Perumal Murugan: How Madras High Court gave literature its one part freedom

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Perumal Murugan, the acclaimed Tamil author who wrote his literary obituary last year, has been resurrected.

Madras High Court, in a stinging judgment, upheld Murugan’s right to write and publish. An unequivocal observation of how popular societal perceptions cannot become a hindrance in expressing one’s mind is a timely intervention.

His controversial novel, Madhorubagan (One Part Woman) received biting criticism, especially from some local groups whose religious sentiments were apparently hurt. The part of the story that irked some readers goes thus: Kali and Ponna, a couple living near Tiruchengode (in Tamil Nadu’s Erode district), make several unsuccessful attempts to have a child for more than a decade. The couple then confronts the culturally accepted practice of having children through the woman’s (Ponna’s) sexual encounter with a stranger during a temple festival venerating Ardhanareshwara.

In an unprecedented turn of events, Ponna visits the festival in order to see their wish fulfilled.

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Author: Zafar Anjum

I am a writer based in Singapore.

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