2 Jan, 2016
Early January, Tamil writer Perumal Murugan put up on his Facebook wall the first notice of a growing trend in India society. Pummelled to submission by caste groups who took exception to his treatment of social relations in his novel, Mathorubagan (One-part Woman), Murugan announced the death of his authorial self.
“Author Perumal Murugan is dead. He is no God. Hence, he will not resurrect. Hereafter, only P Murugan, a teacher, will live,” the post read. He announced the withdrawal of all his novels, short stories and poems and asked readers to burn their copies of his books. He appealed to caste, religious, political and other groups to end their protests. The writer, he reminded them, was dead. Leave him alone, he pleaded. A mute state administration had allowed voices of intolerance to successfully silence one of the most powerful writers in Tamil.
Murugan’s retreat into silence was a powerful indictment of the civil and political society that failed to stand up for the rights of a writer. In his protest lay a warning: The barbarians are due here.