Perumal Murugan: The author who's begging fans to burn his books after sex censorship row

The critically acclaimed Tamil author has implored publishers to stop selling his work, which explored caste and sexual politics in India

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The Independent Online

Perumal Murugan has implored his fans to burn their copies of his books after pro-caste groups forced him to quit writing.

The Indian author, who has been lauded as one of the finest writers in the Tamil language, controversially announced his decision to quit writing forever this week and told people to "leave him alone".

This comes after caste outfits took offense to his 2010 novel Madhorubhagan, which was set 100 years ago, and depicts the life of a poor couple who cannot have children. The wife, who is desperate for a child, takes part in a Hindu chariot festival where, on one night of the year, any man and woman can have extramarital sex with each other. Murugan also writes about the oppressive nature of the caste system, as well as the couple's community who are hell-bent on splitting them up.

In a Facebook post, the author wrote: "Perumal Murugan, the writer is dead. As he is no God, he is not going to resurrect himself. He also has no faith in rebirth. An ordinary teacher, he will live as P. Murugan. Leave him alone."

 

At a "peace meeting" on Monday, groups demanded Murugan offer an unconditional apology, delete the offensive sections and stop discussing "controversial subjects that hurt the sentiments of the people". He subsequently asked his publishers to stop printing and selling his books promising to reimburse the companies.

India has a strong history of banning "offensive material", including websites such as Vimeo. Books banned by the Indian subcontinent include Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses for insulting Islam, and Bertrand Russell's philosophical text Unarmed Victory, banned for discussing the Sino-Indian War, which India lost.  

 

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