever I started to question extreme ideologies, the response I received was cold. The murder of SFI leader Abhimanyu at Ernakulam Maharaja College happened at that time and when I opposed political violence they told me they believed in the saying “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” .
Later, when I tried to report the religious issues to the senior leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, they told me that this was not the time for me to comment on major religious topics. It made me realize where I was and that I was a foreigner.
Have you visited madrasas and mosques? What do you have to say about education in the madrassas?
I have visited mosques regularly for the past three years and have prayed five times a day. I have visited the madrassas several times and have found that children are brainwashed by conservative beliefs in Islam from an early age. Madrassas suppress independent growth in children by injecting them with age-old beliefs. It is much more difficult for a Muslim to be an independent man by freeing himself from the clutches of religion because the extreme beliefs injected into him since his childhood in Madrasas take root deeply. Such conservatism will lead to the destruction of Islam.
Is the Muslim community in Kerala today facing a serious identity crisis and are many young people moving towards extreme factions?
Yes, it is true and the contemporary political situation nourishes it. Fascist forces are strengthening in Kerala and Muslims face an existential dilemma and an identity crisis. Alternative communitarianism is seen as a method to combat this and organizations like the SDPI are feeding off this point of view.
Muslims have always welcomed extreme beliefs like jihad, martyrdom, etc. They are ready for anything if they feel that the existence of their community is threatened and when they go there, the whole community supports it.
In Kerala, Muslims still have political authority in at least some places, but if you look at India as a whole it is even more severe. It didn’t start with the advent of BJP in the country, but long before. Hindutva thoughts and anti-Muslim beliefs are present in all political parties, although hidden, and they have continued to grow with the growth of the BJP in Kerala.
When young people are drawn to organizations like SDPI, it becomes a challenge for the Muslim League. SDPI and RSS feed off each other.
What are the reasons for your decision to give up your faith in Islam now?
The reasons are purely political. When I joined Islam, I thought I could fight against the fascist forces. But now, extreme Muslim organizations see communitarianism as an alternative to communitarianism. It is a dangerous situation.
Take for example the recent gender-neutral school uniform controversy at Balussery. It showed how intolerant these people are towards simple social change.
The conversion to Islam was a mistake and I want to rectify it. I have decided to quit Islam and will continue under the name Kamalsy, which has always been my pen name. I will not go back to Hinduism. I will try to fight against the fascist forces without belonging to any religion or political party. I am working on my third novel on contemporary Indian politics.
How did your family react after you renounced Islam?
After joining Islam my wife Padma Priya and I broke up and the only family I have now is my oldest daughter Bhoomi. My youngest daughter Kadal lives with her mother.
Do you think the left has lost its secular commitment and is pushing identity politics in the state?
The left cannot take a stand against fascism or extreme Islamic beliefs. They sit idly by watching the violence brought on by the other as well and remain confused as to what to do. The left sees political gains in this fight and often remains silent.
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