Staff Reporter

Bench directive to District Librarian

MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the District Librarian here to renew the subscription of Tamil magazine, ‘Kalachuvadu,’ for 2008-09. The subscription was allegedly discontinued for criticising the State Government on various issues.

Justice K. Chandru passed the interim orders on a writ petition filed by S.R. Sundaram, Editor and Publisher of the magazine and son of renowned Tamil writer and essayist Sundara Ramasamy, who died in the United States in October 2005.

The magazine, started by the essayist in 1988, secured a niche for itself in the Tamil literary world and every issue was a collector’s item. It contained not only short stories and poems, but also articles on various aspects of Tamil culture, the petitioner said.

He went on to state that the magazine was not biased and it commented/criticised without fear or favour. It was subscribed by government libraries in the State since 2003 and more than 1,500 copies were supplied to various libraries in 2006-08.

“In 2007, the magazine took a strong stand on certain issues and this was unfortunately perceived as anti-Government,” he said and added that it lead to discontinuation of its subscription by government libraries across the State.

Mr. Sundaram pointed out that his publication had condemned the death of three persons in the attack on Dinakaran newspaper officer here on May 9, last year. It criticised the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project on ecological grounds.

The magazine also wrote an editorial on the need to depoliticise institutions created for the promotion of Tamil in the context of the Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi assuming chairmanship of the Centre for Classical Tamil.

“As a result… I have come to know that the Director of Public Libraries has issued an oral order to all district libraries to discontinue their subscription to ‘Kalachuvadu.’ I am also informed that the respondent was called upon to do so at the instance of political functionaries at the helm of affairs,” the petitioner said.

Pointing out that the issue was brought to the notice of various intellectuals, he said that many of them including historian Ramachandra Guha and former chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women V. Vasanthi Devi had publicly condemned the hostile stand taken by the authorities.

The Publisher’s main prayer in the writ petition was to direct the Director of Libraries to renew the subscription of the magazine for 2008-09 and also subsequent years by all government libraries.