‘Motivated witch-hunt’

Perumal Murugan. Photo: Special Arrangement

Perumal Murugan. Photo: Special Arrangement   | Photo Credit: special arrangement

“Tamil Nadu govt. should protect him from extra-constitutional cultural censors”

Describing it as a “shocking and a serious blow” to the freedom of expression, eminent writers and academicians have condemned the alleged blackmail and harassment of influential Tamil writer Perumal Murugan at the hands of “anonymous vested religious elements led by the Hindutva right.”

In a statement released under the banner of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust here on Saturday, they said the alleged harassment and bullying of Mr. Murugan at the peak of his creative powers was done in collusion with the police and the State administration of Tamil Nadu and it pained the Tamil writer so much that he announced that he was giving up writing altogether.

“Perumal Murugan’s sensitive and distinctive novel, Madhorubagan, was published as far back as 2010 in Tamil and has run into many editions. An English translation of the book, published in 2013 under the title One Part Woman, also went into more than one edition. As if on cue to an orchestrated campaign initiated by the RSS and the BJP in the State, the work has, over the last few weeks, suddenly come under attack for allegedly being offensive to the local dominant caste of Tiruchengode [near Erode in Tamil Nadu], where the story is set some time in the early part of the 20th century,” the statement said.

Key Developments

  • BJP, RSS demand ban on 'Madhorubagan' and arrest of the author. Copies burnt at Tiruchengode. >Read more
  • The Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artistes Association express solidarity with Mr. Murugan >Read more
  • Hindutva ideologue and writer Aravindan Neelakantan reiterated that the RSS had never favoured the idea of banning books. >Read more
  • Peace restored in Tiruchengode after an agreement between Mr. Murugan and various members of Hindu outfits. >Read more
>Read more » >Read more » >Read more »

>In defence of the chronicler of Kongu

It would be tragic if Perumal Murugan is silenced in his prime

>"People are looking to settle scores with me"

Perumal Murugan on how the local protests that have forced him to flee his native town.

>Of desire, despair and hope

"When its copies were burnt, I wondered if there was any point in writing for such a society"

They alleged that the “motivated, retrospective and retroactive literary witch-hunt and inquisition of the novelist” has been abetted by the police and the district administration in the form of a so-called ‘peace meeting’ to which Mr. Murugan was summoned on January 12.

“All that the police could or would do to protect Perumal Murugan was to advise him to stay away from Tiruchengode for his safety. The author is now in effective exile from his home, where he and his wife lived and worked, and has been reduced to pleading with his publishers not to sell or reprint any of his books and promising to compensate the loss they incurred on account of this,” the Sahmat statement said.

Plea to State

The writers, historians, intellectuals and artists called upon the Tamil Nadu government to protect Mr. Murugan and his constitutionally guaranteed freedom of expression and his creative integrity from such extra-constitutional cultural censors.

“Can we allow such forces to kill the soul of a writer thus? We call upon artists, writers, intellectuals, readers and the concerned public at large to rise to the defence of democracy imperilled by this unwarranted and vile abrogation of an author’s right to write,” it said.

The signatories to the statement included Irfan Habib, M.K. Raina, Ram Rahman, Prabhat Patnaik, Saeed Mirza, C.P. Chandrasekhar, Jayati Ghosh, Sohail Hashmi, Teesta Setalvad, Veer Munshi, Anil Sadgopal, Amar Farooqui, K.M. Shrimali and Rakhshanda Jalil.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 3:08:17 PM |

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