“A Censor is Sitting in My Head”: The Censorship Trial of Perumal Murugan’s One Part Woman
This paper studies the Madras High Court trial of Perumal Murugan’s novel One Part Woman, focusing on issues of informal and formal censorship this trial invokes. It aims to reconstruct the events and unrest that led to the banning of this novel, and then analyses the rhetoric of the trial itself in order to demonstrate how the judiciary creates distinctions between formal and informal censorship, positing this difference as self-evident. An exploration of both the legal and literary implications of this censorship episode asks crucial questions about ideas of obscenity, literary merit and free speech for contemporary literature in India.
Keywords: Censorship, obscenity, court trial, One Part Woman, Perumal Murugan.
2. Bhatia, Gautam. “The fault in our speech”. The Hindu, July 2016.
3. Boyer, Dominic. “The Institutions, Practices, and Cultural Logic of Media Control in the German Democratic Republic”. Comparative Studies in Society and History, Vol. 45, 2003.
4. Chandran, Mini. The Writer, the Reader and the State: Literary Censorship in India. SAGE, 2017.
5. Chari, Mridula. “Writers condemn RSS burning of Tamil author Perumal Murugan’s book”. The Hindu, December 2014.
6. Das, Veena. Critical Events An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporary India. Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1991.
7. Doshi, Vidhi. “Indian judge rules novelist silenced by nationalist pressure ‘be resurrected’”. The Hindu, July 2016.
8. Gupta, Charu. Sexuality, Obscenity, Community. Palgrave, New York, 2001.
9. Heath, Deana. Purifying Empire. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010.
10. HuffPost Staff. “A Censor Is Sitting Inside Me Now”. HuffPost, August 2016.
11. Irschick, Eugene. Dialogue and History. University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1994.
12. Kannadasan, Akila. “Of desire, despair and hope”. The Hindu, January 2015.
13. Kaur, Raminder and William Mazzarella. Censorship in South Asia. Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2009.
14. Kolappan, B. “People are looking to settle scores with me: Perumal Murugan”. The Hindu, January 2015.
15. Lal, Amrith. “Tamil author Perumal Murugan announces his ‘death’ on Facebook over lack of freedom of speech”. The Indian Express, January 2015.
16. Murugan, Perumal. One Part Woman. Penguin Random House India, New Delhi, 2013.
17. Potter, Rachel. Obscene Modernism. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2013.
18. Murugan v. The Government of Tamil Nadu. Sanjay Kishan Kaul Murugan Judgement, 36, Madras High Court, 2016.
19. Venkatachalapathy, A.R. “In defence of the chronicler on Kongu”. The Hindu, January 2015.
Copyright (c) 2021 Anushmita Mohanty
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Before you submit your article, you must read our Copyright Notice.