Hyderabad: “I don’t know if I believe in god or not; but I question the need to worship or believe in god,” said controversial writer Perumal Murugan, whose novel, ‘Poonachi’, was soft launched on the final day of Hyderabad Literary Festival on Sunday.
The book will be released on February 20 and revolves around Poonachi, a black female goat who is orphaned. Murugan, who had gone on a self-imposed exile, said that he had to zero in on an animal as a protagonist due to the intolerance shown by humans and also to express solidarity with the animal world which is bearing the brunt of the human plunder of natural resources.
Murugan was part of the panel discussion on ‘Extraordinary Stories of Everyday Lives’. When asked about the repercussions he had to face for writing about the rituals of communities, he replied, “This is a problem that regional authors will have to face. A lot of foreign literature focuses on generic issues. However, in India, there is a different story everywhere.”
The writer also said that the new book helped him come out of the writer’s block.
Kannan Sundaram, a publisher who was also a part of the discussion, said, “Perumal Murugan had to go into exile because it was not just a threat that he would be killed but it was a fact. The man who had filmed a video threatening to kill him is responsible for the murder of a Dalit couple. The intolerance has entered literature.” Perumal Murugan added, “We promote a mark-based education and remove any controversial or debatable topics from the curriculum. We should encourage debates and make students sensitive.”