Headline October 21, 2016/ ''' A SUITABLE NOVELIST : *SONGS OF A COWARD* '''



*PERUMAL MURUGAN CHRONICLED THE MOMENT* :  - .....''when I felt like a rat,  dazzled by the light, burrowing itself in to its hole'' :

!The Great Master, at his very, very best!.

It very much bears repeating, that some very dark currents run through ''One Part Woman'' which Penguin published in 2013. 

When describing the farming communities of  South India, Mr. Murugan is neither sentimental nor harsh; he describes it in the way an entomologist might describe an insect.

As a Ph.D. student, Mr. Murugan married a woman from a cast of potters, rather that his own higher landowning  caste, the Gounders.

His mother refused to attend the marriage, softening only when his wife bore her first child and moved to the village for six months. two decades later, Mr. Murugan's relatives still remind him, in subtle ways, that his wife will never be accepted.

It is notable that Mr. Murugan does not write with the expectation that  his work will change anything.

''I never had such big hopes,'' he said in an interview   glancing down and smiling. *Collective punishment*, he said, '' is part of the narrative. My primary purpose is to explore the experience of the person who undergoes that humiliation.'' 

Mr. Murugan  barely spoke as a child, which gave him a lot of time to observe.

His older brother was withdrawn from school after the ninth grade so he could help his father with the soda business, and became addicted to booting liquor sold in the same bottles. He killed himself at 42.

He became a writer, with a small but passionate following among Tamil intellectuals.

At night he would go to sleep besides his young son at 8 p.m. and then rise at midnight and write for two or three hours during the quietest hours of the night. Many of his colleagues at the government college, where he taught Tamil, were unaware that he wrote fiction, he said.

In clean, clear prose, he had produced five novels in the space of three years    - ''almost flawless novels,'' said  R. Sivapriya, senior editor at the digital  publishing house juggernaut,    which commissioned English translations of three of Mr. Murugan's short stories this year.

''He would train a microscope on one detail and tell that one story, and see the world through that one story,'' she said.
''There was a certain purity to him that won't be there now, I think. I think it will be a different writer.''

In December 2014, he returned from a writer;s retreat to his family's home in Namakkal to discover that he was the target of a  well-organized campaign.

Strangers called repeatedly to accuse him of slandering the  Gounder caste in  One Part Woman, which had been released in an English translation, and he tried earnestly to explain his motivation. 
The aggression built, culminating in a  book burning and a citywide strike.     
When a local official, the district revenue officer, summoned the author to a ''peace meeting''    in January, 2015, Mr. Murugan's editor tried to dissuade him from attending.

By the time Mr. Murugan emerged from the meeting, he had signed a document agreeing to withdraw all unsold copies of his books and delete the passage considered offensive.

During the meeting, the lawyer wrote later in the Hindu, a daily newspaper. ''I could see Perumal Murugan literally crumbling from within.''  he went home under police escort and posted a message on facebook:

''Perumal Murugan the writer is dead. As he is not 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.''

One beautiful recent Monday there in New Delhi. Mr. Murugan described a deep depression that followed,  during which he neither read nor wrote. 
It ended, he said in 2015, when he found himself at a friend's house, locked in a room stacked with books.

''With nothing to do I lay dazzled night and day,'' he said. 

''But as I ruminated over my existence, there came a certain instant when the silence gates were breached.  I began to write. I chronicled the moment when I felt like a rat, dazzled by the light, burrowing itself in to its hole.''

The result was a book of poetry that went on sale recently. titled:

*Kozhay in Paadalkal.*  or   ''Songs of a Coward '' .

With respectful dedication to the Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and..... Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' Standing Rock '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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