Right wing threats force writer to withdraw novel

Right wing threats force writer to withdraw novel

S Hareesh. Wikimedia Commons

Acclaimed Malayalam writer S Hareesh, under fire from Hindu right-wing outfits over "offensive" portions in a serialised novel, withdrew the novel on Saturday.

Hareesh has been facing social media abuse and threats in connection with a conversation between two characters in his novel Meesha (moustache) about women dressing up for their temple visits.

It is learnt that the writer informed editors of Mathrubhumi weekly – which has been serialising the novel – that he was withdrawing the novel following threats to him and his family.

The magazine had published three instalments of the novel which is set in Kerala about 50 years ago and traces life in a caste-ridden society.

The online hate had also spilled on to protests against the writer.

Kamalram Sajeev, an editor of the magazine, confirmed the writer's decision on Twitter.

"S.hareesh withdraws his novel ‘meesha’, literature is being mob lynched, darkest day in Kerala’s cultural history, lightless days to follow," he tweeted.

The 43-year-old writer from Kottayam is noted for his short stories. Meesha is his first novel.

Hareesh, employed in the revenue department, is the recipient of the 2016 Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for his story collection Adam.

Hareesh who was targeted in a series of abusive posts and threats of physical harm through social media also found immense support with many contending that the critics were pulling a conversation between two characters out of context to establish non-existent malice.

Thiruvananthapuram MP and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor traced the threats and subsequent withdrawal of the novel to the idea of Hindutva Taliban he had recently referred to and set off a controversy.

"Those who do not believe my warnings about the emergence of a Hindutva Taliban might learn from what has just happened to Malayalam writer Hareesh," he tweeted.


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