“We condemn the O.N.V Cultural Academy’s decision to honour poet & lyricist Vairamuthu with the O.N.V Literary Award, which has in the past been awarded to eminent individuals like Shri. M. T Vasudevan Nair, Smt. Sugathakumari teacher, Mahakavi Akkitham and Smt. M Leelavathy. As a poet Shri O.N.V Kurup has left a deep imprint on the Malayalee psyche with his evocative rhetoric of resistance and romance. Beyond that his individual grace, dignity and human nature has earned the respect of his colleagues and audiences alike. During the 2018 #IndianMeToo movement that started in 2018, allegations were made against Vairamuthu by 17 women and most refer to workplace sexual harassment. The #MeToo movement has brought sweeping changes across the world with so many powerful perpetrators shown the door, it led to the widespread implementation of strict laws against workplace harassment including the PoSH Act 2013 in India. (sic),” the organization’s statement reads.
WCC also stressed that “Art should not be an excuse for abuse,” and also urged the jury members of the literary award to stick to values and dignity attached with the name ONV Kurup, instead of honouring the alleged perpetrator.
The note further read, “In this context, we urge the jury members of O.N.V Literary Awards to make choices that uphold the values and dignity associated with Shri O.N.V Kurup, rather than honour alleged perpetrators. Is Art created through harassment and cruelty to coworkers worth being celebrated? Art should not be an excuse for abuse. #Avalkkoppam #WCC (sic).”
Many Malayalam celebrities including actor Parvathy Thiruvothu, who is a member of the WCC has also voiced her disagreement on awarding Vairamuthu with the prestigious honour.
Meanwhile, this is also the first time a non-Keralite poet has been chosen for the ONV award.