NAMAKKAL: “Onslaught on the freedom of expression enjoyed by creative artists”, is how writers term the protests against Perumal Murugan’s novel ‘Madhorubhagan’.
The controversy, fuelled by Sangh Parivar organisations and certain caste groups, is about the portrayal of women and a particular ritual performed during the festival at the famous Arthanareeswarar temple in Thiruchengode.
Sangh Parivar organisations and caste outfits representing the Kongu Vellala Goundars organised a protest in Thiruchengode on Friday, when burnt copies of the novel, stirring a controversy across the State.
“Of late, vested interests are organising protests against books and films. It is a disturbing trend,” said K Chinnappa Bharathi, a noted novelist. “Madhorubhagan was published four years ago. I don’t understand why these groups are trying to create a controversy now,” he added.
He pointed out that several groups have objected to films like Kamal Haasan’s ‘Vishwaroopam’ and Vijay’s ‘Kaththi’ in the recent past.
Chinnappa Bharathi, who has penned several novels depicting the sorry state of the downtrodden, pointed out that he too had narrated the exploitative nature of certain people in the Kongu region.
P Velusamy, a Tamil scholar and researcher, echoed Chinnappa Bharathi’s views. “What Perumal Murugan has portrayed in his novel was in vogue several decades ago. It is understandably not practiced now. Why do these people raise their voice against the novel,” he wondered.
“Burning copies of the novel and trampling on the writer’s photographs is not a good trend. It is worrying,” he said.
Perumal Murugan, the novelist, crticised the protesters of shrinking themselves into the frame of a caste mentality. “I am ready to have a debate on whichever part of the novel they want to. But I don’t think anyone there (protesters) has got the patience and mindset to engage in a healthy debate. How can I engage them?” the writer said on his Facebook page.