Even as the unprecedented floods wreak havoc in Kerala, controversies have broken out time and again, and the latest involves a concerted campaign against poet and DMK sympathiser Manushyaputhiran.
Social media saw several people associating the deluge in Kerala to the possibility of women being allowed entry into Sabarimala – a complex, decades-long case pending before the Supreme Court of India.
Prominent social media accounts, such as that of non-official RBI director S Gurumurthy, even called upon the apex court to investigate a possible ‘link’ between the two.
Manushyaputhiran wrote a poem, titled ‘Devi’, slamming this link; however, BJP National Secretary H Raja took offense, labelled him a ‘Muslim fanatic’ and called for his arrest.
The author alleged that he has received several threats since H Raja tweeted asking people to report him. On Monday, he filed a complaint against H Raja for instigating violence against him.
Speaking to TNM, Manushyaputhiran says, “I posted this poem on social media on Saturday, following which H Raja has called for my arrest. He is claiming that I have written against the Hindu culture, but this not true. I was only glorifying womanhood.”
He adds, “H Raja has taken to Twitter and asked all BJP supporters to file complaints against me in police stations across the state. Not only this, my number has been widely shared and I have been getting threats continuously. They are threatening to kill me and other bodily harm. I have received abusive messages as well. I met the Commissioner of Police, submitted call records and messages that I was getting with threats to harm me. I only gave him two hours worth of data. And it came up to 8 pages.”
The poet says that his verses were aimed at questioning those who were linking the floods in Kerala to allowing women to enter the Sabarimala temple.
"But H Raja has made this communal and about a Muslim writing against the Hindu religion. He is trying to settle past scores because I questioned him on his stand on the Andal controversy concerning poet Vairamuthu," says Manushyaputhiran.
"If this continues writers and poets here will face the same fate as a Kalburgi or Gauri Lankesh," he adds.
Support for Manushyaputhiran
Meanwhile, poets and writers in the state have been rallying around Manushyaputhiran and have demanded that H Raja be arrested for shaming a woman's natural body process.
"This is an attack by the right wing on an individual's freedom of expression," says senior journalist Kavitha Muralidharan. "It would be wise for the BJP to remain silent on this matter. They are spoiling whatever chances they have in Tamil Nadu and digging their own grave.”
Authors Suba Veerapandian and Perumal Murugan have also spoken out in support of Manushyaputhiran, calling for the arrest of Raja.
Is your menstrual blood
Capable of creating frightful times?
Can it create and destroy towns and cities?
Can it drown temples and Gods in water?
Can it destroy paths, hide ways, can it create islands?
Is your menstrual blood powerful enough to transform land into ocean, ocean into a country?
That’s what they are claiming it does.
That it is the unstoppable dance of nature’s terror, that it cannot be stopped by dam.
They fear your one drop of menstrual blood.
lives are born out of your blood
lives seek shelter in your blood.
They said your menstrual blood is impure,
That it is untouchable
The flood of your menstrual blood is wiping clean all the impurities on this land.
We don’t want such purity
Devi, please rest awhile
This is time for mercy.”
(With inputs from Priyanka Thirumurthy and Anjana Shekar)