A scheduled visit by noted Tamil poet, lyricist and novelist Vairamuthu to Malaysia next week has run into problems with Malaysian Hindus opposing it.
The Tamil lyricist will be launching his new book Tamizhatrupadai in Kuala Lumpur at the Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) venue on 3 December.
Vairamuthu has already been caught in a couple of controversies in India. First, he made an objectionable speech against Andal Naachiyar, the only female among the 12 Alwar saints of South India, in January last year.
In October last year, popular singer and dubbing artist Chinmayi Sripada accused Vairamuthu of sexual misconduct not only with her but with a few other women too.
The Tamil lyricist is very close to the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its leaders. In particular, Vairamuthu had been close to late M Karunanidhi and now his son and party president M K Stalin.
The Malaysia Hindudharma Maamandram (Malaysia Hindu Dharma Forum) has urged MIC to not host the event at its venue.
The forum also warned that if Vairamuthu didn’t apologise for his remarks on Andal Naachiyar, then it would hold “protests again".
In particular, the forum said Vairamuthu’s comments had hurt the feelings of the Hindus. Malaysian Hindu non-governmental organisations have also lodged a protest with their government against the Tamil lyricist’s visit to their country.
Last week, the forum had protested against the visit of Dravidar Kazhagam general secretary K Veeramani in connection with the screening of the Tamil film Periyar. The programme was cancelled subsequently after the forum appealed to the Malaysian government.
Tamils make up about three million of Malaysia’s population with those of Indian origin making up the large sub-ethnic group in that country.
But Tamils in Malaysia are divided between two camps of Indian and Sri Lankan origins. On top of this, there are caste divisions too. There are a few Malaysian Tamils who call them “poralis” (fighters) claiming to oppose casteism and supporting Dravidianism.
Malaysian Tamils say they don’t support Dravidian leaders such as K Veeramani or DMK president M K Stalin or pseudo-Tamil leaders like Seeman and Thirumurugan Gandhi.
Following the Andal controversy, Vairamuthu only expressed regret if his comments had hurt anyone rather than tendering an apology. He said he had only quoted a sentence from research done by Indiana University in the US. He also said that it was not his view.
Vairamuthu has, however, tried to elude the sexual harassment allegations against him. Initially, he said the charges made against him were ‘false’ and he would move the court against those who had accused him of misbehaving with the women.
A couple of days later, he took to social media to say he wouldn’t bother about the falsehood spread against him. He said it had become “a culture to defame popular personalities”.
Unfortunately for Chinmayi and the women who complained of the harassment, the Tamil film world didn’t bother to listen to any of the #Metoo complaints of sexual misbehaviour.
Of late, Malaysian Hindus have upped the ante against those who speak against the religion and its Gods. They have been pointing out at the Constitution, which calls for belief in God and in achieving a more perfect unity amongst the whole society.
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