Kerala awoke to the combative personality of helmer-actor-activist Aisha Sultana after her spirited protest against the reforms of the Lakshadweep administrator. On a recent visit, the Chetlat island native, interacted with students of Muhammed Abdurahiman Memorial Orphanage College, Mukkam and Malppuram Priyadarshini College. Excerpts:
In a defining selfie moment, so emblematic of present-day youth, the image of Aisha Sultana is the cynosure of all attention Photo: Ajith Sankaran
? The differences you have observed between Lakshadweep and Kerala
In the island, women enjoy untrammelled freedom to roam around anytime. This is impossible in Kerala. Parents are the cause of this. They are so caught up in raising dowry for the marriage of daughters. Children too take after their parents. The latter should utilise wealth to impart education to their kids. The dowry system is absent in Lakshadweep. In Kerala it seems rampant. Moreover, matrimony should happen not on turning eighteen, but on attaining mental maturity.
? In your multiple cinematic roles, which is your favourite
I do not wish to be known as an actor. That is not my forte. My chosen field is direction.
? Has the relentless struggle paid off in Lakshadweep
Lots of change has occurred. The administrator, Praful Khoda Patel, is more wary of things now. Our economic security is diminishing. It doesn’t help matters that ship fares have escalated. It seems they are trying to adopt a policy of smoking us out by curtailing income and raising expenses.
A few days back, protesting students were suspended. The only way out is to wage battle without fear.
All the fiery passion of the fighter is etched on her face, as the artist-activist articulates a forceful point Photo: Ajith Sankaran
? Your views on feminism
Am not one. Feminists are better qualified to respond to this question. All my life have benefited from equality.
? What do you feel about the online castigation of celebrities who take a stand
Feel scornful towards them. We should press forward with conviction.
? What did you feel when slapped with charges of sedition
It is an honour. People who were similarly arraigned earlier were all patriots. I look upon it in that manner.
Aiysha Sultana was conferred the Muhammed Abdurahiman sahib award by the Muhammed Abdurahiman Memorial Committee. In her acceptance speech, she said the victory of the farmers in getting the farm laws repealed would inspire the islanders.