Kozhikode

Media organisations should stand by writers, says Satchidanandan

Meeting of minds: Poet K. Satchidanandan and writer B.M. Suhara at a discussion organised by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi in association with Shabdam, a women writers’ collective, in Kozhikode on Monday.

Meeting of minds: Poet K. Satchidanandan and writer B.M. Suhara at a discussion organised by the Kerala Sahitya Akademi in association with Shabdam, a women writers’ collective, in Kozhikode on Monday.   | Photo Credit: S_RAMESHKURUP

It is unfair to target family members of novelist Hareesh, he asserts

A media organisation and its editor should stand by writers facing threats from fundamentalist forces, poet Satchidanandan has said. He was responding to questions on the withdrawal of Meesha (moustache), a novel by award-winning author S. Hareesh, from the Mathrubhumi weekly following protests by Sangh Parivar outfits.

Mr. Satchidanandan was speaking at a discussion organised by Shabdam, a women writers’ collective, and the Kerala Sahitya Akademi, here on Monday. He said that in an ideal situation, a writer should get the support of the publication carrying the literary work and its editor as well as the readers. “It is a different issue if the above-mentioned writer got the support,” Mr. Satchidanandan pointed out.

The former secretary of the Sahitya Akademi also took objection to the way protests against Mr. Hareesh unfolded themselves in the public domain. “Many people believed that the now controversial remarks in the novel were made by the writer himself. They don’t realise that it was one of the characters who made them. Suppose a bad character in a literary work is a Muslim, can that community take umbrage and target the author, claiming that they were his views?” he asked.

Call for caution

Also, Mr. Satchidanandan said that taking remarks out of context and painting them with a communal colour smacked of a lack of sensibility on the part of the protesters. “A literary work is a place where reality and imagination mingle with each other,” he added.

The poet also took exception to the mode of protests. He said it was grossly unfair to target the family members of the writer and subject them to trolling on social media.

“Mr. Hareesh was reportedly told that his hands would be chopped off. When murderous assaults replace debates, it is the death of democracy. There should be a platform to express dissent with dignity...the threats he faced were similar to those faced by Tamil writer Perumal Murugan,” Mr. Satchidanandan observed.

Referring to the murder of Kannada scholar M.M. Kalburgi, he wondered if he too would have to undergo a similar experience in the near future.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 11:48:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/media-organisations-should-stand-by-writers-says-satchidanandan/article24498514.ece

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