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Perumal Murugan: 'Our society doesn't have the suitable angle in the direction of studying and fascinating with a guide'

Few writers have the form of journey that Perumal Murugan has had. Born right into a household of farmers...

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Perumal Murugan: 'Our society doesn't have the right attitude towards reading and engaging with a book'

Few writers have the form of journey that Perumal Murugan has had. Born right into a household of farmers within the Kongu Nadu area in western Tamil Nadu, he couldn’t have been additional faraway from literary pursuits. But the 53-year previous writer was drawn to writing from a really younger age. From an aunt in a close-by city who used to subscribe to weeklies, Murugan would entry studying materials that was exterior his schoolbooks. And he would additionally hearken to the radio. Growing up in a village allowed him to satisfy many individuals each day, from whom he would draw extra materials to jot down about. He even managed to ship his writings to the native radio channel that aired it as a part of their kids’s programme. Clearly, he was destined for a future past the fields.

Today, with six novels, 4 collections of quick tales and 4 anthologies of poetry in his folio, Murugan is just not solely an important voice in Tamil literature, but additionally a professor of the identical. However, of all of the issues he will need to have been ready for in his literary journey, the controversy surrounding his bestseller, One Part Woman (Madhorubhagan), proved an excessive amount of for the author in him to endure. The guide tells the story of a childless peasant couple and the way the spouse is cajoled by fellow villagers to enter right into a sexual union with a stranger to beget a baby, in keeping with a temple ritual. Set in a village near the Namakkal area, which is Murugan’s hometown, the novel spurred outrage 5 years after it was printed in 2010. In 2015, after being pressured to withdraw his guide by native proper wing activists, Murugan announced his “death” as an author on a Facebook put up. “Hereafter, only P Murugan, a teacher will live,” he wrote.

Perumal Murugan. Image by way of Facebook

Despite his promise to not resurrect, the writer and poet, a lot to the aid of his readers and followers, did so, following a verdict by the Madras High Court a year later, that upheld his proper to inventive freedom. It was a interval of 18 months, from the time he introduced he gained’t be writing once more until the court docket verdict. While Murugan, admittedly, isn’t solely over the trauma, he has returned to the pen with renewed confidence and in addition a brand new type. “The first three months [of my exile] I didn’t write anything, not even for myself. And then, I started writing poetry, which was not meant for publication at that point,” he instructed Firstpost. The in any other case reticent author has been attending literary festivals in India and overseas for 2 years now, and took part within the just-concluded Zee Jaipur Literature Festival 2019.

His first novel post-exile, Poonachi, Or The Story of A Black Goat, is already turning out to be a bestseller, and has been translated into eight languages. Caste and id politics type the essence of Murugan’s work, and this novel is just not being seen as an exception, though the author has maintained that it’s “just the story of a goat”. Having grown up in a farmer’s household, Murugan is aware of cows and goats solely too properly. In the present milieu, since cows are finest left untouched, the writer says he picked a goat to inform a narrative. As he started to finish his author’s exile, his phrases, nonetheless, got here out in verses initially. “I have been writing poetry for a long time and I see myself as a poet first. It’s a very personal form of expression for me, so, when times were hard, I naturally turned to poetry for solace,” Murugan stated. In the case of Poonachi although, he considered it as a brief story at first, however it saved rising from there. The author doesn’t wish to compartmentalise the poet and writer in him, despite the fact that, his poetry is all the time in first particular person, and his prose isn’t. “Sometimes when I am writing poetry, the prose writer in me intervenes, and while I write prose, the poet might have something to say. So it’s a fluid process,” he says.

If there’s one thing constructive that got here out of the controversy, it’s in the way it put Murugan on the worldwide literary map. Readers exterior Tamil Nadu have been accessing his work via translations and mainstream publishing homes proceed to be instrumental within the course of. Murugan, nonetheless, doesn’t agree with phrases as “regional” or “mainstream”. “One should call it Indian literature. Because if this is regional, what is mainstream?” He continues, “Publishers’ approach towards translations is healthy now as compared to how it was earlier. And it’s improving. Indian English publishers are showing a lot of interest in translated works of fiction and non-fiction.” What ought to a writer’s stance be, in instances of controversy, we ask. “They should always stand by the art,” Murugan says.

Unlike most of his counterparts, Murugan by no means worries about being misplaced in translation. He says, “When I have a plot in mind, only 50 percent of what I think is expressed in my actual writing, which for me is a great achievement. Now, when there is so much loss in that process, yes, there can be some loss in translation. But, it is not always loss in translation. There can also be gains in translation. Sometimes, my words can come out even better when translated. So, both possibilities are there, and that’s the reason why I don’t worry about losing anything in the process,” the author says.

He can be an avid reader of works of translations. “I am greatly influenced by writings in Bangla, Kannada and Russian, among others.” Post the controversy, he admits to have turn into extra cautious. “I don’t regret writing the book, but I felt sad that our society still doesn’t have the correct attitude towards reading and engaging with a book.” But having been pushed in a nook has taught him quite a bit and he’s pleased with the author that has emerged on the opposite aspect of it. This is just not a continuation of the erstwhile P Murugan. He tells us his subsequent guide will probably be about his mom. “I am trying to write in a new style. More than being conscious of censorship, my focus has now shifted towards how to overcome it. Censorship will be there, but I am trying to build on techniques to beat that challenge,” he indicators off.

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Updated Date: Feb 01, 2019 15:11:01 IST




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