The decision has drawn flak as Vairamuthu has faced a slew of allegations of sexual harassment from many women, including singer Chinmayi.

KR Meera Adoor Gopalakrishnan
news Controversy Friday, May 28, 2021 - 09:56

Noted Malayalam writer KR Meera has come out slamming filmmaker and Chairman of ONV Cultural Academy Adoor Gopalakrishnan, over his ‘justification’ for conferring the ONV Literary Award to Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu. The decision has drawn flak as Vairamuthu has faced a slew of allegations of sexual harassment from many women, including singer Chinmayi. Adoor Gopalakrishnan in an interview to The Cue stated that one’s virtue or behaviour cannot be considered while giving the award. “The award is given for excellence in writing. In that case, a special award should be given for character,” Adoor had said. “My personal opinion is that awards should not be decided on the basis of character. As chairman of the Cultural Society, I do not interfere in the decisions of the jury,” he said.

Reacting to this, KR Meera stated that she strongly expressed her dissent on Adoor’s statement that “one’s virtue of character is not looked into while giving an award”. Taking to social media, Meera wrote, “For the ONV Kurup I know, virtue of character was very important. During a time when poetry was believed to be in anarchy, ONV was a poet who proved that one can be a poet without being like that. He showed that poems encompassed the poet’s life and it reflected in his personality. Even in his poems and parables, he had noted not to include anything which will harm humanity. Even his enemies have not said that he has used a bad word against a woman. He has not kept people who faced such allegations close to him.”.

She also added that in the past, the ONV award was conferred to eminent poet Sugatha Kumari, winner of Sarasawati Samman award, to Jnanpith winners Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri and MT Vasudevan Nair and to noted writer M Leelavathy. “These writers are lamp lights of Malayalam,” Meera said. “Adoor Gopalakrishnan has stated that ‘then a special award should be given for a person’s character’. I am no one to correct Adoor Gopalakrishnan. But attacking women is not ‘lack of virtue of character’ as he says. It is a lack of humanity. I request (Adoor) to consider separate awards for art and humanity,” KR Meera added.

Singer Chinmayi Sripaada also expressed her astonishment at the decision. She wrote, “Mr. Vairamuthu gets the fifth ONV literary award instituted by the ONV Cultural Academy. Wow. Late Mr ONV Kurup would be proud.” Notably, the ONV Cultural Academy is headed by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan as its chief patron.

Read: WCC members Parvathy, Anjali, Geetu and Rima question ONV award to Vairamuthu

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