The second edition Kannada translation of the Koran was released in Mangalore on Friday amid controversies and protests regarding the attendance of Pejawar Seer and the district Sahitya Parishat president at a ceremony marking the release.
Though having agreed to attend the programme, both Dakshina Kannada District Kannada Sahitya Parishat president Pradeep Kumar Kalkura and Sri Vishwesha Theertha Swamiji of Pejawar Math did not turn up at the release of the holy book translated by Abdussalam Puthige, editor of Varthabharathi Kannada daily. The programme was organised by Forum For Humanity and Yuvavahini Kendra Samiti.
On Friday morning, Bajrang Dal activists staged a protest in front of Mr. Kalkura’s house at Mallika Layout demanding that he and the Pejawar seer not participate in ‘Koran’ Kannada version release programme.
“Why should our Swamiji attend a programme organised by another community? It was Kalkura’s idea to get the swamiji to attend the function,” said a Bajrang Dal leader.
While not sure of the reasons behind the chief guests’ absence, the organisers said several flights that had been booked for the seer from Hyderabad – as the swami was in Raichur for a programme – had to be cancelled after the seer conveyed his inability to attend.
Mr. Kalkura was busy with the Akhila Bharatha Kannada Sahitya Sammelan at Uppinangady, said an organiser.
Both Mr. Kalkura and the seer were unavailable for comment.
A book for humanity
Meanwhile, though absent, the seer sent a message congratulating Mr. Puttige for his endeavour.
In the message that was read out to the gathering, the seer elaborated that though there existed differences between religions, all religious books preached the message of peace, love, and sanctity of life.
Similarly, Denis Prabhu, Vicar General, Diocese of Mangalore, said the message of Koran was not meant only for Muslims, but for all of humanity to learn from.
He said that translation of religious books was not an easy job as even a change of a single word could alter the meaning of the book or spoil the beauty of the prose.