Parvathy Criticises ONV Award Jury for Honouring MeToo Accused
During the #MeToo movement in 2018, Vairamuthu was accused by 17 women, as Parvathy pointed out in her post.
Actor Parvathy, on 27 May, criticised the ONV literary award jury for their decision to honour #MeToo accused Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu. The announcement of the Vairamuthu getting the award was made on 26 May.
In an Instagram post, she wrote, ONV Sir is our pride. His contribution as a poet and lyricist is incomparable. How it has nourished our culture. Our hearts and minds have benefited through his body of work. This is exactly why it is immense disrespect to give such an honour in his name to the accused of sexual assault crimes."
For context, she wrote in the caption, "17 women have come out with their stories. We don’t know how many more have been wronged. There seems to be enough whataboutery to continue wronging those who are wronged. Only to uphold the reputation of those in power."
"Nothing is more important than humanity. If you come at me with the art vs artist debate, let me tell you that for me the humanity of the person creating the art is the only thing I’d choose to look at. I can live without the “art” of those who hollow out lives with absolute impunity," she added.
The ONV literary award was instituted in the memory of poet ONV Kurup and recognises poets from Malayalam and other languages. The academy is headed by the filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan, and the jury this year consisted of poet Prabha Varma, Malayalam University Vice-Chancellor Anil Vallathol and writer Alankode Leelakrishnan.
During the #MeToo movement in 2018, singer Chinmayi Sripaada first spoke up against Vairamuthu, and 16 other women have since then called out the lyricist. Concluding her post caption, Parvathy asked, "How do you justify this? #adoorgopalakrishnan and the jury who decided to the accused Vairamuthu this honour."
Director Anjali Menon tweeted, "ONV Sir's name resounds with deep sensitivity, dignity and respect for any Malayalee. Therefore very disturbed to know that ONV Academy has chosen an alleged perpetrator (called out by 17 women) for the #ONVAward. Are these the values they celebrate?"
Referring to the announcement, musician T M Krishna also shared, "This is how our society validates and gives more strength to someone who has been called out by several women as a sexual predator. Utterly Shameful!"
The Women in Cinema Collective (WCC) also condemned the jury's decision. On their social media handle, they shared a post with the caption, "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."
Talking about ONV's impact on Malayalam art, the caption read, "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 humane nature has earned the respect of his colleagues and audiences alike."
Adding that most of the allegations against Vairamuthu refer to workplace sexual harrassment, the collective further stated that the #MeToo movement can be credited for the sweeping changes across the world. "...it led to the widespread implementation of strict laws against workplace harassment including the PoSH Act 2013 in India," WCC stated.
The collective urged the jury members to uphold the 'values and dignity associate' with ONV Kurup. The statement concluded with, "Is Art created through harassment and cruelty to coworkers worth being celebrated? Art should not be an excuse for abuse."
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