Tamil Nadu

Writers’ nightmare in Tamil Nadu

The remains of the books at Writer Ma.Mu. Kannan's hut that was torched by arsonists. File photo

The remains of the books at Writer Ma.Mu. Kannan's hut that was torched by arsonists. File photo  

Two writers in Pudukottai district face social boycott

Writer Ma. Mu. Kannan remained unperturbed when arsonists torched his hut and damaged his studio at Kothamangalam in Pudukottai district.

“But I could not bear the sight of my collection of books engulfed by fire. I collected them one by one and all these years I would have spent Rs. 3 lakh on them,” recalled Mr. Kannan, who has been living in Pudukottai since 2012. He has been ostracised by his villagers and is unable to return for over two years. 

In a few days after his second novel,  Kaana-inaavin Kanini, was released, villagers, offended by the book’s contents, went on the rampage.

“One could understand if I am targeted by outsiders. I am a victim of the fury of my own community,” explained Mr.Kannan, whose first novel Karuvattu Rattham was released in 2010.

The second book, based on real life experiences and draws its name from his daughters Kanini and Inaya, talks about the decadence of society, deep-seated sexual perversion and all round degradation in all walks of life. The story is narrated through two girls, who find that their dead father had stored his recollections in his computer.

“I have written only five per cent of what I have seen and experienced. The villagers might have feared that I will write about other things in the future,” he said. He was not able to rebuild his house because of the resistance from villagers.

 Only his mother continues to live where the hut once stood, hoping that his son would return and join her.

Another Tamil writer is also a victim of ostracisation in the district. For Durai Guna, a Dalit and member of the CPI(M), the situation has slightly improved after a court intervened. He has been living in Pudukottai since last year.

Mr.Guna’s family was subjected to social boycott and he was forced to leave Kulanthiranpattu village in Pudukottai district since caste-Hindus did not like what he had written in his 40-page novella  Oorar Varaintha Oviyam.

“Caste Hindus had directed my community to excommunicate me and my family. I was left with no option but to vacate the village,” said Mr. Guna. Even though a court directive came to his rescue and he could visit his village during Deepavali, the circumstances are not conducive to his stay there for long.

 “I remain an island as my community treats me like an alien,” said Mr. Guna, whose novel is about the predicament of a Dalit couple after their son and his friends thrash the priest of a temple of caste Hindus.

 They retaliate when the priest slaps Saatha Oomai, renamed as Jeeva Bharathi by a local Communist leader, for entering the temple and taking holy ash from the plate held by the priest. Unable to bring themselves to face the prospect of their son being humiliated in the local kangaroo court, the parents send him to the city and kill themselves by consuming poison.

 In the novel, the Communist party comes forward to intervene in favour of the Dalits. But they are not able to take the party’s support as their daily life depends on Caste Hindus,” said Mr. Guna.


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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:47:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/writers-nightmare-in-tamil-nadu/article6780011.ece

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