Joining issue with the raging controversy over a passage in the novel
by S. Hareesh and serialised in a Malayalam weekly (which has since been withdrawn), the Nair Service Society (NSS) has made it clear that freedom of expression should not hurt the religious sentiments of the people.

In a statement issued at the NSS headquarters at Perunna on Tuesday, G. Sukumaran Nair, general secretary, said the insulting reference to Hindu women in the novel was painful and offending.

Writers and artists, while expressing their creativity, should follow certain social etiquette since it was the community of admirers who generated relevance for a creative work.

“It is the responsibility of the writers to lead the social psyche in the right direction and not to create disruption in society,” Mr. Nair said.

The NSS chief alleged that in the novel the writer was questioning the intention of the temple-going Hindu women. It was not proper to insult communally any segment of society.

“Don’t think anything can be said about the Hindu women solely because they belong to a tolerant community,” Mr. Nair said.

“What would have happened if the author had talked about women from other communities in the same lines,” he asked.

Political gains

Those who have come in support of the writer were mostly making an effort to give a political twist to the issue or attempting to create an impression that they belong to the progressive segments of society, Mr. Nair said. “On the other hand, instead of handling the situation logically and intelligently, some are trying to exploit it only for making political gains and this will only make the situation more complex,” the NSS chief said.

He came down on the media house which instead of apologizing to the readers was trying to aggravate the situation through publishing and airing discussions and responses on the issue.

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