Aniruddhan Vasudevan, the writer who translated Perumal Murugan’s Tamil novel Madhorubagan into English on Monday declined the Sahitya Akademi Translation Prize, 2016.
Madhorubagan, translated into English as One Part Woman, is the story of a couple from Tiruchengode city in Tamil Nadu who face social discrimination due to their inability to bear a child. The novel had led to outrage from Hindutva groups in 2014. A number of cases were filed in the Madras High Court, but the court quashed them in 2016.
In 2016, when the Sahitya Akademi announced the award to Vasudevan for the English translation of Perumal’s book, opponents filed a plea in the Madras High Court. The court allowed the award ceremony to go ahead, but imposed a stay on the prize for English translation, until further notice.
Kannan Sundaram, of Kalachuvadu Publications, which published Madhorubagan, told The News Minute on Wednesday that Vasudevan did not want to fight a legal battle. “He also does not want eminent writers like Githa Hariharan, K Satchidanandan [who were the jury for the award] and others being scrutinised.”
“He sees this [the case against the prize] as part of the ongoing problem of hounding Perumal Murugan, and does not want to be a part of it,” Sundaram added.