news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30
Sameera Ahmed | The News Minute | February 25, 2015 | 07.50 pm IST A book and the aftermath of its effects uprooted an author’s family from his hometown. The man who was in the public eye ever since a sudden, unexplained hostile reaction began simmering against him over the storyline of his fictional book, “Madhorubagan’, has not publicly spoken ever since he wrote a public obituary announcing the death of the writer in him. However, after being summoned to the Madras High Court in response to a petition, Perumal Murugan recounted his version of what happened. A book that released in 2010, he in his detailed affidavit submitted to the court gave a detailed account of the voices of dissent against him ever since December 2014. “They were under the impression that in my novel I have defamed Tiruchengode town and the women folk and the community. I began to receive obnoxious calls on my mobile,” he explained in his affidavit. After a written police complaint was filed against him in Tiruchengode, he filed a formal complaint seeking police protection. “I saw photographs showing the burning of the copies of my novel and beating and kicking of my photograph with chappals…. I never anticipated such a response from my own native place” Soon after, despite a press statement making clear his intentions never to insult his own native town, he alleged that pages of the novel were taken out of context, photocopied and distributed. “Certain lines which can apparently appear offensive when read out of context were underlined” “I just did not know as to what I should do, ” he wrote explaining his anguish over the condemnatory meetings held against him . After the announcement of a proposed bandh, Perumal Murugan expressed his ‘sincere regret’ requesting for the bandh to be called off. He even says that he offered to remove the word Tiruchengode from the next edition of the book. The Namakkal ‘peace meeting’ Even as tensions increased, a meeting chair by District Revenue Officer in Namakaal along with Perumal Murugan and the opposition groups completely changed the sequence of events. Labelled a ‘peace meeting’, by the end of it, reports said that Perumal Murugan had agreed not only to delete controversial portions in his book, withdraw unsold copies from the market but also agreed to issue an unconditional apology. Explaining what transpired that day, Perumal Murugan states that he made it clear to the DRO that he had been ready to express his sincere regret. However , the DRO had responded stating that opposition groups demanded an unconditional apology. After an argument between his advocate Swaminthan and the DRO, a written statement was prepared using the expression ‘sincere regret’. However, the DRO told them to amend it to read as ‘unconditional apology’. “I did not have the heart to apologise” “I could see the large gathering at a distance in the veranda. I could sense the aggression in the air,” he wrote. After a phone discussion with his wife, he decided that the best option would be to apologise. The word ‘sincere regret’ was cut off, and ‘unconditional apology’ was included. However, he alleges that the DRO told him that a few more demands of the opposition groups would be added. When Swaminathan protested saying that the decision to agree to the demands was only to avoid a bandh ; a situation which had turned moot after the successful enforcement of the bandh, still the DRO remained insistent, he wrote. “At that stage I felt that having apologised , there was no point in resisting any further. “ “I told the DRO to rewrite whatever she wanted. Voicing his reasons for his public obituary as a writer, he wrote that it was the function of a writer to question social value and critique them. “I do not know who are all the persons who opposed me. They remain nameless and faceless. “ Not knowing how many more times he would have to succumb to outside forces; that after much introspection, he decided that he should stop writing. “Whether others believe in the death of Perumal Murugan as a writer or not, I believe in it. A writer cannot function under threat or fear” …. The author’s affidavit is to be treated as a petition by the court. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute

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