They say India is a free and a democratic country. But how far is this statement true? Try saying something against cows or Kashmir or even Modi and you would know the truth. The response can be anything from stern looks that can mentally kill you or literal lynching that would send you to hell (because cows are religious!). You can speak freely if you are either a minister or have special contacts across the parliament. There are plenty of cases that prove this statement and I would be talking about one of them which was extremely prominent and involved the Madras High Court.
I have written a poem on one of the most prominent cases that revolved around the book called One Part Woman or Mathurobhagan by Perumal Murugan.
Here is the poem-
The Silenced Writer
This is the case of religion,
That included a massive legion!
It talks about a book called Mathorubhagan or One part woman,
Written by a Tamil scholar named Perumal Murugan!
The book is about a couple without a child,
And all their efforts to have one- Strong and mild!
When all their efforts and all their techniques went in vain,
Their family suggested a tradition for the gain!
In a temple of Ardhanareeshwar or half man,
The wife was sent with a plan!
There was a ritual called Niyog,
Which allowed random strangers to have Sambhog.
The child was considered as God’s boon,
And the stranger and woman were separated soon!
This is how the book portrayed the couple’s life,
But some people got offended and put out their knife.
They said this hurt them and women were defamed,
For this the author is to be blamed!
Protests took place all over the state,
People gathered out of his house’s gate!
Police got involved and summoned a peace talk,
The talk demanded an apology and the book’s block!
Supporters filed litigation to the high court,
Now the matter was at the legal port!
The court proceedings took a year,
While the writer in him shed tear by tear!
Finally, the fight was concluded,
All the confusion was uprooted!
The court upheld the rights of the author,
And dismissed the pleas of literary slaughter!
The work was appreciated and praised,
A clear path was shown to the dazed.
The court said “If you don’t like a book, throw it away!”,
That is how the freedom of speech and expression won the day!
The author was accused of many crimes such as Blasphemy, sedition, defamation, obscenity, portrayal of women in a derogatory manner, and disturbing public tranquility. The book was published in 2010 but there was no uproar until December 2014. For the book he wrote, people protested and threw stones at him. He had to go through a period of prolonged torture for the same. His case was finally taken to the Madras High court where he got justice.
Please note that this is a brief and a creative perspective on presenting the facts and the events that happened in the case. I have researched about it extensively and presented on it for my assignment in press laws and ethics subject. Therefore, if you happen to be interested in the legal angle of the case or just want to know about it in detail, please comment or get in touch with me. Feedback and comments are highly appreciated and awaited!
Thanks for reading and always keep smiling! 😀
References – The Hindu
Perumal Murugan vs the state of Tamil Nadu ( full case file).