THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Sahitya Academy chairman Perumbadavam Sreedharan called on writers to purify the times, qualifying the present as a time during which, “fangs of communalism have started piercing through our soul.”
“When its (communalism’s) poison is polluting the air we breathe, only the purity of your soul can help change the situation,” he said to the young writers attending ‘Akshara Yuvatvam’, a literature workshop organised by Kerala State Youth Welfare Board as part of YEAR at PWD Rest House. His task was to inaugurate the session and introduce T D Ramakrishnan and V R Sudheesh, two writers of recent times, to the audience.
Perumbadavam said that language is neither words, grammar nor figures of speech, but the ideas and thoughts of a writer. “It is when a writer recognises his or her responsibility that language and thoughts turn into weapons, the writer’s tool. Then you will be able to turn your stories into a piece of literature and an uprising against the decayed state of affairs in the society,” he said.
The subject of intolerance was brought up again during the question and answer session. Shamsudeen, a participant who had come from Kottakkal, Malappuram, asked what Perumbadavam thought of Fascism and the writers choosing to return awards protesting against Fascism.
Perumbadavam replied that while he was not going to list the signs of Fascism, there was no doubt that everyone was experiencing it. He said that a section of the society would treat anyone who upheld opinions different from their own as enemies. He said that three lives have already been sacrificed in such an atmosphere.
Perumbadavam said that it was when the writers started returning their awards that the Indian conscience awakened. He called Tamil author Perumal Murugan’s decision to never write again following Fascist pressures, as the best form of protest.
Another participant rose up to ask why no writer protested when Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa got a folk singer arrested for writing songs against her government. Perumbadavam responded that he was yet to hear of the incident, and from that moment, he would start protesting against it.
Vandana Janaki Sathyan, a participant from Thrissur, proposed the vote of thanks. “I am very grateful that my poem was one of the many Malayalam works which have been recently translated into Arabic,” she said.