Saffron outfits burn copies of Tamil novel, seek ban

The protesters claimed that the book portrays Lord Shiva and women devotees in a bad light.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Published:December 28, 2014 4:41 am

Nearly 50 people from right-wing outfits, headed by local BJP and RSS leaders, burnt copies of Tamil writer Perumal Murugan’s novel Mathorubagan, at Tiruchengode on Friday. The protesters claimed that the book portrays Lord Shiva and women devotees in a bad light.

They also filed a police complaint, demanding a ban on the 190-page book and the arrest of the publisher and author. However, it was unclear why the book, published in 2010, triggered protests now. Murugan, who has already approached the Namakkal police following alleged threat calls from right-wing outfits, said he had no clue why the book was being targeted four years after being published.

The author, a professor of Tamil at Namakkal Government Arts College, said it is unfortunate to face threats from people who have not even read the book fully. “Most of the threat calls were anonymous while all of them sounded abusive. As a writer, I would welcome any kind of criticism.

But burning copies of the book is really saddening. After all, what I have written is a fiction and like all my other works, the plot of Mathorubagan revolves around my native place, Tiruchengode, and its beliefs and myths,” he said.

Mathorubagan tells the story of Kali and his wife Ponna, and a conflict between them over attending a ritual for free and consensual sex on the last day of a 14-day long festival at the historic Kailasanathar temple in Tiruchengode. Kali tries to stop Ponna from attending the ritual meant for childless women. But Ponna goes missing.

Mathorubagan was translated and published in English by Penguin India titled “One Part Woman” in 2013. Kannan, publisher of Kalachuvadu, which brought out the book, said it does not defame any religion. “But people get hurt by many things including the narration of uncomfortable truths.

The Constitution does not safeguard anyone’s sentiments from getting hurt. Kalachuvadu will not withdraw Mathorubagan. We will not cease publishing his (Murugan’s) novels in print. We are prepared to fight this atrocity,” he said.

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  1. A
    Ajay Singh
    Mar 3, 2015 at 8:34 pm
    Time to burn the saffron outfits ... Long live TAMIL ...
  2. B
    Barka Farooki
    Dec 28, 2014 at 1:58 am
    Only in Nation of RSS (Republic of Satanic Society) in the name of RSS (Really Sad Souls). More to come people, stay warned. The shark has just smelled the blood!
  3. M
    Dec 28, 2014 at 2:01 am
    Freedom is the cornerstone of Indian life. Freedom to discuss and write one's ideas freely should be respected. One should read the unedited version of Mahabharat to see how complex human relationships have been conceived and immortalised through vivid characterisation. It's time we move from narrow interpretation of good and bad and define life within the narrow spectrum of ual ethics. Essentially human is both man (capable of using the mind) and animal (given to base instincts, with food, , shelter and possessions). So we should not view fiction within the narrow definition of satvic behaviour and reject unapproved behaviour. One of the main tenets of sanatana dharma is the ability and potential of the self to elevate himself through higher goals to realise one's true self, while having an option to degrade oneself by sucbing to base instincts. It's not upto political parties to proscribe actions as happens in proselytising religions where fatwas and commandments rule one's behaviour individually and collectively. We claim to be an evolved civilisation and need to raise the bar. How many literary works would we then ban? Shall we start way back or just recent ones, what about English novels freely available both on the net and in every railway station book vendors?
  4. V
    Vishnu Sharma
    Dec 28, 2014 at 5:01 am
    Will they( RSS_BJPpeople) ban and bun the"Kumarsambhavam"(Kalidas"s) too?