RANDAM YAMANGALUDE KADHA: Translation of Salma’s Novel by Attoor Ravivarma; DC Books, DC Kizhakemuri Edam, Good Shepherd Street, Kottayam-686001. Rs. 175.

SALMA WRITES about women who bear the primary responsibility of carrying forward traditional values but find it difficult to reconcile themselves to the norms set by society. In a declaration that sounds like her literary manifesto, she says: “I shall not write one word to suit anyone’s convenience; nor shall I cause inconvenience to anyone.”

This work is a translation of her first novel Irandaam Jaamangalin Kathai, which appeared in 2005, and Attoor Ravivarma has taken great pains to ensure that the Malayalam version retained the flavour of the original in Tamil.

The novel reveals a hidebound society characterised by intense religiosity and irrational restrictions. The story is presented from the perspective of a few women characters, chiefly Rabia, a young and inquisitive girl whose innocence lends a rare charm to the narrative.

Writing with infinite compassion, Salma makes a powerful plea for a morality that liberates, not suppresses, woman. As M. N. Karasseri points out in the introduction, the Malayalam version of her novel has contemporary relevance.