Kozhikode: Malayalam philosophical and mystical writer Shoukath Sahajotsu’s new book ‘Koodum Koottum’ (The Nest and Companionship) was released in an event held at Devagiri CMI Public School on May 12.
The book is a re-interpretation of Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara’s book titled Nalla Appante Chavarul (Testament of a Loving Father), with regards to current times. The book largely touches on topics of children, family and society. The book was published by Nithyanjali Publications in association with Chavara Cultural Centre.
The book was launched by Asha Menon as he handed it over to Fr. Thomas Thekkel. The official launch was followed by a few words shared by all the distinguished guests, Shoukath and Fr. John Mannarathara.
“Father Chavara’s teachings shouldn’t be limited to a religious framework or just the Christian community, it should be available for all… his works, even though written over 150 years ago, is still applicable in all our lives today,” said Shoukath Sahajotsu about his new book.
Hailing from Thrissur, Shoukath Sahajotsu is the 2007 Kerala Sahitya Akademi award recipient and also the closest disciple of Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati.
Shoukath also shed light on his friendship with Fr. John Mannarathara, one of the main reasons that led him into writing this book. It is a friendship between a Muslim born philosopher and a Christian priest which may be perceived as unusual by many. But they are two individuals who believe in placing man and God in a secular space.
“We need to learn how to connect better with other people, not on the basis of what religion they may belong to but as the human being they are,” said Shoukath, explaining his understanding of a secular space. He also went on to say that it is this very outlook that serves as the foundation of their friendship.
“Fr. Chavara’s teachings should spread beyond the Christian community as it can benefit us all as individuals and a society,” said Fr. John Mannarathara.
One of the major topics mentioned in the book is parenting. Shoukath mentioned how there are no more ‘children’ these days, there are only individuals. We live in a world where even children are to be treated as a separate individual entitled to the same respect we would generally give another adult.
“Father Chavara talks about treating small children, back then, with lots of love and care and then as they grow, treat them more like a friend. As children of this generation are less dependent on their parents for information from a young age, I believe parents also need to change their parenting ways. They must treat their children with love but also give them the space and respect like they would for another individual,” he said.
Considering how the Malayalam language, in the early 1800’s, hadn’t developed into what it is today, it would be difficult for many to read and understand the valuable teachings of Fr. Kuriakose Elias Chavara.
Shoukath’s re-interpretation of Fr. Chavara’s lessons with reference to our modern contexts help spread the light of a healthy outlook on life. These lessons can bring us all above the frames of religion and cast, and together evolve us into a well-informed and more humanitarian society.
The event also witnessed the release of a song titled ‘Ammakkavilil Oru Umma’, performed by Sreya Jayadeep, as a tribute to the inestimable love of mothers and dedicated to them on their special day.
Dr. K. Sreekumar, Asha Menon, Dr. Iris Koyilo, Dr. Millie Mohan, Fr. Thomas Thekkel, Fr. Thomas Panthaplakkal, Fr. Chacko Illiparambil and Fr. Johny Kochuthaazhathu were the guests and speakers for the day.