‘Meesha’ Wins Best Novel at Kerala Sahitya Akademi Awards; BJP Says Move 'Anti-Hindu'

Earlier, Hindutva activists had threatened author S. Hareesh to withdraw the novel as they believed he had denounced women who go to temples through it.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Sahitya Akademi awards for the year 2019 were announced on Monday, and author S. Hareesh’s Meesha (Moustache) has won the best novel prize

Rathri Pandrandarayk oru Tharattu (A Lullaby at 12:30 in the Night), written by P. Raman, won the award for the best poetry.

Ramachi by Vinoy Thomas has bagged the award for the best short story.

Noted actress Sajitha Madathil bagged the Akademi award for her contribution in the drama Arangile Matsyagandhikal.

The awards carry prize money of Rs 25,000, a citation and a certificate.

Also read: Malayalam Author S. Hareesh Wins 2020 JCB Prize for Literature for ‘Moustache’

The Akademi announced that fellowships have been awarded to writers P. Valsala and N.V.P. Unnithiri. The fellowships carry a cash award of Rs 50,000, a two sovereign gold locket, a citation and a certificate.

Meesha courted controversy earlier when a group of pro-Hindutva activists threatened Hareesh to withdraw it after publishing just three chapters in the Malayalam weekly Mathrubhumi for allegedly denouncing women who go to temples. Right-wing supporters took offence at a conversation between two characters in the novel. Even though the novel was discontinued in the weekly, it was published as a book by DC Books.

As the Akademi announced the award for Meesha, the BJP protested against it and said the decision was against the Hindu community. “Kerala has not seen such a derogatory novel. The decision to award Meesha should be seen as an act against the Hindu community. This is a continuation of insulting Hindus after the Sabarimala issue,” BJP state chief K. Surendran said in a statement.