Malayalam writer withdraws novel following threats

Sashi Tharoor

Thiruvananthapuram, July 21 (IANS) A few days after Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor warned about the emergence of a Hindu Taliban promoted by right-wing outfits, a Kerala Sahitya Akademi award winning writer has withdrawn his novel, serialised by a leading vernacular magazine, after receiving threats from suspected right-wing activists.

A top official of the Mathrubhumi Weekly told IANS that the novel “Meesha” (Moustache) written by this year’s award winner S.Hareesh, and serialised in the past two weeks in the weekly, has been withdrawn.

“It was done at his request. I am deeply angry as when similar things happened in our neighbouring states, there was a lot of anger shown here by many people in Kerala, but today, no one is speaking a word after this has happened,” said the official who preferred not to be identified.

Hareesh said that it all started in his Facebook page with suspected right wing activists saying the novel was an “insult” to Hinduism. He also told a Malayalam TV channel that he is unable to and too weak to take on the people as threats have started to come against him and his family.

Fearing more onslaught, Hareesh has closed down his Facebook account.

What appears to have attracted the ire of the right-wing, is a conversation between two characters in the novel, where they suggest that women who go to the temples are subconsciously making a declaration that they are ready for a sexual relationship.

The character also says that women, when they fail to turn up in the temple for four or five days in a month, are not ready for it on those days.

Reacting to the development, Tharoor, in a tweet, said: “Those who do not believe my warnings about the emergence of a Hindutva Taliban might learn from what has just happened to Malayalam writer Hareesh (& even more chilling, the threat to chop off his hands, Taliban-style).”

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