Last year, I wrote a post highlighting the plight of Indian author Perumal Murugan, who had been deemed to have committed that gravest of crimes, “hurting religious sentiments”, and who had been compelled, as a consequence, to announce that he would henceforth desist from hurting religious sentiments further by the simple expedient of ending his literary career.
Well, there’s some good news on this front. The Madras High Court recently quashed a criminal case against Murugan; dismissed a plea moved by residents of his home town to initiate further criminal action against him; and held that Murugan’s public promise to write no more is not legally binding.
All of this is most welcome, of course, and a good reason for rejoicing. But it remains nothing short of a national scandal that, in a free and democratic country, an author could end up in court in the first place for “hurting sentiments”. And I wish I had confidence that Mr Murugan will not be further harassed by those whose sentiments have been so badly hurt.