Leave a comment

Who is S. Hareesh?

(From The Hindu. Link to the complete article given below)

As Kerala’s paddy-rich Kuttanad reels under its worst flood in recent times, the region’s most promising storyteller is fighting a deluge of religious hate. Award-winning writer S. Hareesh, whose stories are imbued with an undertone of caste and politics at play in daily life, withdrew his debut novel, Meesha (Moustache), barely into its third instalment in the Mathrubhumi weekly, after some right-wing groups did not take kindly to a “misrepresented” fragment in it. On Wednesday, the novel was published by DC Books, the premier imprint in Malayalam, with 5,000 copies selling out. That did not pass off uneventfully though, as copies were burnt in Thiruvananthapuram. The case has reached the Supreme Court, too; on Thursday, it asked counsel for the petitioner to produce within five days the English translation of the “objectionable” portions.

Why the controversy?

A conversation between two characters on the intent of upper caste women visiting temples in the narrative set in the feudal Kerala of yore was taken out of context and circulated on social media, imputing it to the author. A vilification campaign ensued, as Hindutva organisations and caste groups trained their ire on Mathrubhumi and the writer for “maligning Hindu women and temple priests.” In the face of threats and online abuse, also targeting their parents and young children, Mr. Hareesh and his wife shut down their social media accounts and switched off phones.

Read more at The Hindu link here

Advertisements


Leave a comment

‘It is not just art but an act of protest’

By Latha Anantharaman

Novelist Ambikasutan Mangad on why he joined the fight for justice for victims of endosulfan

Ambikasutan Mangad, professor of Malayalam at Nehru Arts and Science College, Kanhangad, is a novelist and writer of short stories. In his Malayalam novel Enmakaje (2009), a couple who retreat from their sorrows to an isolated paradise are drawn back into a community’s desperate struggle against the pesticides that have poisoned their water and land. As we read, we realise the photos and reports we see in the papers about the impact of endosulfan are only those that the public can “stand” to see. The novel has now appeared in an English translation by J. Devika as Swarga, and, in a phone conversation, the writer gently steers away from his own art and mythmaking to the daily nightmare of Enmakaje village. Excerpts:

In writing this novel, did you consider yourself more an activist than an artist?

In 2001, I became involved in the anti-endosulfan protest. I wrote a story, Panchuruli, which appeared in Mathrubhumi in 2002, about pesticides and their harmful effects. I became chairman of the Endosulfan Viruddha Samaram Samithi. Between 2003 and 2017, I have written 45 essays and protested about medical treatment for victims and about compensation. So, in this matter, I am an activist.

On the other hand, I am a writer. I question myself about writing a novel on this subject. Read more

Source: The Hindu