Kerala businessman in UAE apologises after poem sparks controversy
Dubai: A prominent Keralite businessman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has apologised for unintentionally hurting religious sentiments through his poem about coronavirus, a media report said.
Sohan Roy, founder chairman and CEO of Sharjah-headquartered Aries Group, tendered the apology in a Facebook live video on Saturday after being accused of using coronavirus to fuel Islamophobia, the Gulf News report said on Sunday.
Titled ‘Viddi Janman’ (Fool’s life), the short poem which went viral on social media is in Roy’s native Malayalam language.
Loosely translated, it says: “When religious thoughts blind men and put hurdles on the path, When the preacher teaches ignorance. When we have to build walls to stop the germs, Those idiots are spreading them by creating divisions.”
The poem does not mention any community, but the visual that runs in the background as the narrator recites the verses shows an image of a preacher leading a crowd of blindfolded men wearing skull caps, said the Gulf News report.
Roy said the depiction was an “honest mistake” on the part of his graphic designer based in Kerala, India.
“There was no malicious intent. It was an honest mistake. That said, I take full responsibility of what has happened. I am sorry if I have unknowingly hurt any religious sentiments. I don’t want to be dragged into a controversy. As soon as I realised that people had been offended I did a Facebook live video and apologised,” Rao told Gulf News on Sunday.
The 53-year-old who has since removed the poem from his Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts said he’s been writing poems on social issues for two-and-a-half years.