AUTHOR & ACTIVIST
Rethy Devi is a famous writer activist and feminist living in Chicago from India.
I was born in an ancient beautiful greenish village named ‘Thamarakkulam’ (word means that a pond filled with lotus flowers) at the southern end of India. Prostitutes, beggars, saints, famous writers, notorious pickpockets, farmers and communist and congress party workers lived together there. My father worked for laborers and my mother loved to be proud that she could read most of the greatest books of the world. Every night, after household scores, my mother used to scribble short stories, poetries and articles along with her sorrows in her old pale yellowish diary. This atmosphere was the motivation and energy of my writing.
One of my greatest pleasures during my childhood days was to travel along with the ‘procession’ of ants as one among them. I spoke with them. I keep this habit still with me.
Although I was born in a joint family, I liked to sit alone and loved loneliness. Thus I became a good reader. While studying for degree, I won the award of ‘Kerala grandhasala sangham’ (State library council) for the best reader who read the maximum number of books.
I realized that the world is so complicated when I came to the town from my village, for studies. I met old prostitutes, orphans and lepers. I was a permanent visitor of Nooranad Leprosy Sanatorium, the biggest sanatorium of Asia. My frequent visits gave me many intellectual friends among the lepers. I had slept with them.
I have received many awards for my poetry, stories and articles. I have won many philosophical debates. Received the prizes for the best speaker in many inter collegiate competitions. My short story collection named ‘Adimavamsam’ (community of slaves) was one of the best sellers in India.
After law school, I worked for people including men and women who were denied social justice. I fought for their human rights. I was an active member of All India Theatre Association.
The Gospel.. was submitted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize. This is a book that was completed in a span of ten years after having referred over 500 authoritative books. Now this book occupies a pride of place on the bookshelves of about 60 countries. In the second biggest international book festival of the world, The Dubai International Book Fair of 2015, where ten million people came, and which extended to two weeks, this book was released by the Hon. Indian Ambassador Seetharam, by handing it over to the famous Indian writer Sethu. It might seem a coincidence that in the above function, Dan Brown, the author of the book ‘The Da Vinci Code’ was also present.
In addition to this, this book is one of the best 98 books, chosen from the Malayalam language at the Frankfurt International Book Festival, with an intention to translate and to acquaint Malayalam books with world class literature. This, I consider, is a great honour I received for my novel. I have participated in many international seminars. An important one among them is the International History Seminar at Frankfurt in 2015. A paper of mine titled ‘Post-Colonial Feminist and Feminist Identity’ was presented there. Dr. Upinder Singh, daughter of the then Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Dr. Margret Frenz, granddaughter of Dr. Herman Gundert, K.N.Panicker, M.G.S.Narayanan and others had presented papers at the seminar. The fictional Biographical novel titled Just Another Day In Paradise, written by the famous Indo-American writer Tom Mathews, New York , based on my life story when I was a Human rights lawyer, is available on amazon.com, as well as with the famous book distributors of America, Barnes & Noble. There are visitors from 112 countries around the world to my website www.Rethydevi.com.
I heard a feeble female voice from somewhere. I realized that it was the voice of Magdalene. That voice fluttered around me. I eagerly wandered to find out its source and at last I understood that it was coming from my heart itself. With tremendous joy I screamed loudly:
“Oh my Magdalene, I know you from me,
Oh my Magdalene, I hear you from me,
Oh my Magdalene, I realize that both of us are one!
Oh my Magdalene…”