ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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A Sari Story

In a polarised climate, a person’s name and attire can make a big difference, including between life and death.

On 29 March, in the Madurai Tamil edition of the Hindu, well-known progressive Tamil poet and author Abdul Hameed, who writes under the pen name Manushya Puthiran, described how he had found it difficult to rent a house in Chennai. The broker clarified to him that homeowners were refusing to rent him a flat not because Hameed was non-vegetarian, but because he was Muslim. “Since when did this attitude, that houses should not be rented to Muslims, take deep root in Tamil society?” he asked in an anguished voice.

Shocked at the discomfort people experienced when they learnt of his name, he asked why a mere name should evoke so much antipathy, particularly when nothing he had written could be construed as championing religion. On the contrary, he had come under attack from both Hindu and Muslim religious fundamentalists because of his public stands. In January 2013, for instance, B Kolappan reported in the Hindu that Manushya Puthiran was threatened by the Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath, a Muslim organisation, and others for criticising Saudi Arabia’s beheading of a Sri Lankan maid held guilty of smothering a child to death.

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Updated On : 28th Sep, 2017
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