Published: 26th November 2018
Why the TN Writers' Association is up in arms against H Raja's tweet about Tiruchy college event
The college was organising an international conference about the gender imbalances as portrayed in Tamil literature and Raja claimed the event could lead to 'communal tension'
The Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association (TNPWAA) has condemned the comments made by BJP's H Raja and TN Minister Ma Foi K Pandiarajan against a literary event scheduled to be held at a Tiruchy college. St Joseph's College had organised a conference to discuss the violence against women as portrayed in Tamil literature and had invited paper presentations on the subject from other colleges as well.
The international conference was to be held on December 6 and 7and conducted by the Tamil department of the college. The theme - ‘Harassment of women as registered in Tamil literature’ was picked to provide a platform for the discussion of how women who were being abused were depicted in Tamil literature. They believed that such a discussion would help find solutions to how to tackle the crimes against women happening today.
இது கிறித்தவ St. ஜோசஃப் கல்லூரி தமிழ் மொழி மற்றும் இந்து மதத்திற்கு எதிராக அறிவித்துள்ள போர். இதை எதிர் கொள்ள தயாராவோம். pic.twitter.com/6R9IdQxqHV— H Raja (@HRajaBJP) November 24, 2018
However, this did not sit well with the popular BJP leader who claimed the event was being organised by Christian missionaries and urban naxals to spread communal tension. Pandiarajan has also called for the banning of the 'slanderous' event saying that there were numerous Tamil books that glorify women and Tamil culture and that a 'poisonous' idea that Tamil literature demeaned women should not be allowed to be sown.
Speaking about the incident, one of the members of Tamilnadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association said that just by destroying the platform that allows such discussion, doesn't mean that crimes against women will automatically disappear. "Times are changing, perceptions are changing and in the last 2000 years how we perceive women has changed drastically. So now to be against this sort of event and to be against the freedom of expression is very wrong," he said.
TN Govt will intervene with the College concerned and ensure this derogatory & slanderous seminar does not happen ! பெண்களை மகிமைப் படுத்தும் எண்ணற்ற இலக்கியப்படைப்புகள் தமிழில் நிறைந்து நிற்கையில், தமிழ்ப்பண்பாடு பெண்களை தாழ்த்தி வைத்தது என்ற நஞ்சுக் கருத்தினை பதிய விடக்கூடாது !— Pandiarajan K (@mafoikprajan) November 24, 2018
"If you throw sand over a septic tank to cover it, that doesn't mean the dirt gets cleaned. You have to wash it completely for it to be cleaned. The same applies here, we can try and bury that fact that women faced harassment and discrimination in the past and continue to do so but that doesn't mean that those problems disappear. We have the right to express what we think and what we feel, it is highly condemnable that people are suggesting that the event should be banned," he added.
The college has announced that the event has been postponed, when asked for the reason, they claim it is for relief work for Gaja. However, many activists and academics are of the belief that it is the consequence of the ministers' comments.