Freedom of expression

Whatever happens, I will not give up writing: persecuted Tamil writer Puliyur Murugesan

Like Perumal Murugan before him, Murugesan is being persecuted and even physically attacked for ‘offending’ with his fiction.

Weeks after Perumal Murugan renounced his pen, yet another writer in Tamil Nadu has come under attack ­– literally so – for one of his short stories. Puliyur Murugesan’s latest short story collection Balachandran Endroru Peyar Enakkundu (I Have Another Name, Balachandran) would have gone unnoticed but for that one story which sparked a controversy.

Naan Yen Migai Alangaram Seithu Kolkiren? (Why Do I Overrreach Myself?) is a short story in the collection that deals with the travails of a transgender. Subramani, the protaganist of the story, is a transgender sexually abused by his father. Subramani is forcibly married off to a woman who has an illicit relationship with Subramani's father. The climax shows Subramani adorned like a fiery goddess with blood oozing from his mouth even as his father's penis lies severed, soaked in blood.

Intolerant response

Besides graphic descriptions of sexual abuse, the story also names the Goundar community, creating widespread furore among its members. It was the same community that went about threatening Perumal Murugan earlier, ultimately forcing him to relocate to Chennai.

Murugesan, who lives in Pasupathi Palayam in Karur district, says he was willing to talk it out to the community members. “Initially they had called up and said they wanted to hold talks with me," he said. "I was only too willing to do that. But some 25 people barged into my residence one morning and took me away to a forest area where I was beaten up for more than two hours. Earlier, copies of my story were distributed to over 1,000 people.”

The police, however, is yet to make an arrest after the attack last Wednesday. On the contrary, Murugesan – who is currently in a government hospital for treatment – has also had a case of obscenity slapped against him by the administration, for which he has been forced to apply for anticipatory bail. “Whatever happens, I will not give up writing,” he said, unlike Murugan. “Even this story was only about the plight of transgenders. I do not regret writing it.”

A history of violence

Neither Murugesan nor Murugan are isolated cases. In 2000, writer HG Rasool was forced to apologise for his poetry collection Mayilanji by a Jamaat. And K Senthil Mallar's book on rewriting the history of the Pandiyars was banned in 2013 by the Tamil Nadu government, with a case being filed against him on allegations of being anti-national.

About three years ago, writer Ma Mu Kannan's house was burnt and he was chased out of his village for a book he wrote that “hurt the sentiments” of a certain community. Author Durai Guna also faced a similar situation when he was asked to leave his village or “face dire consequences” for writing a book that contained “false information.”

The Tamil Nadu Progressive writers and artists association held a protest in support of Puliyur Murugesan in Chennai last week. Activists see the spurt in protests against writers in Tamil Nadu “as a strengthening of castiest forces” against the backdrop of a strong BJP government at the Centre.

“These incidents are worrying. There are going to be many more such incidents and writers will have to stand together to protest this,” says Su Venkatesan, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers’ association.

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Not just for experts: How videography is poised for a disruption

Digital solutions are making sure it’s easier than ever to express your creativity in moving images.

Where was the last time you saw art? Chances are on a screen, either on your phone or your computer. Stunning photography and intricate doodles are a frequent occurrence in the social feeds of many. That’s the defining feature of art in the 21st century - it fits in your pocket, pretty much everyone’s pocket. It is no more dictated by just a few elite players - renowned artists, museum curators, art critics, art fair promoters and powerful gallery owners. The digital age is spawning creators who choose to be defined by their creativity more than their skills. The negligible incubation time of digital art has enabled experimentation at staggering levels. Just a few minutes of browsing on the online art community, DeviantArt, is enough to gauge the scope of what digital art can achieve.

Sure enough, in the 21st century, entire creative industries are getting democratised like never before. Take photography, for example. Digital photography enabled everyone to capture a memory, and then convert it into personalised artwork with a plethora of editing options. Apps like Instagram reduced the learning curve even further with its set of filters that could lend character to even unremarkable snaps. Prisma further helped to make photos look like paintings, shaving off several more steps in the editing process. Now, yet another industry is showing similar signs of disruption – videography.

Once burdened by unreliable film, bulky cameras and prohibitive production costs, videography is now accessible to anyone with a smartphone and a decent Internet bandwidth. A lay person casually using social media today has so many video types and platforms to choose from - looping Vine videos, staccato Musical.lys, GIFs, Instagram stories, YouTube channels and many more. Videos are indeed fast emerging as the next front of expression online, and so are the digital solutions to support video creation.

One such example is Vizmato, an app which enables anyone with a smartphone to create professional-looking videos minus the learning curve required to master heavy, desktop software. It makes it easy to shoot 720p or 1080p HD videos with a choice of more than 40 visual effects. This fuss- free app is essentially like three apps built into one - a camcorder with live effects, a feature-rich video editor and a video sharing platform.

With Vizmato, the creative process starts at the shooting stage itself as it enables live application of themes and effects. Choose from hip hop, noir, haunted, vintage and many more.

The variety of filters available on Vizmato
The variety of filters available on Vizmato

Or you can simply choose to unleash your creativity at the editing stage; the possibilities are endless. Vizmato simplifies the core editing process by making it easier to apply cuts and join and reverse clips so your video can flow exactly the way you envisioned. Once the video is edited, you can use a variety of interesting effects to give your video that extra edge.

The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.
The RGB split, Inset and Fluidic effects.

You can even choose music and sound effects to go with your clip; there’s nothing like applause at the right moment, or a laugh track at the crack of the worst joke.

Or just annotated GIFs customised for each moment.

Vizmato is the latest offering from Global Delight, which builds cross-platform audio, video and photography applications. It is the Indian developer that created award-winning iPhone apps such as Camera Plus, Camera Plus Pro and the Boom series. Vizmato is an upgrade of its hugely popular app Game Your Video, one of the winners of the Macworld Best of Show 2012. The overhauled Vizmato, in essence, brings the Instagram functionality to videos. With instant themes, filters and effects at your disposal, you can feel like the director of a sci-fi film, horror movie or a romance drama, all within a single video clip. It even provides an in-built video-sharing platform, Popular, to which you can upload your creations and gain visibility and feedback.

Play

So, whether you’re into making the most interesting Vines or shooting your take on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You’, experience for yourself how Vizmato has made video creation addictively simple. Android users can download the app here and iOS users will have their version in January.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Vizmato and not by the Scroll editorial team.