Alleging that Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s novel, Madhorubhagan, has portrayed the Kailasanathar temple in Tiruchengode and women devotees in bad light, the BJP, RSS and other Hindu outfits have demanded its ban and the arrest of the author. They burnt copies of the book on Friday at Tiruchengode.
The book has been translated and published in English as One Part Woman by Penguin India and it had seen two editions.
Mr. Murugan, an author of seven novels and a dictionary of dialects of the Kongu (western) region of Tamil Nadu, has filed a complaint with the Superintendent of Police seeking protection for him and his family members. “In the last 20 days, I have been receiving calls abusing me. It has disturbed me a lot. On Thursday, a group of people visited my house and wanted a copy of the book,” Mr. Murugan, who works as a Tamil Professor at the Government Arts College in Namakkal, told The Hindu .
Madhorubagan , Tamil equivalent of Ardhanareeswarar, the presiding deity of Tiruchengodu temple, revolves around childless couple Kali and his wife, Ponna. Their predicament is discussed in the backdrop of the “traditional free, consensual sex rituals” held once in a year during the car festival of the temple in the past. Kali resists attempts to make his wife to participate in the ritual, but in the end he is shattered when he finds her missing from home.
Kannan, publisher of Kalachuvadu, which had published the book in 2010, said though many communities were embarrassed by certain aspects of their history and culture that could not fit in with their present day middle class values, no creative writer could obey the dictums of ‘fascist forces.’ “Kalachuvadu will stand by Perumal Murugan. Tamil intellectuals must get together and face this challenge,” he said.Bid to take out march
On Friday, more than 50 cadres, led by Tiruchengode town RSS president Mahalingam, raised slogans and tried to take out a march from the foothills of the temple to the police station. But they were stopped by Deputy Superintendent of Police Ramasamy, who asked them to prefer a complaint with the local police station. While initially their attempt to burn copies of the book was thwarted by the police, they later succeeded in doing so in front of the local police station.
In their petition, the BJP, RSS and other Hindu outfits said that in many pages the author had denigrated Lord Shiva and the women devotees who visited the temple during the car festival. The cited the narratives in pages, 87, 116, 117, 118, 129 and 172 of the book were in bad taste. They demanded the arrest of both the author and the publisher.