With poetry and a pen name

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By Kannan Sundaram

Forced to drop out of school and virtually imprisoned at home, Salma’s firebrand poetry released her into a new public life

On a summer morning in 1994, I was working in my Kalachuvadu office. The room has large windows, and from my desk I can clearly see the front gate. A large vehicle had pulled up. Several heads came into sight, mostly women with saris firmly covering their hair. They walked into the front yard in a group.

We were expecting them. I knew one of them was Salma. She was coming to visit my father, the writer Sundara Ramaswamy. My father ran an open house, so we were used to visitors, some announced but most of them unannounced, dropping in at all times of the day. Food would always be cooked in excess; there were guest rooms upstairs. A Tamil literary magazine once wrote, “Don’t waste your money booking a hotel room when you go to Nagercoil. Just go to Suraa’s home.” Read more

Source: The Hindu


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