DC Books publishes Malayalam novel 'Meesha'

DC Books publishes Malayalam novel 'Meesha'

The cover of the novel 'Meesha'.

Ten days after Malayalam writer S Hareesh withdrew his serialised novel 'Meesha' following protests by Hindutva outfits, DC Books has now published the novel.

The Kottayam-based publishing house said the writer had approached DC, which has published his earlier works as well. Other publishing groups had shown interest in the novel.

Hareesh withdrew Meesha (moustache), serialised in 'Mathrubhumi' weekly, on July 21 following social media abuse and threats, especially by Sangh Parivar supporters, over a conversation two characters have in the novel about women dressing up for their temple visits.

The magazine had published three instalments of the novel which is set in Kerala about 50 years ago and traces life in the caste-ridden society of the time. Protests were also held against the novel and the weekly, for offending Hindu women and their traditions, even as the online bullying continued.

The 43-year-old writer from Kottayam and his family have been targeted over social media. But Hareesh did find extensive support, including from eminent writers and senior political leaders. CPM veteran and former chief minister V S Achuthanandan was among the supporters who urged Hareesh to reconsider his decision to withdraw the novel.

“If Meesha is not published now, we could end up in a situation where it’s impossible to publish a story or novel in Malayalam. We could end up seeking permission of many before we publish works of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, VKN, Changampuzha, V T Bhattathirippad or the writers of this generation,” DC Books said in a statement on Tuesday.

'Meesha' is the first novel by Hareesh who is noted for his short stories. He is a recipient of the 2016 Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for his story collection 'Adam'.