Opinion: It has become a fashion to insult Hindu Gods and Hindus in the name of liberal writing in Kerala.
Kochi: Novelist S Hareesh had to withdraw his serial called Meesha (moustache) from being published in leading publication Mathrubhumi. And liberals have been running around like headless chicken claiming that this is a threat to freedom of expression.
The question: Why are liberal writers bent only on targeting practices in Hindu religion?
This is not to suggest that liberal writers must target all religions and Gods in the name of literature. Not long ago, the palm of a professor was cut because he dared to put a question on Muhammed. There were some muted protests in the name of liberal writing then.
Sample what Hareesh wrote in his novel Meesha:
A male character says that women who dress up to go to temples subconsciously declare readiness for sexual relations.
The character goes on to say that the reason women don’t visit temples for four to five days a month is to make it clear that they are not ready for sex on those days.
He adds that Brahmin priests were well known womanisers.
Little wonder that members of Gayathri, a socio-cultural organisation of Namboodiri Brahmins, marched to the office of Mathrubhumi.
Can he write the same lines on other religions too? Let the word temple be removed and another religious place be inserted. Will that be liberal literature as well? Left liberalism is nothing but insulting Gods, religions and sentiments of people.
Renowned critic M M Basheer, in September 2015, stopped his newspaper columns on the Ramayana which was published in Mathrubhumi. After promising the editor six columns, he had to stop at five because of a sustained campaign on the telephone by unnamed persons who upbraided him for writing on Rama when he was a Muslim.
This is clearly wrong. A Muslim has every right to write on Hindu gods provided there is no insult or things derogatory. In fact, some to the best lyrics on Krishna were penned by Yousaf Ali Kecheri.
In 2017, another Left leaning poet Pavithran Theekkuni was forced to withdraw a poem on purdah (veil) from the Facebook allegedly following threats from fundamentalists. Those who advocated freedom of expression in the name of liberalism had nothing much to say.
It is okay if a movie is called Sexy Durga because Hindus are not a force to reckon with when it comes to vote bank. But when the same sexy title was given to the god of another religion, the government stepped in. Where were the liberals then?
It is okay to use discrimination as a tool for temple entry for women. Why not entry for women in other places of worship? Why should priests be only men, why not women? Why should only men lead religious congregations, why now women? Such questions are unending. We need to draw a line somewhere.
Leave Gods and religion alone. If sentiments of a particular group or religion are targeted, it would be foolish and naïve not to expect a backlash. There is a saying: Your freedom ends where my nose begins. Well, now words too can cause hurt. Hence, freedom of expression must end where my sentiments begin.
This is not particular just to India. Why invite trouble?