'Abused' Tamil author gets back to business

'Abused' Tamil author gets back to business

For the love of writing

'Abused' Tamil author gets back to business

He declared he won’t wield the pen again after facing insults and threats over his novel, but when Tamil writer Perumal Murugan returned to writing, he felt a “censor is seated inside” him.

 Twenty-one months after Murugan declared that he was dead as an author after his One Part Woman ran into trouble with Hindutva elements, he is back in the literary world with a collection of Tamil poems Kozhaiyin Padalgal (Songs of Coward).

 At the launch of his collection in Delhi on Monday, Murugan said, “A censor is seated inside me now. He is testing every word that is born within me. His constant caution that a word may be misunderstood so or it may be interpreted like this is a real bother. But I am unable to shake him off. If this is wrong,  let the Indian intellectual world forgive me.” 

Murugan had to leave his village following threats from caste groups over charges that he defamed their community in One Part Woman. He was made to apologise and withdraw the controversial parts in the novel, prompting him to take to Facebook saying, “Author Perumal Murugan is dead. He is no God. Hence, he will not be resurrected. Hereafter, only P Murugan, the teacher, will live.”

Recently, the Madras High Court while hearing a plea to prosecute Murugan and ban his book said, “The right to write is unhindered”.

 Referring to the verdict, he said the high court noted that Murugan should be able to write and advance the canvas of his writings.

“The last word of the verdict – write – sounds to me both as a command and benediction. The question of whether a word or a sentence in a judicial verdict should determine if I write or not remains in my mind. If a faceless force can put a full stop to writing, can’t a line in a judicial verdict bolster writing?” he said.

“To spell out what would be the nature of that change will require quiet and reflection. I need time to gather my creative energies. I am not a motor pump to draw water from the depths the moment it is switched on. I am more a pupa in a cocoon. It will require time to develop colourful wings. Please allow me the time to do so,” he said in a statement circulated at the venue.

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