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VS turns a 'burden'; Kerala writer wants his novel on Communist veteran burnt

  • P Surendran said he wants to forget and forgo the novel on VS Achuthanandan and get out of its shadow.
  • The novel was a mistake. It should not be considered as part of his literary career, Surendran said.
Kerala writer wants his novel burnt
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We've heard a lot about publishers pulling books off the shelves for reasons varying from plagiarism to threats from extremists. But eminent Malayalam writer and Sahitya Akademi Award winner P Surendran wants to dump all the rights and claims over his novel Greeshmamaapini with Communist veteran VS Achuthanandan as the central character. He even requests those who possess a copy to burn and destroy it so that it leaves no trace behind. 


“I abandon all my rights to the novel, except the right not to bring out a new edition of it,” Surendran told Asianet Newsable over the phone. 


"Humans make mistakes. I am correcting my mistake before it's too late, which is well within my right,” he said.  “I will not make any claims on that novel again. I request those who bought a copy to burn it. However,it is their freedom to keep it or dump it. Anyway, please do not consider the novel as part of my literary life anymore," Surendran said. 


The novel, published by the DeeCee books, is in its third edition when Surendran surprised all by disowning the work. The central character, CK, an ardent Communist, very much resembled former Chief Minister VS Achuthahanandan. 'VS becomes a novel,' the publishers claimed prominently on the cover of the novel first published in 2010. "I had written to the DeeCee books that I don't want to publish a fresh edition of the novel."


“I want to wriggle out of the shadow of VS and the novel,”  Surendran said. “It has become a burden to me. I can’t withdraw the novel, I know. That is why I have decided to disown it. That is my repentance,” he added. 

Surendran now regrets that the unique narration and the craft of the novel were overshadowed by the parallels drawn with the life of Achuthanandan.  The narrative weaved around telephone conversations and public speeches and was a first of its kind experimentation in Malayalam literature. But the readings of the novel was limited to Achuthanandan and the factionalism in the Communist Party of India-Marxist. The narration of the novel was unique in Malayalam literature. But that aspect did not get any mention in the novel discussion, he said. 


The writer of six novels, more than a 100 short stories and travelogues felt that all his works of three and half decades were forgotten just because he wrote on Greeshmamapini. 


Besides, Surendran was also let down by the political stand taken by Achuthanandan recently. "I lost my respect for him. Just like many others, I too was carried away by VS earlier. I had written a few articles supporting him in the past. Now, I apologise for all that,” he said. 


The sight of VS going after power is very pathetic. He should not have contested elections this time. Now he is insulting himself by going after position and office," he said referring to the recent controversies related to the posting of Achuthanandan as the Chairman of the Kerala Administrative Reforms Commission. The State Assembly had passed an amendment solely to 'rehabilitate' the veteran leader in a plum post with cabinet rank.


Asked whether he had any pressure from the official faction of the CPM, led by Pinarayi Vijayan, for writing the novel on VS, Surendran clarified that there was not even a phone call. “They just didn't care, I guess. After all, writers have no influence on the public, especially when it comes to politics.”


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