Political parties and writers have rallied behind Tamil writer Perumal Murugan, who is under attack from the BJP and other Hindu outfits, for what they call the denigration of Lord Shiva and women devotees in his novel Madhorubhagan .
The Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artistes Association (TNPWAA) on Saturday organised a demonstration here, in which senior writers participated to express solidarity with Mr. Murugan.
TNPWAA general secretary Su. Venkatesan and president Tamilselvan alleged that the Sangh Parivar had sought to turn people of a particular area against a writer, hailing from the region. “Any attack on creative works and authors will only turn the clock back. Madhorubhagan deals with human relations in the backdrop of an age-old practice in a part of Tamil Nadu. It cannot be construed as an insult to women or religion,” they said and alleged that these kind of activities were on the rise after the BJP assumed office at Centre.
While CPI(M) State secretary G. Ramakrishan spoke to Mr. Murugan and expressed solidarity, Viduthalai Chiruthaikal Katchi leader Thol. Thirumavalavan, in a statement, said the demand for a ban on the novel was part of a larger design of the Sangh Parivar to convert Tamil Nadu into a land of clashes.
At a press conference, TNCC president EVKS Elangovan said: “Such actions violate the fundamental right of expression. Artistic right to express should not be stifled.”
Mr. Ramakrishnan wondered why the BJP and its offshoots wanted to ban a novel published in 2010. “No one can suppress the freedom of expression. I told Mr. Murugan that my party will stand by him,” he said.
Alleging that the Sangh Parivar was emboldened to act as the cultural police after the BJP assumed power at the Centre, he urged the State government to provide adequate security for the writer and his family.
Mr. Thirumavalavan said the Sangh Parivar had no right to interfere with the creativity of a writer, who had portrayed a tradition that was in vogue many years ago.‘RSS not for ban on books’
Hindutva ideologue and writer Aravindan Neelakantan reiterated that the RSS had never favoured the idea of banning books. “Immediately after the ban on Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses , Shiv Sena demanded similar measure against Riddles in Hinduism and its removal from Dr Ambedkar’s collected works. But the RSS opposed the ban and wanted it to be published,” he said.
Accusing the media of blowing out of proportion the activities of a few fringe elements in Tiruchengode, he said the RSS had nothing to do with this incident.
In his novel, Mr. Murugan had portrayed the life of guilt-driven childless couple in the backdrop of a “free, consensual sex ritual” held during the car festival of Arthanareeswarar temple in Tiruchengode.