A raging plagiarism controversy in Kerala has left red-faced two progressive cultural faces celebrated by the Left.
Writer and college faculty Deepa Nisanth recently emerged in social fora as an activist who takes on the Sangh Parivar. And young orator Sreechithran recently hogged the limelight for his speeches at Left-sponsored events, favouring the entry of young women to Sabarimala temple following the recent Supreme Court verdict that lifted the age bar on entry of women to the hill shrine.
Deepa and Sreechithran are in the dock for lifting a poem written by young poet S Kalesh. At the crux of the controversy is a poem published under Deepa’s name at a service magazine of All Kerala Private College Teachers Association.
Kalesh has alleged that Deepa copied his poem, which was published in his blog in 2011.
He said the title of the poem in the blog was “anganeyirikke marichu poyi njan’’ — meaning “So when I died”. He added that the name has now been shortened to “anganeyirikke’’ — meaning “So when…” — and some of the lines of the poem have been changed.
As Kalesh said he would pursue legal action against Deepa for copying his poem, she indicated that the poem published in the magazine was sent to her by Sreechithran.
“Kalesh was never before me when this poem was published. When it became a controversy, I realised that it was written by Kalesh. The poem was sent to me by my friend several years back. I wanted him to publish it. But, he was not ready for that. But when the poem figured in a discourse, I again wanted that it should be published. When he disagreed, I decided to publish it in my name taking advantage of the authority given by friendship. Now, I realise it was wrong and my credibility as a writer is at stake,’’ she said in a statement.
A faculty with the Kerala Varma College in Thrissur, Deepa is vocal on the social media about her stand against the Sangh Parivar and its activities. Last year, she received an acid attack threat over the social media after she backed an exhibition of paintings by M F Hussain at Kerala Varma College. In 2015, she had challenged the Sangh Parivar by taking the lead in organising a beef festival at the college, which is run by Cochin Devaswom Board.
Sreechithran said he was tendering an unconditional apology to Kalesh. “To my friends who used to praise me yesterday and ridicule at me today… I have never been an icon. I am an ordinary person who has been going through corrections in the recent period,’’ he said in a Facebook post.
Referring to his public addresses on the Sabarimala issue, Sreechithran said he has been speaking at street corners for the last 45 days.
“The progressive society would continue its journey even if I fall,’’ he said.