Delhi-based publisher Navyana to cancel agreement for release of the English translation of Mr. D’Cruz’s Aazhi Soozh Ulagu

Narendra Modi could be the Prime Minister-in-waiting for many. But overt support to him has scuttled the release of the Sahitya Akademi winner Joe D’Cruz’s Tamil book translated into English.

The Delhi-based publisher Navayana has decided to cancel the agreement for release of the English translation of Mr. D’Cruz’s first Tamil novel Aazhi Soozh Ulagu (Ocean Ringed World) in the wake of his recent political stand on Mr. Modi.

“It is a clear case of crass intellectual dishonesty and blackmail. It is the publisher who came forward to translate the work and signed the agreement. The translation is over and the book is ready for release. Now they have sent me an e-mail, saying that they could not release it because of my political stand. Why should one assume that I am a Leftist because I am writing about the poor?”

Mr. D’Cruz told The Hindu. The translation was done by V. Geetha, feminist writer, and due for release later this year.

The writer, who caught the attention of the Tamil literary world through his authentic depiction of the life of fishermen in the coastal belt of Gulf of Mannar, said his support for Mr. Modi stemmed from the realisation that the Gujarat model of development and a strong leadership offered by Mr. Modi could ameliorate the living conditions of the people in the lower rungs of society.

“It is not a decision taken overnight. My work takes me to all States in the country and I have been visiting Gujarat for the last 12 years and have had first-hand experience of witnessing the development,” said Mr. D’Cruz, whose second novel Korkai, tracing the history of fishermen, won him the Sahitya Akademi Award.

He said Mr. Modi, more than any other leader in the country, had understood the importance of human resource in the country and had utilised the ruling class for the uplift of the poor.

“He rose to this level from a humble beginning and is fully aware of the needs of the people. He speaks his mind and does not indulge in lip service like some fine orators in other political parties,” Mr. D’Cruz said.

Rejecting the allegation that he was being gradually absorbed into ‘Hindutva-fold’, Mr. D’Cruz said, “I am committed to social justice. I love my people, my country, my roots and culture. I have nothing to do with the Hindutva,” he said.

Mr. D’Cruz, a devout Catholic, also clarified that there was no basis for the accusation that his hatred for Christianity, as perceived by readers of his works, had led him to support Mr. Modi.

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