Move to grant ONV award to poet Vairamuthu kicks up a row
The latest announcement of the ONV Literary Award to Tamil poet and lyricist Vairamuthu has kicked up a row, with a number of actors, writers and ladies’s rights activists criticising the jury’s determination to confer the award on a individual going through a number of #MeToo allegations.
A supply from the ONV Cultural Academy informed The Puucho that the belief was probably to re-examine the choice. In 2018, after the worldwide #MeToo motion started, singer Chinmayi had come out with allegations of sexual harassment in opposition to Vairamuthu, following which 16 different ladies additionally levelled allegations in opposition to him.
The ONV award, instituted in reminiscence of poet O.N.V. Kurup, who handed away in 2016, is awarded to poets from Malayalam and different Indian languages. A jury comprising Malayalam University Vice Chancellor Anil Vallathol and poets Alankode Leelakrishnan and Prabha Varma selected Vairamuthu for the award this yr.
One of the primary reactions got here from actor Parvathy, who stated that call disrespected ONV’s reminiscence. “ONV sir is our pride. His contribution as a poet and lyricist is incomparable. How it has nourished our culture. Our hearts and minds have benefited through his body of work. This is exactly why it is of immense disrespect to give such an honour in his name to the one accused of sexual assault crimes. Seventeen women have come out with their stories. We don’t know how many more have been wronged,” she wrote on her Instagram web page.
The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC), a discussion board of ladies working within the Malayalam movie trade, condemned the choice to honour Vairamuthu with the award, which was previously awarded to eminent people like M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Sugathakumari , Mahakavi Akkitham and M. Leelavathy.
“The #MeToo movement has brought sweeping changes across the world with so many powerful perpetrators shown the door. It led to the widespread implementation of strict laws against workplace harassment including the PoSH Act 2013 in India. In this context, we urge the jury members of ONV Literary Awards to make choices that uphold the values and dignity associated with O.N.V. Kurup, rather than honour alleged perpetrators. Is art created through harassment and cruelty to co-workers worth being celebrated? Art should not be an excuse for abuse,” stated a assertion from the WCC.
Writer N.S. Madhavan additionally criticised the transfer and tweeted: “Adoor is so wrong when he said that the ONV award was given to Vairamuthu for his writing and not character. Remember 2018 Nobel for Literature was cancelled because there were #MeToo charges against the husband of a jury member. Be sensitive when you deal with arts, please”.
Writer K.R. Meera wrote that O.N.V. Kurup was a poet for whom high quality of character was additionally of paramount consideration. “He considered the poet’s life also to be part of poetry. He always made sure that his poems would not have even a word that goes against human dignity. Not even his detractors would claim that he has uttered a wrong word against any women. He has also kept away from those facing such allegations.”
Filmmaker Geetu Mohandas said that an award within the identify of considered one of Malayalam’s biggest literary determine shouldn’t go to a man accused by 17 ladies of sexual harassment. Filmmaker Anjali Menon tweeted that she was very disturbed to know that an alleged perpetrator has been chosen for the ONV Award.
Speaking to The Puucho, filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, chairman of the ONV Cultural Academy, stated the jury may need been unaware of the allegations in opposition to Vairamuthu.
“In normal course, the trust does not intervene in any jury decision. It does not seem that the jury was aware of these allegations. They might have considered only his writings while coming to a decision. Vairamuthu has already been informed about the award. The trust management committee will meet and arrive at a decision on this,” stated Mr. Gopalakrishnan.