Popular Tamil novelist R N Joe D’Cruz finds himself “facing threats” and “hate mails” after he expressed his support for BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, hailing his Gujarat regime as “a visionary government”.
There had been a lot of opposition, threat and blackmail after he posted his pro-Modi views a few days ago on Facebook, Joe, a Sahitya Akademi award recipient and a champion of the cause of fishermen, told PTI.
On the reaction in literary circles, he alleged “certain people blackmail. Others threaten that my literary work that are currently getting translated will be in trouble. For instance, a translation of ‘Aazhi Soozh Ulagu,’ which is under the process of publication in English will be halted, they say. Some have sent hate mails that shower abuses.”
However, Joe is unfazed by such opposition. “My decision to support Modi is whole-hearted,” he said.
Asked if his support to Modi, accused of not doing much to contain Gujarat riots, would not be viewed as anti-minorities, he said, “I have travelled far and wide and understand socio-political and economic realities in our country. So far, all those who have been in power have only displayed a selfish attitude and lack of doable ideas to solve people’s problems.”
The development in Gujarat was actually propelled by “pragmatism” and the practical approach became “easy” owing to a real understanding of issues and workable solutions, Joe, who hails from a community of traditional fishermen, said.
“All other regimes failed to do this. More particularly, there you have a visionary government that truly cares for the common man,” said Joe, whose novel “Korkai”, an account of a 100-year history of fishermen, won the Sahitya Akademi award for 2013.
His earlier novel novel “Aazhi Soozh Ulagu” received the state government’s best novel award in 2005.
He has also done documentary films and all his creative works deal mostly with the lives and sufferings of Tamil fishermen. He also penned dialogues for actor Dhanush starrer “Maryan,” a film directed by Bharat Bala.
To a question about basing his support for Modi on Gujarat’s growth alone, Joe said, “Not only that…I am one among millions of Indians who would love to see a strong and visionary leadership. I do not think there is any one else except Modi who fits the bill.”
On what he expected Modi to do for fishing communities, the writer recalled the Gujarat Chief Minister’s visit to Nagercoil in 2009 when he spoke on the importance of bringing systemic improvements like use of GPS to identify availability of fish.
“He understands coast, coastal life and sufferings of fishermen. I am confident, he will honour and improve the living conditions of fishermen who are unpaid guards of our lengthy coastline,”
“No past government has done anything meaningful for them. Modi understands their travails. He hails from a coastal State and has humble background. I am confident. He is committed to bring a change and will deliver tangible results.”
On what he wanted to tell those who opposed him for offering support to Modi, he said such people who claim to be progressive were actually masquerading.
“They are in fact conservative and reactionary in their outlook. It is my right to support anyone. My heart and soul is always for the coast and Modi will bring justice to coastal communities that have been wronged by the rulers.”