Seems the antipathy and intolerance of the Sangh Parivar organizations toward Tamil writer Perumal Murugan are far from over despite the fact that he stopped writing and withdrew his novel Madhorubagan, following objections raised by ultra Hindutva groups, some months ago. Though there was no confirmation from the Sahitya Akademi, that it was considering Madhorubagan for an award, fire brand politician and BJP national secretary H Raja, came out in the open, expressing serious reservations against giving an Akademi award to the novel which ‘hurt’ the sentiments of the Hindus in Tamil Nadu. Interestingly, his objections have appeared at a time when writers across the country are forging a united platform against the Akademi for its silence over the growing intolerance in the country, and the government’s efforts to curb freedom of speech.
“Madhorubagan has been removed from circulation following severe objections raised by Hindu community. Recommending it for an award is raising doubts over the dominant presence of Nehruvian-Left intellectuals in the Akademi,” said Raja in Trichy, a few days back.
Though right-wing Hindu groups, and some caste associations had carried on a campaign against the book, saying it hurt religious sentiments, BJP has officially kept a mum over the issue, so far. After a meeting with protesting organizations, Perumal Murugan publicly announced that he would stop writing. He even moved from his native Thiruchengodu to Chennai, fearing attacks.
But many in Tamil Nadu believe Raja was raising a nonissue, with ulterior motives. Writer Krishnasamy Natchimuthu, member of the Sahitya Akademi executive board representing Tamil, exposed Raja’s claim after it created a controversy. `As far as the Akademi is concerned, process of selecting a book for an award is confidential. Right from the selection of books to nomination of members of the jury, I have not come across any such announcement as claimed by H Raja. But I personally feel ‘Mathorubagan’ is a wonderful book and there is nothing wrong in it getting the Sahitya Akademi award,” he said.
Raja, with his comments, may be adding insult to injury, and that too in a social atmosphere vitiated by communal polarizations.