On Charu Nivedita’s ‘Zero Degree’ (Trans. by Pritham K. Chakravarthy & Rakesh Khanna)

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NOTE: This review quotes some adult content and contains text that may be offensive to you. Please do not read further if you’re easily offended by dirty language, bodily functions or graphic  descriptions of sex. Also, this is a LONG review, so you may want to make some time for it.

If you are now compelled to read on even more, I like you already. 🙂

This novel gave me nightmares, literally. And I’m not entirely sure that’s a bad thing.

First, remember everything you are told and have believed a novel is, particularly the Indian novel. Some things on the lines of:

  • A novel is a work of fiction.
  • It contains several common elements such as character, plot, narrative.
  • It explores what is loosely called the human condition.
  • It  may sometimes be an instrument for social change.
  • It is a socio-political reflection of its times.
  • It entertains, informs, educates, etc.

Much of what we have read as fiction as school students or in libraries comes under this umbrella. When you look at it from the Indian context, the Indian novel – particularly in English – has barely strayed from these accepted norms. The novel as realist fiction has remained a universally acknowledged truth in our reading culture. The biggest names in Indian fiction have been accepted as social commentators.

It’s surprising, unnerving and exciting then to see an Indian book that seems to defy any of these conditions.

Of course, postmodernism has evolved in the past century in Western writings in numerous different forms and ways. Europeans such as Calvino and Perec began revolutionising the 20th century novel in numerous ways. But, the forms that come closest to Nivedita’s style are probably the Latin American magical realists/fabulists such as Octavio Paz, Borges, Cortázar and Alejo Carpentier. Nivedita actually uses some of these writers as intertextual references. But Zero Degree is one of the newest forms of the novel in South Asia, very unlike Rushdie’s simplistic magical realism with its literal, very obvious allegory.  I’ll try to explain more below.

Zero Degree  was first published in 1998 but only translated into English by Pritham K. Chakravarthy and Rakesh Khanna in 2008 by Blaft Publications (they’re revolutionary, and I don’t say that lightly, because I’m reading some of their other published work and it’s exciting). Zero Degree has not been widely reviewed, but considering its odd structure, fluctuating language and abhorrently violent imagery, this is not a novel modern India would be comfortable with. So I was pleasantly surprised to hear that this penetrating book has managed a cult status of sorts in the Tamil literary scene, and in Kerala too.

And the novel is penetrating. Whether it’s the  graphic sex and rape scenes, or the level of profanity or the ideas buried under lines and lines of puzzling, sometimes unpunctuated text, the entire effect is haunting and inexplicable.

Let me attempt to sum up the basic  narrative: One of the main characters is an author Muniyandi, who seems to have written a book about a revolt by the Santhal tribe against money-lenders; this book is then reviewed by a reviewer cryptically referred to as Ninth-Century-A.D.-Dead-Brain; then there is Surya, a biographer of Muniyandi’s; and Muniyandi, who at some point attempts to edit Surya’s biography of his life; then there is Misra, a wandering character from Nivedita’s previous book Existentialism and Fancy Banyan, and then Charu Nivedita himself who makes an introduction at the beginning seemingly explaining each of these narrators. There are also several numerous peripheral female characters who narrate their own stories in between the other mini-narratives.

The “I” that appears at the beginning of this novel refers to me, Charu Nivedita, the author. But there are actually several other “I”s responsible for the book. First of all, there is Surya who wanted to write a novelization of the life of Muniyandi, and dedicate it to his daughter, Genesis; he made pages and pages of notes, and pasted in lots of clippings from the daily newspapers. Then there is Muniyandi himself, who later went through Surya’s notes and made all sorts of corrections and revisions. But this material alone could  never have been organized into a complete novel. In the tangled mess, it is often confusing who the “I” refers to — sometimes it is Muniyandi, other times it is Surya, other times it is simply lost in a fog.

(Beginning of Chapter 2)

The novel is structured using various styles – newspaper snippets, prose poetry, phone conversations, interviews, bulleted lists, questionnaires, diagrams and all sorts of  minor stylistic deviations, such as whole chapters without any punctuations.

Each chapter though poses a new conundrum – we are not entirely sure who the narrator is and in what chronology these events are occurring. The effect is meant to discombobulate you.

  • Do you think it is necessary to read the Latin American novels mentioned in this novel?

Yes [ ]                                                                                        No [ ]

  •  Do you believe this will be an important Tamil novel?

               Yes [ ]                                                                                        No [ ]

(Note: You can wait to answer these questions until after you have finished reading the book.)

The overall effects of these ideas is that instead of the discourse we expect the novel to initiate, it seems like the novel is in dialogue with itself, even as it occasionally addresses the ‘Lady Reader’. The concoction of several narrators, each of whom is a writer in his/her own way highlights the author-reader relationship in many ways.

It’s hard to condense my impressions of this novel without lapsing into the usual adjectives like ‘transgressive’, ‘postmodern’,  ‘original’ and the verbosity that reviewers often hide behind. This is a hard novel to read; each time you think you grasp where a thread of the narrative is heading, it twists and you are bewildered again.

One of the most significant aspects of this book is the interspersion of fact with fiction. Along with that confession by ‘the author’ in the beginning of Chapter 2, several of the narratives carry descriptions of factual revolutions and wars with real statistics. This is unnerving, as you are suddenly thrust into the context of the Rwandan genocide or Pizarro’s massacre of the Incas in Peru or the Srebrenica massacre, all through the eyes of the many narrators.

Another method Nivedita uses to discombobulate the reader is the random name-dropping of several authors from across the world, in particular Latin American authors in Spanish. Such as in this excerpt:

Omega changes into alpha or beta or gamma or whatever the last letter is what is the end what is doing the writing algunos aspectos del cuento Muniyandi’s omega is followed by Nano. Nano’s omega is followed by Aadhi, Aadhi’s omega is followed by Chromo…

and

In the days when Muniyandi was a part of the literati scene, a theatre troupe from Mexico visited Chennai and asked if it was possible to meet him; was he in the nation? To which Surya responded, what do you mean by nation? The Mexican troupe replied, if he were a writer in our country, he would either be living in exile, or he would be an ambassador.

Octavio Paz resigned as his post as an ambassador in New Delhi in protest against the shootout during a student demonstration at a Mexican university twenty-seven years ago. Elena Poniatowska write about that incident in her novel La noche de Tlatelolco. The dictatorship came to an end.

Our authors have no identity of their own. They are either government clerks or the owner of petty shops, and write in their idle time at work. In a reader’s forum of about 180, there are no women, not even writer’s wives. So judging by this standard, we figure Muniyandi too must be a clerk at the Mount Road  Post Office, said Nano to the Mexican troupe.

It was only after hearing this that Muniyandi quit his job as a clerk and became a wanderer.

(All emphases are the author’s.)

I cannot explain to you how strange it is that I had just read Cortázar’s 1963 lecture in Cuba, Algunos  aspectos del cuento (in Spanish, that too) just two weeks before starting Zero Degree not having any clue that it may get a mention in the book, and I am sometimes convinced some sort of supernatural interconnectedness of texts seems to exist with all the books I have read in my life.

Charu Nivedita’s name-dropping of several Latin American writers is indicative of the kind of novel he wants Zero Degree to be. That divide of fiction and reality, the divorcing of writers from their political stances is a major issue he wishes to elaborate on. In addition, the mention of Carpentier brings to mind lo real maravillosa, the essay that suggests that Latin American history and geography are so unique that they appear fictitious and magical to the outside world. Again, Nivedita seems to blur that line between fiction and reality, and almost seems to suggest that the same exists in India, with its historical and mythological symbols trespassing on every aspect of daily life through temples, rituals, superstition and orthodoxy that have created a heritage of oppression and abuse.

The mention of Cortázar’s lecture is also equally significant. In this talk, Cortázar referred to the fact that he had been rendered a ghost because of the banning of his writing in several Latin American countries. He then went on to talk of the form of the short story, referring to several of its masters such as Poe, Kafka and Katherine Mansfield, and how the structure of the short story worked when it transmitted a certain shock to the reader, a moment of revelation. Though Cortázar mainly discussed structural aspects, he clearly built on his point to strike home the necessity of building a political culture through storytelling. Cortázar also emphasised something like an ‘artificial’ storytelling that is meant to dislodge the reader from his/her everyday world. All of this is highly notable in light of both the form and content of Zero Degree. It seems like a collection of short stories most times, and mimics that shock and jolt wits its facts, language and imagery.

Which brings to the next highly debatable aspect of Zero Degree – the ‘pornographic’ status it has acquired. Nivedita has been compared to Bataille for his consistent scatological and sexual preoccupations. I don’t refute any of that. I also am not particularly perturbed by  it, considering we live in a sex-saturated mediascape. So, the inclusion of occasional shocking and disgusting imagery serves a point on some level. For instance, this scene:

It was after an unfortunate incident at a prostitute’s house that Muniyandi started the habit of making eighteen copies of all his texts. When he was in her room, he asked her, as he usually did, what her name was, and continued on with “Do you like Pichamurthi?” At which she demanded, “We both know what you’re really here  for, why would you ask me a question like that?” To which, of course, he said, “Besides all that, I thought if you had read Pichamurthi, we could have a discussion  about literature.” The prostitute had immediately asked, suspiciously, “Are you a literary person?” To which Muniyandi smiled shyly and replied, “Yes.” In a blink, the prostitute sat on the bed, raised her sari, and pissed all over the bag Muniyandi had placed there. For a moment Muniyandi just stood stunned. Then he yelled, “You bitch! What have you done? In that bag is my handwritten manuscript for a novel that will someday be translated into French and appreciated by the most intellectual minds of the world! You have destroyed that unique creation by pissing on it! Are you a paid coolie for the Marxists?” (After this, Muniyandi forgot his lines.) She yelled back, “Dey, you literary fellow, take your bag and scram, or I’ll piss on you too,” and Muniyandi ran off with his piss-soaked handwritten manuscript, and after that, he swore on the bag that forever onwards he would always make eighteen copies of everything he wrote.

It is very easy to look on this as an allegory of what Tamil Nadu is doing to its writers (and their manuscripts), but what’s also interesting is the number eighteen and its Hindu spiritual significance – the Bhagavad Gita has 18 chapters, and the Mahabharata of which it’s a part of, has 18 books. This is made significant because the epigraph at the start of Zero Degree quotes from the Bhagavad Gita:

Reason, wisdom, lucid thinking, tolerance, truth, temperance in thought and body, pleasure, pain, destruction, fear,  courage, non-violence, equality, contentment, renunciation, charity, praise, disdain — all human qualities begin with Me.

— Bhagavad Gita, 10:4-5

So, of course, if you’re a religiously inclined, this will seem blasphemous.

To me, neither the fucking, the pissing or the shitting is nearly as shocking and disturbing as some of the narratives of the women in Zero Degree. Neena, daughter of Fuckrunissa (of course, her name has to be spelled that way in Zero Degree) is brutally raped to exorcise her of  ‘spirits’ and narrates her story to another of the narrators. Avanthika, Surya’s lover writes him a ‘love letter’ detailing a lifetime of abuse suffered at the hands of parents, sister, husband and society. Nivedita addresses trivial domestic disputes with as much gravitas and detail as the Lankan Tamil genocide, equating human cruelty at all levels. I wish I could burn the memory of his passages out of my mind, despite knowing that they are most likely factual atrocities.

But even as you read the horrific things, Nivedita also brings in some poetics:

Genny, go and touch the stretch marks on Aarthi’s stomach. I want to kiss your fingertips while they linger there, caressing the roots of time.

Towards the end, the chapters disintegrate into poetry, almost as if they are no longer able to communicate in straight sentences and need to hide behind rhythm and metaphor. Not all of the poetry is good, or of literary standards, but perhaps that’s the point. It’s the form now, and no longer the meaning that holds any value.

A comment on the translation – Tamil readers have commented that the language in the original shows far more diversity in tone and dialect. Nivedita also skilfully managed to author it as a lipogrammatic novel in Tamil, but the English translation cannot accommodate the Oulipian technique, and certain changes have had to be made. To give the translators full credit though, the difference in each of the chapters (and voices) is still evident.

Reviews of Zero Degree on the Internet are vague and burdened by adjectives and flowery metaphor – have a look at the Tehelka review and one more rambly appreciative one by this blogger.

There is a lot of rage and disgust directed at Nivedita online regarding his style and his success, suggesting that he’s standing on the shoulders of some heavy Spanish giants and their ideas, and therefore, undeserving of being considered a  Tamil literary star. I don’t understand the linguistic hegemony Tamil is involved in most of the time, but in this case, it seems more like moral outrage than anything else, and that is just unsupportable. I understand that another postmodern Tamil writer Jeyamohan has also criticised Nivedita’s style on the same vein, and this is a good thing – not for Nivedita, I’m sorry – but the fact that any literary culture in India has reached the stage of arguing out ideas, form, content and expression. I’m thinking Tamil literature is way ahead of most other literary traditions in India I am familiar with, so that makes me optimistic. Especially through Blaft.

Also, I have never been a fan of  postmodern literature; Calvino annoyed me and Perec made me quit halfway. So I am very surprised by the fact that I am vastly engrossed by Zero Degree. It may have to do with the fact that it’s culturally resonating – I am part Tamil on my mother’s side and understand some of the non-translated stuff scattered in between. Or maybe it’s just that I tried harder, I’m not sure. The Latin American postmodernists though, preoccupy me, and that may be another reason.

So, final thoughts – should I recommend Zero Degree to the average Indian reader? Probably not; it would be a waste as I think this novel is decades ahead of its time. Is it what we usually call ‘a good read’? Nope. I don’t know what kind of read it is, apart from difficult.  Is it an important book of our times? Hell, yes.

Is he really the Indian Bataille? I can’t say; I think that’s limiting.

But on a more personal note, I was 16 when I first read The Metamorphosis by Kafka. It was the first thing I read without any knowledge of theory, tradition, or even its own cult status, and it left a gouging impact on my mind. I have never been able to articulate what reading Kafka does to me, and there are a handful of writers who leave that sort of terror in my mind – Krzhizhanovsky is another one, so is  Borges and so is Bulgakov. I have a strong, strong feeling, Nivedita may join that list, if only more of his work gets translated soon. Or I start reading in Tamil, which I should have done long ago anyway.

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139 responses »

  1. I am a die-hard fan of Charu Nivedita, I am agree with your review, especially

    //So, final thoughts – should I recommend Zero Degree to the average Indian reader? Probably not; it would be a waste as I think this novel is decades ahead of its time. Is it what we usually call ‘a good read’? Nope. I don’t know what kind of read it is, apart from difficult. Is it an important book of our times? Hell, yes//.

  2. Charu is perhaps the most misunderstood contemporary writer in Tamil.inauguably he is the most controversial. to his credit, it must be mentioned that, One may either like him or hate him, but he cannot be ignored. He has divided the tamil readers and in fact even the tamil writers vertically….
    may be he is writing for the next generation as his writings are ahead of the times as many critics agree on.

  3. Good to know about good reviews about Zero Degree.. Personally, it was my favorite too, until I read ‘Rasaleela’, Charu Nivedita’s next novel. To me, Rasaleela was filled with intense storytelling, combined with Nivedita’s excellent writing style, which makes it an insanely interesting novel. It’s a sad thing the English translation doesn’t exist as of now. It’s his biggest novel too. And, there is ‘Kamarooba kadhaigal’ – his internet novel and now the latest, ‘Exile’.

    About the ‘name dropping’ you mentioned – let me tell you 🙂 . It’s not just the name dropping, but he has mentioned many times, and even it becomes evident from his numerous articles and short stories – that he has read them well. He continues to do so.

    To me, what makes Charu Nivedita ‘s works more interesting than any of his contemporaries, is his skillful handling of his language. He knows how to brew the magic potion of literature, which can also be interesting.

    I sincerely hope more of his works gets translated in English. He is worth his due.

  4. Thanks for the comments, ecveryone.

    Scorp, I agree from the context where the names are mentioned in the novel, it’s obvious he has read them and used the names for a reason. I’ve been attempting reading their work in Spanish coincidentally so ‘Zero Degree’ had an extra treat in it for me,

    I really really hope Blaft gets ‘Rasaleela’ translated. Of late, I’ve been depending on Google to actually translate a lot of Charu’s blogs and writing, which is its own postmodern, interpretiva madness!

  5. The author by telling the story reaches the zero Degree state where thought are frozen,and sure will make the readers too. I like the the story Narrative, the narration in Charu Novels always will be related to the theme of the Novel. Losing identity and reaching the zero degree state and so the Narration is confusion of “I”. He also have not mentioned “I” in this novel and all Numbers are either 9 or the sum of the numbers are is Nine.

    Even we don’t understand the Novel completely we will get the exact feel in which the Novel was written. that is the Magic of his Words.

    Maya

  6. great review on Zero Degree.Charu is almost a superstar here in Tamil nadu.In post modernism he is ultimate.Among Contemporary writer he is the king in the aspect of Pleasure of TEXT.
    But as a usual thing GEMS are not appreciated in their lifefime like VINCENT VON GOGH.

    I refer Asokamithran writing after Charu.

  7. Try to read his short story ” உன்னத சங்கீதம் “.If this story gets translated and discussed widely;he should be given military protection.I don’t know if someone will have the courage to translate it or say a write a review on it without condemning the story.A beautiful story.Reading it was like a exotic dream;back to life,back to reality.I am addicted. A heart full of love has come my way after reading him.A heart full of hugs for your review.

  8. You are too naive when it comes to Tamil literary scene…பச்சக் குழந்தையாக இருக்கிறீர்கள்…சாருவின் உண்மை முகத்தைப் புரிய வைப்பது கஷ்டம். I’ll tell just one incident – last year he was caught red handed while sexually harassing a very young ‘Lady Reader’ through obscene online chat. Check: http://www.vinavu.com/2011/06/24/charu/

    • If you’ve read my post, it should be obvious I’m not naive, so much as completely ignorant of the Tamil literary scene. Charu is the first translated modern Tamil writer I’ve read, and I accept that I know practically none of the rest.

      I also mention that I cannot read Tamil, so I cannot read what you have linked me to. In any case, this is a blog discussing writing, not the possibly criminal behaviour of writers. There are other avenues to deal with your problems with Charu Nivedita, and I suggest you use them.

  9. His works are piece of junk, a substandard writer, who has bloated ego and empty brain. Just throwing writers names from world literature doesn’t make any one self-titled genius. Self-promoting Pathetic.

  10. Good review. For those like me with not much exposure to literature in other Indian languages than Tamil, it is good to hear that contemporary Tamil literature is on par with others. Some Tamil writers also make the same claim, but we have no independent verification of it. Charu Niveditha is definitely among the significant writers in Tamil at present. But, there are Tamil writers better than him. They need to take efforts like Charu Niveditha to promote themselves better and get their works translated into English.

    Zero Degree is by far Charu’s best novel. His first work “Existencialismum Fancy Baniyanum” is also of the same genre, but he reached his peak in the second novel which came out after a long gap (20 or 25 years, I believe). There was a controversy that Zero Degree had the contributions of a few other writers. ‘Rasa Leela’ in a way is a response to the controversy and Charu Niveditha put a rest to the speculations that someone else was writing his works. However, ‘Rasa Leela’ is just a rework of Zero Degree following the same style but losing some of the soul in the process. Some of the parts were even reheated parts of his earlier work (for example, Tamil does not have letters that sound like B or F. So, Beef Briyani written in Tamil will also sound like Shit Briyani. Charu uses this in his “Existencialismum Fancy Baniyanum” and “Rasa Leela”). A large part of Rasa Leela seems to have the intent of filling up pages, and Charu himself makes an intertextual reference to it and mocks himself. Also, the autofiction part of Zero Degree started dominating over other parts in Rasa Leela. His subsequent Kamarooba Kathaigal is just a ditto. I am yet to read his “Theham” or “Exile” but commentaries that I have read indicate that Charu has not moved away from the basic plot.

    Finally, your depiction of Jayamohan as a post-modernist writer does not seem right. If you must box him in the Western classification, he probably straddles between realism and modernism, and occasionally ventures into magical realism. Jayamohan is a prolific writer of great talent, but he is not as loyal to his plot or style as Charu Niveditha is.

    • Thanks for your comment, Suresh. I am hopeful English translations of his other novels will turn up.

      I did some research mainly on the Internet on Jeyamohan and it seemed from various blogs and reviews that he sits somewhere in the divide between modernism and postmodernism, but the magical realism made me club him under the postmodernists. But I wasn’t sure. Thanks for clarifying that, though unfortunately, neither ‘Vishnupuram’ nor ‘Rubber’ has been translated into English yet and I may not be able to make up my mind until then, which is a pity.

      • I am a big fan of Jeyamohan. Vishnupuram is supposed to be his Magnus Opus, which I haven’t read yet. Apparently, it is a treatise on various spiritual philosophies which existed in (South?) India, through a fiction. But `Kaadu’ (Tami for Forest) is the Novel from which anyone should start reading him – it’s a beautiful book.

        Please don’t label Je with a simple `Post-modernistic’ – it is actually belittling a great writer classifying him into simple cliched epithets. He is much more than that. For example, he has written tonnes on Gandhi and Bhagvad Gita! He is definitely different from Charu Nivedita, whose main method of being post-modernistic is to shout all the time from all available roof-tops that he is indeed one! And to belittle anything and everything in Tamil and Tamilnadu…

  11. I like Charu’s articles but his stories mostly (almost 90%) deal with sexual perversion, sexual depravation, sexual violence and incest. If you read page 45 of his book “ஒழுங்கின்மையின் வெறியாட்டம்” (ozhinginmayin veriyaatam), he portrays as if families are broken everywhere and hence incest is OK which can only come from a sick mind. He in fact states that there is only sex between man-man, man-woman and woman-woman and incest does not matter.

    In his short story ” உன்னத சங்கீதம்” (Unnatha Sangeetham), he graphically portrays character “Charu” having sex with a father and his 13-year old daughter (per story, the daughter even pisses on Charu’s face as part of a sex act). Height of crassness!

    In his short story “முள்” (Mul), he describes the relationship between nephew and his aunt.

    In most of stories he deals with sex with unbelievable perversion which can come only a schizophrenic mind. He wants to shock the tamil community to garner attention as he is not that popular in Tamilnadu. His articles were stopped midway in popular magazines in Tamilnadu for the same reason. I have been living in the US for 20 years and I know how a broken family messes up the kids and hence the society. Charu wants to bring that kind of a mess to India on top of all the other problems we have! Most of his writings are of similar pattern and tend to be repetitive/stale.

    If you really would like to get an idea as to how perverted his writings are, read the following short stories or ask someone to read it to you (all of them are in his book “Madhumita Sonna Paambu Kathaigal”):
    Unnatha Sangeetham (height of perversion, story condemned by 99% of the readers)
    Mul
    The Joker Was Here
    Karnataka Murasum Naveena Tamil Illakiyathin ……..
    Cricketyai Munn Vaithu …..

    One overrated writer who will not stand the test of time as I am sure his books will fade away! I would rather read a few porno books or watch porno movies instead of reading his perverted and crude writings. I don’t think even the westerners can deal with his crudeness (Zero Degree turned out to be a dud in sales in amazon.com).

    • I googled “Brutally raped and murdered” and it returned me with 3,650,000 results.Everyone one of us would have heard many of these news and the maximum reaction we would have given would be switching channels.When newspapers and channels report this;we dont respond;we just ignore;we have never ever put our thoughts on why these things happen?So here a Author feels let my try explaining how exactly these things happen and see atleast then if my people respond and they respond calling the Author ;a Pervert;overrated writer;you want him to fade and keep brutally rape and murder leaving no signs.Are you one of them?Who is sick you or him?The crudeness is across the city,across the state,across the country and we people just want to live like nothing has happened.But He is a warrior,he will keep fighting until peace prevails.

      • By writing “Charu” has sex with a father and daughter and the daughter character even pisses on “Charu”, rape will be eliminated?
        By writing a nephew has feelings for his aunt, murder will be eliminated?
        By encouraging incest, all perversions that exist in society will disappear into thin air?
        By writing 100% meaningless crap like “Joker was here”, illicit relationship will all be gone away?
        Please give Unnatha Sangeetham to your dad, mon, wife, sister and your daughter (if she is 18).

        He has graphically portrayed perversions but has he given any solution? He has not opened his mouth when Jayalalitha ordered the closure of Anna Library. He has not written anything on Kudankulam. He did not express his views on Samacheer Kalvi. All he thinks and writes about is perverted sex! He compares himself to Marquis who himself was a mentally deranged man. I would be happy if he leaves India and settles down in France, we don’t need him here. His contribution to society is a big 0!

  12. Charu who speaks of freedom of speech in his writings has unleashed his die-hard fans on a blogger who wrote an arrogant but a decent email to him which is published in his blog:
    http://charuonline.com/blog/?p=3035

    The guy, Abhilash wrote to Charu stating that Charu needs him to spread the message/make Charu popular and that his fans are immature. Charu in his own inimical style translated this into crude and crass “Chennai Tamil”.

    His immature fans in “talisbanic” style unleashed their wrath in most vulgar fashion on this poor guy (calling him a “son of cunt”). You will not see such indecent fans for any other tamil writer:

    Manickamramesh Babu:
    டேய் அபிலாஷ் கூதி மகனே சாரு பத்தி பேச நீ யாருடா உனக்கு அந்த தகுதி இருக்கா உன்னை பத்தி எந்த நாய்க்கு தெரியும் சாருவை பத்தி எழுதி பேர் வாங்கலாம் என்று நினைகிறைய நாங்க எல்லாம் சும்மா இருக்கிறோம் என்று நினைகிறைய ஒத்த நாங்க மதுரை டா தில் இருந்தா உன்னை ப்ரூப் பண்ணுடா வெட்டியா பேசாதேட உனக்கு வயசு இருபது அகுத எனக்கு முப்பதிஆறு ஆகுதுட என் தலைவன் முப்பது வருஷம் முன்னாடியே எல்லாம் சாதிசுடாரு டா நாய்கள் எல்லாம் எவ்வளவு நாள்கு குரைக்குது என்று பார்க்கலாம் உயிர் உள்ளவரை சாருவின் பின்னாடி நாங்க இருப்போம் ரமேஷ் மதுரை l

    Hari Prasad இது அந்த நன்னாரி பயலுக்காக…. போடா டோங்க்ரி..ங்கோத்தா…நீ ஒரு மண்ணும் புடுங்க வேண்டாம்…. என் தலய பத்தி பேச நீ யாருட தருதலை, மூதேவி…பிரதிபலன் பார்க்காதவன் தான் இந்த வாசகர்கள்… உன்ன போல, அண்ணன் எப்போ காலியாவான், தின்னை எப்போ கிடகுகும் பயலுக்கு எப்படிடா புரியும்….பேமாளி….மிரட்டி பார்க்கிற இந்த பூச்சாண்டி வேலை, ஒன்னாங் கிளாஸ் பயலுவ செய்றது கேனக்கூ….. உன்னால என்னடா புட்ங்க முடியும்….நாதாரி….சாரி, நான் அப்புறம் வரேன்… செம கோவம இருக்கேன்

    • What does Decent & Arrogant mean USTAMILAN?You show lot of love towards a Decent, Arrogant and a Poor guy;you should be man of great maturity.I envy you,i wish i could love people as much as you do.

      • I don’t know Ablilash nor have I read his writings but at least his writings were decent, that’s what I meant. Look at the response by members of the Charu fan club which was subsequently removed by the admin. These guys are being misled and they enjoy boozing with Charu thinking it is cool and he is a celebrity. So, there is every possibility that they will turn violent against whoever is against Charu!

  13. Here is an example (US Tamilan) of what type of cultural fascism prevails in TN and under what circumstances Charu write…

    • Gayathri: I am guessing you are Charu’s french translator. A writer has a responsibility to the society he lives in. What good does a story like “Unnatha Sangeetham” does to the society? None of his fans would like the answer this question which I have posed many times “Ask your mom, wife, daughter, sister, etc to read Unnatha Sangeetham and see what they think of Charu”. When I mentioned that “I would be happy if he leaves India and settles down in France”, it is because he always complain how tough it is to live in Tamilnadu. No one is forcing him to live here!

      You call me a fascist but at least I used decent language and never threatened anyone and never will. However, how many times has Charu threatened and spewed venom on people like Manush, Jayamohan, S. Raa, Gnani, Myskkin, Vijay TV Gopinath (read his blog in the last 2 years). See the language used by his fans recently which the admins deleted. I am sure you will not answer to any of my above challenges like all other Charu fans!
      Manickamramesh Babu: டேய் அபிலாஷ் கூதி மகனே சாரு பத்தி பேச நீ யாருடா உனக்கு அந்த தகுதி இருக்கா
      Hari Prasad: இது அந்த நன்னாரி பயலுக்காக…. போடா டோங்க்ரி..ங்கோத்தா…நீ ஒரு மண்ணும் புடுங்க வேண்டாம்…. என் தலய பத்தி பேச நீ யாருட தருதலை, மூதேவி…

  14. Oh forgot, did you mention somewhere that you cannot read/write tamil, then you will not be able to understand what he means and how true it is…. oops sorry

  15. Define perversion or normality in a way we both can accept;if then you can see it yourself how his writing could eliminate rape and murder.He encourages nothing other than peace.Solutions???If you will seek it you will get it,it’s there all through his works.You want him to speak about events Anna Library,Samacheer kalvi,Kudankulam;please see he has been continously writing about these events causes
    .The amount of hatred your text shows;’Joker was here’ gonna be a crap and Unnatha Sangeetham will be a story of incest forever with you.Set aside your hatred and read it with a open mind,many a doors will open;just a friendly suggestion.None of his text encourages anything other than peace and well being.He just reveals.
    I used to frequent our Govt. Departments;Every time they politely and decently ask for Bribe.They never ever use Koothi,Nannari etc.They are very decent;I accept.But unfortunately I haven’t learn’t that much of decency.I am bit indecent;I shout back very dirty.

  16. if I want to learn/promote peace, I would read the teachings of Ramana Maharishi, Vivekananda, Osho, etc. Why would read Unnatha Sangeetham and Joker Was Here which are crap anyway? You have still not answered my question. Please ask the women members of your family to read Unnatha Sangeetham and let me know what they think of it. I am sure half of them will spit on you!

    • And what about the men? They can read it because they don’t have some sort of refined sensitivity to sex? Because of course, the shy, docile women in my home don’t think of sex and instead focus on serving their men better, right?

      My mother is a gynaecologist, and is hardly likely to faint over a description of a penis or vagina in real life, let alone in a book. My father is a doctor as well, who’s brought me up on a diet of books, feminism and being independent in both thought and action. Do not presume to know any of us or our families.

      And if you have something literary to say about Nivedita’s writing, say it – that is what blogs and commentary are for. Otherwise spare us lectures on puritanical sexual morality and keep it in America where people like Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich will appreciate your sexist crap.

      I’m going to politely ask you to leave if your only wish is to preach at us.

    • Oh and by the way, my mother read part of ‘Zero Degree’ and disliked it because of the plotless structure. She said it didn’t hold her attention and didn’t understand how it could retain my concentration. She also didn’t like the swearing. She had no criticism however, for the incest, sexual description or the violence, a lot of which she comes across in one form or another in her line of work.

      You see, some women can read beyond the obvious and think about what the subtext is. Maybe you should try meeting some of these women.

      • I would just like to put out my view from a woman’s point. Of course, I’m not a gynecologist, but a regular reader of all books who like to explore new authors. I like Vaasanthi in Tamil. I was not able to go beyond certain pages in Zero degree as I really didnt see the point and was clueless where the author would go next, so lost interest & never continued but usually I would never give up that fast on an author.
        But what I have observed is that Charu Niveditha doesn’t seem to entertain opposing comments. As a woman I’m not comfortable in posting comments in his Facebook vattam as I feel he has dada’s around him who will try to attack me personally with F word with personal abuse rather than a healthy argument for negative comments.

        I have to totally agree with this other person who mentioned about women reading charu’s books as man & woman are totally different in thinking & analyzing. Women have certain limits (I have been living in the west for more than a decade), we still have separate stalls in rest rooms unlike men’s. So this is where the basic difference is and not with penis or vagina.

        I’m not here to preach anyone as I don’t think it’s my place as we all are adults and can think better for ourselves. But definitely wanted to share my view as a woman as I’m more comfortable posting here as I feel that I will not be personally attacked but only my ‘views’.

      • I hope nobody will try to attack your views here either, Nanditha. You are more than entitled to yours, and your online experience with Charu fans is unfortunate.

        Thank you for commenting.

  17. If you think crude, vulgar writing is literature, yes, I should not waste my time replying. Please read books by Aadhavan, Nakulan, Karichaan Kunju, Paa. Singaaram if you would like to know how sex should be handled. I am not here to preach but Charu is unable to sell books because of the crudeness/vulgarity. We come across so much crap in our live, why not stay positive in life, do something about it and avoid reading the this crap, for what?

    BTW, I hate Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Newt Gingrich. I would rather read Paulo Coelho instead of reading crap written by Charu.

    Anyway, good luck and good bye!

    • For all the good guys out there who hate charu and his vulgar writings pls answer me if u are all good then who watches porno , how do the prostitutes live, who rubs women in the back in buses , who talks vulgarly and passes comments while passing women in road, in which house a girl can truly say she has never ever been touched with the wrong intention by her dad, brother or uncle or cousin. how many of u have never ever fantasized about ur aunt or sister or cousin or even ur mother..if u ve answers for all these questions pls reply

  18. Have something to say, here.. If Zero degree is crap, why has it’s Malayalam translation been included in the curriculum for M.A, in the Mahatma Gandhi University – Kottayam, for the past 8 years?

    Also, the novel is listed under the modern Asian classics section in the California State University. If the novel is crap (according to our US Tamilan), why has this happened?

    Charu keeps telling that, he has two category of readers, mainly. One, fans who love his writing, and are crazy about it. The other category, loathes his writing to the core, and vehemently try to spread false messages. I belong to the first category :-). Now I know who belongs to the second category.

    My piece of advice or suggestion or watever, to the second category friends is that, if you hate something, leave it. Don’t keep clinging to it, reading it everyday and thereby increasing ur BP, which is detrimental to your own health 🙂 . . . C ya

  19. Rajesh:

    I don’t read his books anymore (Zero Degree and Thegam was enough). The hype you guys create about his writing is what we are trying to counter as we consider him a mediocre porn literature writer. It is like a movie star who desperately needs a hit and all guys suck up to him shamelessly (one guy wanted to perform a pooja for Charu’s feet).

    You guys keep referring to California State University. Do you guys know that there is no such thing as CSU? CSU is a university system which is an umbrella for CA state universities. It is like saying I went to Illinois University. Are you referring to CSU, Fresno; CSU Bakerfield; CSU Sacremento, SDSU? Could you please let me know in which campus Zero Degree is in the Asian Classics section? I have done my home work, please do yours and let me know (I will prove you wrong when you give me an answer). Books from India are in the CA libraries which have sections – asian, latin, french (Jeyakanthan, Asokamithran, Su.Raa, Puthumaipitthan, Malayalam writers, etc are also there). This does not mean that they are in the curriculum. So, please don’t repeat this canard, without citing its source (that it is listed in the Asian Classics section). Even my MS thesis is in the US LIbrary of Congress, that does mean that people are referring to it all the time!!
    http://www.calstate.edu/explore/about-csu.shtml

    Did you know that Su.Raa’s writings (which Charu hates and has spewed venom on) are in the Asian section of University of Texas, Austin (UTA is much more reputable than CSU), also in North Maharashtra University (BA English). It has been translated in English, Hindi, Malayalam, Hebrew, etc?

    When Charu tore Jeymo’s book in the book fair or when he used all sorts of foul language against Director Myshkkin or Vijay TV Gopinath or trashed Malawi Anand, you hypocrites did not have the balls to question him but when someone questions your “god”, you call them names?
    Manickamramesh Babu: டேய் அபிலாஷ் கூதி மகனே
    Hari Prasad: இது அந்த நன்னாரி பயலுக்காக…. போடா டோங்க்ரி..ங்கோத்தா
    Can we also call this fascism?

    Please remove your head from Charu’s ass and learn to criticize and also accept criticism? Don’t worry about my BP, I do yoga and jog along the CA trails! If my BP increases because of you guys, I would have been dead by now for all the nonsense you do everyday in the name of Charu. We are just trying to slap you to make your brain functional again!

    • “Please remove your head from Charu’s ass and learn to criticize and also accept criticism?”

      Perhaps you should do the same?

      Dude, you need to differentiate between hype and discourse. I don’t work for any media company and I’m not paid by anybody to blog about Charu. This is a critical discussion about the ideas in ‘Zero Degree’ – sexual AND political AND social AND literary. Yet all you keep harping on is the sex stuff – can you see beyond that? Charu can answer for his own behaviour and so can his fans. I don’t care about any of that stuff; my interest is in the books and solely the books.

      And university curriculum exists to start a discussion around different forms of writing, some people will agree and others will disagree. You need to learn to respect that.

      Just because you have a moral problem with Charu’s descriptions of sex doesn’t mean everybody SHOULD. We all have functioning, independent brains and if you think a couple of snarky comments on a blog is going to persuade us that your view is right and ours is wrong, well, you’re sorely mistaken.

      Also, consider this a warning against verbal abuse. There is no need to ‘slap’ anybody’s head, literally or figuratively, and no call for such language. I dislike censoring comments of any kind, but if all you’re going to do is vent about Charu’s portrayal of sexuality, I’m gonna assume you have a problem and ban your comments.

    • Hi US Tamilan,

      I will advise you to stop talking with these so called “Charu Rasigans”. Its a total waste of time and you will get back all kinds of hate emails or what not. These guys are following him like a cult. I don’t have enough filthy words to describe the writer himself. I see that you could really spend your time efficiently rather than answering to these idiots.

      -Bala.

  20. US Tamilan alias anony – I’ll tell you. From your loo…ng reply, it is too evident that you continue to be in the second category I referred earlier :-). Ok. Lemme reply in short to your whining.

    1. California state University – Have you at least heard about The CSU – Long beach? There is a section there, named ‘Comparative World Literature General Education Courses’. Under it, Zero Degree is placed as a part of the curriculum of the course named ‘Introduction to Comparative Asian Literature and Culture – Introduction to two major Asian cultures–India and China–through an exploration of their literatures, cultures, and diasporas. Focus will be on the modern period’. This has been confirmed by the department manager herself.

    Juz coz you live in US, it doesn’t mean you are right, dude 🙂 . This is what I repeatedly say. People consider themselves as wisecracks, and drop turd wherever they go 🙂

    2. Charu has been replying to slanderers for many years now. I don’t know how, when it comes to slandering, people like you always tend to become as cultural talibans? :-). Even I have been seeing the kind of stupid and foolish moral policing practiced by people like U. Just by taking a look at your comments so far, it becomes evident that you too belong to that group – who try to impose their blabbering on other people- rather than letting others to decide themselves 🙂 . One more thing is that, whomsoever has blabbered so, like you did, always follow strict meditation, yoga etc.. which is a farce, by itself 🙂

    About your language, I would have made to cling to your underpants if you would have commented so in my blog. As rightly pointed out by the author of this post in the previous comment, this is a literary discussion. Not something which can be used for graffiti :-).

    I again advice you to refrain yourself from Charu’s articles. I know you would have noticed this blog post by looking at charu’s blog :-). Lots and lots of pseudo religious books are rusting. Start reading them and start your journey towards ‘self’ – realization :-). This is not a place for wisecracks like you, dude.

    Keep whining, and all the best 🙂

  21. Dude, there is no such position as department manager, get your facts straight.
    http://www.csulb.edu/divisions/aa/curriculum_handbook/catalog/04-05/documents/cwl.pdf

    I have been to Long Beach as I live in CA. Please call the number in the link and check for yourself (call Lisa) if it is part of the curriculum (I did)

    I am not trying to be a cultural taliban. I am asking what’s the use of stories like Unnatha Sangeetham and Joker was here? Even “pleasure of text” is not there (in my opinion). Even Charu has written many times, he writes all this in a schizoid state (meaning: resembling schizophrenia in having inconsistent or contradictory elements; mad or crazy).

    • To clarify: The English translation of Zero Degree was indeed on the curriculum in Spring 2010 in a Comparative World Literature course at Cal State University Long Beach (CSULB) taught by Jordan Smith. However, it has not been “listed in modern Asian classics” to our knowledge.

  22. Dude – Do u think, even without inquiring, I would have given the department details here? 🙂

    And, I really appreciate your prudence in sending me a curse personally in Facebook, and portraying that you have suddenly turned in to a literary critic here. 🙂 . Keep it up dude 🙂

    So, at last, you have decided not to bombard others with what u think. I can see that , from your comment ‘ in my opinion’ inside the parenthesis. That’s better. And, lemme repeat again. If you are not interested in Charu’s works, so be it. There are so many dumping zones in the net. You can try puking there.

    C ya.. Have some work to do. Cannot spend all my time commenting 🙂

  23. Hmmm…Let that be Joker was Here/Zero Degree/Unnatha sangeetham/anyother other work of charu….it brings hope in me,it gives me strength to move forward…it’s charu;s work that freed me from the clutches of Dostoevksy…whenever i lose hope..he brings back hope in me…wish i could read very soon kathy acker,bukowski,tahar ben jelloun,shoukri,Adhavan and many others charu quotes often….i feel very close to them…My differences starts somewhere else;i have not come across certain life situations that Characters of charu’s novels have faced…but still i could relate it in a way with the life of mine…Schizoid is a natural transformation when you couldn’t fit yourselves with the stereo type identities and start realising the absurd…it happens and it brings in lot of mental agony together with it…Schiziod is not a mental disorder….rather you can call it mental agony…if your gonna be in this state for long;your gonna kill yourselves…he converts his schizoid into an art and gets freed…(That’s how i understand when he says i write in a scizoid state) …i read him and get freed…Dostoevsky does give you hope;dostoevsky consoles me you are not alone…but dostoevsky was not helping to move forward;you keep circling…but this man helps me to move forward…if you could understand dostoevsky;you can easily understand the uses of ‘joker was here’,unnatha sangeetham’,’zero degree’….This is how i relate myself with charu’s Art and he is very useful to me…If your whimsical fancies gets you to understand me a padeophile or as someone into a incestual relationship or someone with a mental disorder and if you will keep spitting on me…your just Provoking to unleash the Dhegam’s Dharma in me…if you will reply for my text;i will reply you…if you start replying me;i can’t reply you…If you coudn’t relate with the art;you can try reading some serious academic works on this…hope that will help you to deconstruct the text…Hope i have not hurt you…

  24. After reading all this I feel shocking and amused with such a personal comment on a writer, this article by you on zero degree was one of the first ever detail review of great standard, people come in all over and spew venom on this.

    Personally Zero Degree is a Novel very close to my heart, I read almost every day. The writing gives me immense knowledge about people, world and myself which no education has given.
    I learned de construction, post modernism, came to know about satre, Roland Barthe, George Bastele, French literature, kofta, pleasure of text, Greek mythology, I have spend day and night searching the inter texulaity in the book, I came to know how I was made up of.

    I was made by who, by What.
    If you see Zero Degree cover picture you may see zero but please look closer, you will find “I or 1” inside the zero and is surrounded by all the elements of the society, The I which we define ourselves will be shattered after reading zero degree, I don’t think no one can bring this magic, this magic happens because the author himself have removed and re defined his “I”. Words speaks on their own.

    In Christianity we say rebirth, every person has to re define himself and born again, this is what zero degree and other charu writings did to me, I became lovable, kind, passionate, obedient, open, honest, fearless, God fearing.

    Coming back to Unnatha sangeetham since it is not translated into English you might not have read, the most spectacular work of charu, he creates music and picture with his writings. Unnatha sangeetham means Songs Of Songs just like in Bibile. The most adorable Song of Songs is having love between a male and female, a very simple concept for some reason many don’t want to buy this. In one point he says “I was resurrecting after each session of sex and” and compares with Jesus resurrection which gives hope and peace, I admire for this work. I read this story with my wife, if someone afraid to read with their wife definitely they are sick, if they are not able to read then I still cannot think what they will talk with their wife, cricket/ football/comics/ come on….., and sure cannot be read with sister and brothers of course we should know whom to read with, and for sure all Charu’s fan knows what to read with whom and when.

  25. I kindly request fresh readers to read the comments by those who oppose charu. You may find it indecent and want to skip it..but still read it .Then only you will understand the enmity and hatred in those writing..

    These negative feelings spoil our hear and and our mind..

    In this highly corrupted society , these negative feelings accumulated in our brain even without our effort.. so we are torturing ourselves and torturing society..

    But once we start to read books of great writers like Cahru Nivedita , slowly we will come out of negative feelings and start to celebrate life .. we cant hate any one thereafter.,.in fact we wont have time for it..

    If you wish to see the world and life in different perspective, reading charu’s book will be the best option..

  26. zero degree is different novel for the new readers, i dont want to blame charu for his personnel acts. every human having their own uglyness inside. when i read the zero degree in 2003 i was shoked about the writing, but i enjoyed verymuch and i understand about the illakiyam. i was thinking a good ilakiyam should give very holy social things only like jayaganthan, but zero degree was make everything upside down in my heart, the charector “muniyandi” is the unforgettable one in my life.

    about his rassaleela is the another one excellent novel. if you start to read his writing you cannot stop until finish the book. charu has wonderful writing skill which will eat you when go inside the book.

  27. Charu has zero creativity. He cannot write any story other than perverted sex. He is the famous “Saroja Devi” books writer who dishes out trashes which are read by immature teenagers looking for catharsis for masturbation.

  28. Charu is a hypocrite. He thinks in the name of creativity he only can dish out vulgarity in Tamilnadu. He is the only jaundice eyed loser who wrote 5 pages of critique saying “Robot” ( Endhiran) is the worst vulgar movie he has ever seen. He is a male chauvinist who thinks women are for sexual enjoyment for males. He demeans women by regularly writing incest relationship involving women. He is the only man i have seen who practices what he writes he tries to molest young teenagers in facebook and other internet medium had he been in US he would have been awarded 40 years of imprisonment for the sexual predation he has done in his life on young and unassuming women.

  29. As a doctor of psychological literature i could really see in Charu a sick mind who is really in need of medical attention. His followers instead of heaping false praises on demeaning and debauchery literature concentrate on his mental well being by taking him to pyschological pathologist to treat him otherwise they are equally responsible as him for unleashing a psycho on the Tamil populace.

    • Why cant you use your literature psychological mind to write one page counter review for Ugly word’s Zero Degree Review. I would really appreciate that.

      All your allegations are non sense and shows how shallow your thoughts and understanding are. I pity you.

      Maya

  30. Charu a Male Chauvinist?He demeans women?I dont understand on what basis these allegations are made…I dont really understand.I personally feel the first change that his writing could bring in any men would be the change in attitude towards women;the male chauvinism in you keeps dissolving.So when someone claim the Author himself to be a male chauvnist;i feel he/she can understand nothing else that he writes 😦 :(.You have failed First class 😦 :(.

    There are very rude and very sick perverted narrations of sex in charu’s novel;accepted.Those narrations are not fantasies of men;it was narrations made by the female characters about how men have been torturing them.

    Are men not able to accept it?Are you claiming it doesn’t happen this way?

    So when someone allege Charu a Male chauvinist;i see male chauvinism only with the alleger.

    Please do recommend me a good pyschological pathologist;cause i have got to know a few sick men and they need to be treated soon.It’s a Emergency!!!(Am i being polite and decent? – Hope I haven’t used any dirty words.)

  31. Hey Uglywords, You did the right thing by reviewing this novel – for this is the “one & only” novel written by Mr.Charu. Whatever he has churned after that is mere garbage (my personal opnion) – All said and done, he is an excellent brand manager – his case study can easily be taught in India’s leading management institutes. He was highly successful in building “brand charu” and inspite of his short comings and lack of literature skills (and not to forget his constant flip flops in various issues – Narsim, Nithya, Manusiyaputhiran, Mishkin, sex chats etc) he still has his fan following firmly intact. Literature – forget about it, Charu – we want more chat transcripts of yours – its more interesting than your (to quote Sujatha’s words) $hit articles & novels.

  32. i dont know English well to write. because i finished my schooling through english medium. i studied only plus 2. even though i try to write in english. if i have any gramettical and spelling mistakes plz bear.

    i affected some mentel disorders. i took medicine for long time. in that time i entered reading tamil lit with blessing of chottanikkara bagavathi. as soon as i entered reading i came to know charu’s website before 7 years. i have been reading charu for 7 years. his writing totaly changed me. and reduse my mental problems. and also i stoped medicine.

    his writing changed my personality too. for example the boy who is from well reading ( 500 years reading hapit) family ,his personality will be fine one. my personality also like the boy by reading charu’s writing. my family and my ancestors not educate. my generation is first to education. but i am equal to the boy who is from the 500 years reading hapit family. because i read charu.

    here i spoke charu’s total writing. about zero degree i will write my next comment……………..

    thanks
    perumal
    karur

  33. i dont know English well to write. because i finished my schooling through english medium.//

    sorry , plz correct ” through tamil medium.”

  34. Wow…!!!!! I’ve been observing the comments quietly…Charu you rock!!! Nobody kicks a dead dog.. (Beware of this US guy anyway..comes in various Id’s and is surely to kill you.:):).doubt he’s a psychopath..heard that he spews venom on people who support you in their FB message)
    I started laughing on his ‘unleashing psycho’ part…ha ha..super! And ‘thavanerichelvan’-ugliness- Charu? you’re mistaken..most beautiful human being i’ve met…

    Read somewhere “unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment!”
    Once an American newspaper protrayed a man as a ‘hypocrite’, ‘murderer’…cartoon depicted him on a guillotine, a sword to chop off his head. Crowds seethed at him as he passed by the streets..The man is George Washington!!

    Way to go Charu!!! More they spit ,more you are worthy of attention. And all out here who’s supporting Charu, let’s look at our work and enjoy ugly words’ other reviews…Ta ta….:)

    Yes..one more thing…When somebody kick and criticize a great person, remember it’s often done because it gives the kicker a feeling of importance..(This you should know ‘Dean sir”)

    So..poor thing..Let him get kicks out of this…do not interfere please..it’s interesting..:)

  35. Pingback: Roland Barthes: ‘The Metaphor of the Eye’ « In a Brown Study

  36. How can the most beautiful human being chat the way he usually chats with his female readers? Is this the courtesy all literary gurus extend to their fans?

    Being the most dignified male as Mr. Charu is getting portrayed – will he accept if his wife indulges in a sex chat with a stranger? In his novel Exile – he talks about the supreme love between the narrator and a married woman? Will he accept if his wife gets in to a similar situation? Have you read the language he uses whenever he mentions about his ex-wife…

    Priya – comparison with George Washington – keep it coming… reminds me of a movie in which hero and comedian will pay someone to shout “Future American President” – keep it coming

  37. Gosh!!…whether priya knows about him or not, i know charu very well and i also know the tortures he’s getting from girls and women who swarm him… i know how he’s getting abused by women..His wife, his son and myself,we all know in and out about this sex chat and who’s responsible for this. Please don’t talk about this again and again in various Id’s. Do you know for the past one week he’s being harassed by a girl who wants him and a house wife (talk about married women!)who called him 82 times? Even at midnight. i’m not exaggerating here a little bit. Girls daily call him to pour out their stories, sad, unhappy ones. If he listens to them and say a few consoling words…finished!! They torture him thinking they’ve attracted him..

    You don’t know anything about him, his life…so please stop criticising that man. Do you know, a so-called great spiritual, puritan writer of Tamil society, who portrays himself as a great human being and talks as if he’s a saint, is a great womaniser? I have personal experience. i once used to think him as my father figure and ran out literally from his house one day. And Charu’s life is an open book.You can never see a man who’s so candid about his life.(see Tishani Doshi’s interview of Charu- “I’m addicted to sex and writing!”) Can that writer come in open and say that? He’ll give lectures like you. I second priya’s opinion. Charu is a humble, beautiful human. He’s reading all these comments with a smile and he had asked me not to comment and do my work..he’s going to get angry if he sees this…But Charu, I’m sorry, I couldn’t keep quiet.

    And a request to Pallavi…Please can you stop these derogatory comments about Charu this guy makes? Let him talk anything about his works. But he cannot cast slur on his reputation. Charu doesn’t care.But we (his family and friends) do care!

    • Gayathri, I don’t use censorship for anything except spam. I cannot argue with an audience I refuse to listen to. It’s important to me, to writers and readers too, to hear what the opposite side has to say.

      I understand why you are unhappy about this, but can I suggest you just unsubscribe from comments?

      If all they can slur about Charu is his character (without knowing him personally) and they have nothing of real value to say about his writing, I think Charu should be one satisfied author, no?

      • No opposite side here Pallavi…It’s just one man in different Id’s.. He was in Charu’s reader’s group and he was thrown out of the group..( you can guess why) He got mad and doing this. And now he’s commenting in Jeyamohan’s name which is unethical because he and Charu are different poles altogether. At first when i saw the name, i got a shock . But Charu said it cannot be Jeyamohan and he doesn’t go so low. In fact he has great respect for him and vice versa. Day before too they met accidentally and were talking happily.
        What does this man ( i want to use an adjective, but holding me back because of decency) know about him?Ask him to shut up..

        And as you suggested, i’m unsubscribing from comments. Thanks and i enjoy reading your reviews. Keep it up..:)

  38. charu cannot write anything useful to society. He can only write things like ” …blades swished from her vagina..” stuff. Even jane Fonda would feel squeakish reading his garbage.

    • Whoever you are “krish kumar”, you’ve had several comments posting as Rogalski or Konangi or whatever. I’ve allowed you to post what you want about the merits or lack thereof in Charu’s writing, but defamatory remarks made about Charu and name-calling, I will not allow.

      Like one of the other posters suggested, write your own damn review. Otherwise, you’ve had your say. We disagree. So get the hell off my review.

      • you really dont know who is charu. Why did you write the name. Dont you have any sense why people are using pseudonyms? This is against internet privacy to expose people’s name. Do you have any sense of cyber laws? If any thing happens to that man’s life because of charu and his goondas you will be responsible.

      • Sue me. Go on, take me to internet court.

        Is there just one “krish kumar” in all of India? I could have typed out his whole email address and let Charu’s fans do the name-calling instead, but I didn’t. Coz I’m nice like that. And I can respect a guy until he pretends to be 5 different people calling someone names to make it seem the Internet is full of idiots like him. I don’t doubt you’re probably the same guy, and like I said, I have just about enough patience to let intelligent debate be part of this comment thread. But the moment this crosses over into “ugly sense” as you so appropriately named yourself, I will delete every nefarious comment on this thread and simply let the constructive ones only stay.

        Piss off, dude. Find something better to do with your time than trolling someone on the Internet.

      • Just by observing all these fake id comments for a while, I’m just wondering about the hatred this guy carries in his mind towards Charu. I have already messaged this person in FB (when he tried to attack me verbally there, all the while pretending that he is a literary critic here) to ignore things he doesn’t like, as that will create havoc in his mind and will spoil his health. But, it seems he has heeded my message. I’m very sure, if we continue to ridicule this guy here, he ‘s gonna turn in to a lunatic.

        My suggestion to you, Pallavi, would be to delete his comments here on, as, lunatics will reach the height of their lunacy and will start biting people if they see ppl responding to their vomit. He is on a commenting spree as he has observed that we do respond to him. Just ignore this fool and carry on Pallavi. That will teach our psycho a lesson 🙂

      • I’m currently screening comments and marking the totally unrelated ones – with links to hate videos and what not on Youtube – as Spam. But Rajesh, I do want some sort of critical discussion around the specifics of ‘Zero Degree’. I’m going to give US Tamilian a chance because he hasn’t resorted to silly abuse — yet. I want to understand how far he’s capable of engaging with the text.

        However, I should warn him that if it’s more in the vein of “he’s perverted, he’s pornographic, look at all the incest!”, US Tamilian, I’m going to ask you to spare us. We know he’s pornographic, we know he talks about unusual sexual behaviour, we know what you think of him, and you don’t need to repeat yourself.

        Instead, I suggest US Tamilian read Bataille, read Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’, read Anaís Nin’s erotica, read Pauline Réage’s ‘Story of O’, read Marquis de Sade and read critical writings like Sontag’s ‘The Pornographic Imagination’ and Barthes”Metaphor of the Eye’. Then come back and explain why you think all of these are equally perverted, sick, etc., etc. Charu’s writing is not isolated and unique; it’s part of an already existing large discourse on pornographic literary writing. And it’s also more than that. Maybe you should engage with some of the other political, aesthetic ideas he presents as well.

      • US tamilan will never read the works you suggested, as he already has clearly mentioned that he reads Ramana Maharshi, Coelho etc. My point is, nothing wrong in reading or not reading certain authors. But, who gives them the liberty of ‘preaching’ to the world that they are obscene? That’s his problem. And, I can clearly witness his anger and frustration when his comments are countered. The basic thing of listening to the debate or argument or watever is missing in his barbaric approach. He wants to out-rightly crush the opposition. I am sure, if murder is not a crime, he will happily kill Charu.

        Hence, I don’t think US Tamilan will be able to read Bataille or sade or Barthezsor Sondag. If he, by chance glances over the pages, I’m damn sure his blood will start to boil, as our friend here will never understand the genre.

        That’s why I mentioned him as a cultural taliban. He will NEVER engage in active debates. His aim is to assassinate the character of Charu. In watever ways he can. That’s my opinion.

      • And, I am gonna ask you a favor Pallavi, as one of the moderators of the Charu Nivedita fans association. I would be needing the mail id of this guy Krishna Kumar. You can send the id as a message to my FB profile here. let me know. Thanks.

      • I’m afraid I’m going to have to refuse, Rajesh.

        I’m trying to be fair; I think everybody making a comment here should be reassured that their contact details remain private and they will be contacted only on their own terms and preferences — even if they are the kind to resort to name-calling and salacious rumours. So, I’m sorry, but I can’t divulge his email.

      • Fair enough. No issues. But, there is a difference between slandering and a literary remark, and I could see the threshold getting crossed here. I know I don’t have to point it out. In case if you change your mind, let me know. Thanks.

      • I agree; I’ve actually removed the comments by him that crossed the line, were purely defamatory and had no intentions besides the malicious.

        If he persists (or others are tempted to as well), I will consider contacting you, I promise.

  39. somebody here asked me to write a piece on his trash. I cannot waste time on this poop.

  40. He is a sexual predator who drinks cow’s urine daily thinking it will boost his potency. He is a flagship promoter of Hindutva’s Gomatha drink.

    • Hahahaha. Now this is just so ridiculous, I’m going to let it stay on so other people can laugh at what a so-called “doctor of psychological literature” considers to be serious critiquing.

  41. Comment by Rajesh on Charu vattam facebook: அடிச்ச அடில எஸ்கேப் ஆகிட்டுதான் போலி பேர்ல வந்திருக்கான்.

    OMG, you gotta to be kidding! In the message we exchanged on facebook, you said you did not wanna waste your time replying to a shithead like me. So, I ended that conversation with good bye and good luck. I also ended my postings here. I absolutely have no reason to post in different ids. This is the id I have been using to take on Charu and this is the only id I will use to take him on in future. So, please stop this nonsense of saying that because of your comments I ran away and showing up in different ids. I called CSLB and spoke to Prof Alwin who confirmed that Zero Degree is not in the curriculum.

    I can give specific examples from his stories as to how perverted and sick his writings are (which I will do within a week). I am puzzled because I can’t for the life of me figure out as to how his writings can change the society/person for good which is what you die-hard fans claim.

    Tamil people fall for hype/emotional appeals/good marketing of a bad product as you can see from the hero worship and self immolation that happens. As painful as it might me, the only reason I read his absurd writings is to quote from them so that I can keep as many people as possible away from his books (why waste hard earned money?). We have enough nonsense going on in Tamilnadu, we don’t need one more. For example, as a movie critic, you end up watching the good, bad and the ugly but you prevent people from wasting their hard earned money on the ugly movie. I have the same purpose in life.

    Do you think when Charu compared Swami Nithyananda to god, he did not know the perversion that was going on in the ashram? Did you know that he was part of the inner circle of the Swami and Swami referred to Charu and his wife as his hard core devotees in his satsangs? His writings tempted many people to go behind the Swami and were misled big time by Charu’s writings. He then wrote another book trashing him after Swami’s sex scandal. Is this what you call ethical writing?

    I don’t give a damn about people in other ids, let me post specifics on his writings in a few days.

    Until then, keep dreaming, keep translating and keep patting on your back for chasing me out.

    • I messaged you to stop reading charu, and that I am busy and I ‘m gonna stop replying to you. Only after you mentioned me as a fucker, remember ? :-)… You mentioned that my translation of Charu will be fucked up. In your own words, ” this sure will be one fucked up translation which will be slaughtered/puked upon by literary critics”. The problem with you is that, you conveniently forget to mention the other side of the argument, dude. Even in your facebook page, you have given your comment which you have posted here, with my name. and you have not given my comments :-). That proves who you are.

      And, about your blabbering here, Charu himself has given ample replies in the past. An example: About the nithyananda episode, it was nithyananda who cheated charu and so many people saying that he is a god incarnate. And, when the truth – that Nithi is a fake – came out, Charu wrote about that too. Now, by questioning about ethical writing, do you mean to say Charu would have continued to praise Nithi, even after it got proven that he was a fraud? what an idea sirji 🙂

      About your repeated whining that charu’s writings are perverted and sick, take a look at the blog owner’s comments above, about asking you to read writers like Sade, Bataille, Sondag etc… And the reply she has given about your repeated cries.

      And, finally, about quoting an example from what I do – as a movie critic – I differ from you totally. Reason? I do not vehemently oppose that the movies are porn, incest, they spoil the cultural value, blah blah…. I give both the pros and cons in a professional way. I take part in the debate about the movie. If you remember, I have reviewed a movie called ‘A Serbian film’, which, according to ‘puritans’ like you, is the height of incest and perverted porn. But, I wrote positively about that film, as I know about that particular genre. I respect the opinion of people and I encourage them to come out with their own opinion, even if it’s totally against mine. That’s the way to take part in any argument.

      All the best. Keep whining. Keep dreaming, and keep patting your own back as you think you are ‘morally’ the right guy and everyone other than you in this world are wrong 🙂

      • If given money the internet begger will write praising anyone or demeaning anyone. He does not have ethics. There are so many instance to substantiate this like Nithi, Gopinath, Rajinikanth, ManiRathnam, Jeyamohan episodes etc., etc.,

  42. I was intrigued enough when I first heard about Charu Nivedita through Pallavi, but learning how deeply offensive his work is to these many readers, I went ahead and purchased Zero Degrees.

    Also, reading all these comments, I get the feeling an onus has been placed, not just on this writer but on literature as a whole. Why hoist the writer on a pedestal and expect him or her to produce works of upliftment? These perceptions aside, a writer has no societal role whatsoever; no moral obligation to respect long established conventions of decency. A writer’s job is to write, full stop. Money, political statements and addressing social evils are all besides the point.

    Charu Nivedita could be a sodomizer of holy cows for all I care, so long as I like what he’s written.

    • Arjun Rajendran, I acknowledge your view, the writer Jobs is to Write thats it. Go head and read charu, you will enjoy his writings. For some reason people in TN wants writer to give advice, make them happy, serve them as a guide etc… I still dont know why like that, is it a Fuedal mind set?

  43. @USTamilian: “I am not here to preach but Charu is unable to sell books because of the crudeness/vulgarity. We come across so much crap in our live, why not stay positive in life, do something about it and avoid reading the this crap, for what?”

    But this should please you, determined as you are to stop people from reading his work. Crap, like most things, is subjective. What, may I ask, qualifies you to dish out this unwanted advice, to come in the way of readers exercising their right to read? I haven’t read Nivedita yet, but there are several books that have displeased me on many levels; you ask us to be positive and yet, you are on a vindictive mission of your own making, all because your sensibilities were offended by words. Now that’s what I call pathetic.

  44. Rajesh Da Scorp:

    Do you want to enlighten me the difference between calling someone a fucker and saying that his translation would be fucked up? I am posting our FB messages below:
    —————————————————————————————————–
    US Tamilan: So glad that you are translating Rasaleela. Looking at your use of the English language and all smilies you throw all over the place, this sure will be one fucked up translation which will be slaughtered/puked upon by literary critics. Please don’t give up the translation, complete it so that this also becomes a dud like Zero Degree in Amazon.com (4 still in stock for the past 9 months!)

    Rajesh Da Scorp: Ha ha ha … I’m very much glad in increasing ur BP, shithead …If an idiot messages me about the translation and says he is looking forward for it’s failure, I’m quite happy that at least I’m able to make somebody’s pressure to go up …. Keep messaging me. I’m planning to publish them one by one in facebook, with your link …I hv heard fuckers think abt everything in a fucked up manner which gets proven here in ur msg …
    —————————————————————————————————–
    So, who is a hypocrite here? You called me a fucker and you conveniently turn it against me. I went thru all the messages and I have called you stupid which is evident from your posts but never called you a fucker. You can publish our FB messages for all to see including your 100 smilies! You keep talking about increasing my BP here and everywhere else while I have not. It is obvious that my posts are increasing the BP in the vattam. Charu also has mentioned a few times that his blood boils for blah blah blah reasons. Having lived, worked, seen a few recessions in the US and survived them all for the past 20 years, if you think your writing or Charu’s writing is going to give me BP, I should have been dead long time ago while working for Cisco!

    I am not trying to be a saint here but there are many issues in India which needs immediate attention (like food, healthcare, education, etc for people living in fringes of the society). You watch ‘A Serbian film’, which is the height of incest and perverted porn. Your vattam does nothing to even talk about any social issue. Charu has not opened his mouth about any social issue in the recent past (while he conveniently talks about Bob Marley/Pablo Neruda for waking up their people). I am not saying don’t celebrate life but focus on what’s important in life (than be obsesses with perversions).

    It is evident that you guys are obsessed with booze, sex, perversions, incest and rape (but don’t do jackshit about it). Did you know that incest is illegal in western countries which Charu always raves about? Charu mentioned in an interview recently that he is addicted to sex but in the Exile review meeting held in Feb he mentions a writer (forgot the name, listen to the video) stating that he has not had sex for 5 years. Charu stated that his life reminded that of this writer. How can someone be addicted to sex and at the same time be starved of sex (he has mentioned this in his blog postings also)? He is so bloody inconsistent is his writings and it comes back to haunt him.

    When Thamizhachi (in Paris) published Charu’s sex chats, why did Charu not sue her? Even the Vachathi victims with no means whatsoever sued and got justice. So many die-nard fans like you could have footed his legal bills or helped him with this? He mentions in Dinamani newspaper that his account was hacked but mentions in the Vattam meeting in Panaiyur that he said “hello”, girl said “hello” and then Thamizhachi & co filled the rest. When Nithyananda publicly published a letter purportedly written by Charu’s wife about Charu’s deviant behavior, he could sued the shit out of Nithya, why did he not do that? There are so many poverty stricken women who are taking their perpetrators to court and getting justice these days (though a small %), why did he not take Nithya to court? That would have been an open and shut case had truth been with Charu? Because, many skeletons would have tumbled out the closet and Charu’s obituary would have been written by Nithya! If anyone did this to me, I would have apologized like a US Politician for hurting my family (ha ha ha) or I would have sued those bastards.

    I am exposing him for his double standards and I will continue to read his blog to bring his deceit out (don’t worry, my BP has always been normal for the past 20 years, anyway thanks for your concern). I have received messages from a few people (<30) thanking me for preventing them from buying Charu's books (though a small number, I consider that as a victory).

    "A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on" – So, I am trying to expose your guru for his double standards/deceit and make sure the gullible are not taken for a ride. At least we know Rush Limbaugh, RSS, etc are devils but Charu is pretending to be an angel.

  45. For your info, the Panaiyur meeting audio was published by a young Vikatan student reporter in some blog which I listened to last year.

  46. Clarification before you twist my statement again:
    “If anyone did this to me, I would have apologized like a US Politician for hurting my family if I had been at fault (ha ha ha) or I would have sued those bastards if truth had been on my side”

    • I’ve said this before and I’m saying it again – if you have legal issues with Charu, take the evidence and go to the police, lawyers, courts. My blog – which discusses books, film and other art – is not a stage to evangelise or persecute.

      And stop with this whole gullibility crap – we can equally call you a pathetic fool full of paranoia and moral outrage who cannot find an outlet anywhere else, so he turns up on the web and trolls people.

      Any other comment you make, US Tamilian, I will retain only if you refer to Charu’s writing. If you continue posting slanderous, defamatory remarks and casting personal judgments on the kind of person Charu is, I will delete it. I’m not qualified or knowledgeable enough to discuss ethics, laws etc, etc, so this blog stays purely as art for art’s sake. I’ve been polite in requesting you to stay away once, I won’t be again. You know where you can take your agenda and shove it.

  47. Does this apply to Rajesh Da Scorp’ postings also? Do all of his postings refer to Charu’s writings? Are some of them not slanderous? Could you please apply the same yardstick to him?

    I will post at length about Charu’s writings within a week as I am in the process of preparing them!

    • Rajesh’s contribution has been focused on Charu’s writings, yes, and where it has ended up as curriculum and what it personally means to him.

      And exactly what has Rajesh said that is slanderous? Do you know the meaning of slander or defamation? To make an unfactual, erroneous claim about a person to a third party.

      Calling someone an idiot, a jerk or an ass is not slander – it’s name-calling and at most, rude.

      Saying someone has committed sex crimes, theft, fraud, rape, incest or paedophilia when there is no material evidence (apart from hearsay) or court ruling supporting it, that is slander. Defamation needs to also be made to a third party – meaning, not to the person him/herself. As far as I see it, Rajesh is telling you what he thinks to your face. That may cross the lines of acceptable etiquette or manners, but is not slander or defamation. There is also no significant loss to your reputation as a result, which is also a necessity to recognise it as defamation – unlike what you and other goons are trying to do to Charu.

      Get the difference?

      • //Calling someone an idiot, a jerk or an ass is not slander – it’s name-calling and at most, rude//

        Oh Yeah really – Try using these words to Middle East Shiekh or use these words while talking about Monarchies in Thailand or Japan – Can’t you guys stop typecasting or generalizing when it comes to defending your “Ultimate writer”. Each culture has its own sensibilities and these words are deeply hurting and slanderous for many.

      • We’re not in the Middle East or Thailand or Japan, so get over it. You hear far worse on the streets of Chennai or Mumbai, so spare me this wounded victim crap.

        Nobody has forced you to come to this blog, and no one is certainly asking you to stay and read 100+ comments that have nothing to do with you anyway, so why make yourself turn up, make yourself read and then cry out your angst? Just go away. Don’t read Charu Nivedita. Who is asking you guys to anyway?

      • Whoa.. again generalizing.. for a change – I am from Japan (Check my IP).. So these words are slanderous in the society I live in..

        If you see people stepping out on Shit – you try to alert them.. But here people are more interested in not only stepping on shit but rather play with it and roll over it (Haven’t your writer narrated a similar incident in Raasa leela – while explaining the Rendezvous of one of his characters with a prostitute at Chennai beach).. and why are you guys so averse to criticism while your idol takes great pleasure in playin the role of a critic passing judgments on others?

      • When I said “we’re not in the MIddle East…” I meant both where Charu’s writing is published and where I, the reader, am based and we’re both in India. In the Middle East, I’m sure this blog is probably censored for adult content – they have nation-wide filters for that. And slander applies to the country the blog is registered in and that the blogger resides in – WordPress can be called in to provide my personal details only if taken to court in the country I live in or this blog is hosted in, and in India, no precedent exists for such legality. But with Sibal and his moronic statements, who knows.

        And we are not averse to criticism of Charu’s WRITING. Go ahead, call it pornographic, explain why you think it is low quality, why it lacks literary merit and I will not censor a single comment of that type. What I object to is libel, slander and defamation on Charu’s CHARACTER, particularly when it’s hosted on my blog. I’m sure NONE of you who cheerfully accuse Charu of child molestation, rape and harassment know him personally, have observed his actions firsthand or have evidence to the same. If I were to do the same to the Prime Minister is it fair? If I were to do that even to criminals like Kasab, is it fair? How can you hang, draw and quarter someone for something which you have no proof of and whose information you have only found freely floating on the web? And who are his victims who have not made police complaints or taken him to court for the same?

        Like one of the other posters said, separate the writer from his writing. Nabokov wrote Lolita with its paedophilic themes yet stands unaccused of any such behaviour in his real life. Lewis Carroll is supposed to have had a muse for Alice in Wonderland with its many predatory overtones yet stands un-besmirched in his public life. It is possible to write pornographically without being a sexual criminal in real life. I will presume Charu’s innocence until someone can conclusively prove his guilt. If the evidence racks up against him and the police arrest him, I will stand for justice and a fair trial, regardless of the outcome. That should be the only criteria as far as I am concerned.

      • Good.. now that we have hit some common ground (like separating writings from the writer), let me share my personal opinion on Charu’s writing.

        1. Zero Degree is good. But whatever he has written after that is pure rehash.. You get a feeling that he has run out of steam.. Can’t really find anything new in Exile.. same old whining, his self explanations, cursing Tamil culture and other authors..
        2. Sex is invariably used in a perverted manner in his writings.. It is neither lyrical or does is create the impact to be called as litreary piece… I have read some of the works of Pablo Neruda, Pa.Singaram(Puyalile oru thoni), Fyodor Dostoyevsky and no way you can compare Charu’s work with those. Even in novels such as Kahleed Hossaini’s “Thousand Splendid Suns’ or Atiq Rahimi’s “The patience Stone” – sex was used as a tool to portray the repression of Afghan women. After reading all these, I can label Charu’s writing as nothing but repulsive Porn.
        3. His tall claims – for instance – his Zero Degree is the only lipogrammatic novel in Tamil is far from truth. In fact it is in his benefit that the Tamil community is unaware/ignorant of world litreary scene. If they did, then no one will even waste a second in reading him.
        4. The way he portrays Tamil culture – as though its far inferior to that western culture – makes him a laughing stock. In Austria we have cases of ruthless father keeping her daughter captivated as a sex slave – the sex crimes in western countries are even more grievous than that of here.
        5. He doesn’t have any principle. Its his personal thing – I am fine as long as he keeps it to himself. But he asks his readers to follow – eg. Nithayanada and other religious guys he was promoting in his website. He was tearing apart Gopinath of Neeya Naana but now he is back in the show.. Talk about social responsibility – It can’t get any worse than this

      • Okay, this brings up some good questions. As I have not read his other works, I’m being enlightened by you and a few others here who believe his style is getting repetitive and unoriginal. That’s a relevant point, because at some level a new form of expression with no new content can start stagnating a writer’s work.

        “After reading all these, I can label Charu’s writing as nothing but repulsive Porn.”

        Some of the other stuff I have posted since this review argue an effective case that pornography can be literary and has some theoretical merit – particularly by writers who politicise it. Of course, you can and should disagree if you are not convinced, which is fine.

        My point though is that porn is a medium for desire and arousal – it is the primary intention of pornography to arouse first and convey meaning later. In my view, the sexual portions of ‘Zero Degree’ are not meant to be arousing in the least. Take that scene with the prostitute and the manuscript I have quoted, and it is not erotic. There is another scene where Fuckrunissa is raped multiple times by the family she’s with and there is nothing erotic in it (I’d like to quote the paragraph but I have lent my copy of the novel to a friend and can’t refer to it now) – there are no descriptions of body parts at all, no details of the actual act apart from brief statements that she’s being raped several times. This gives the event a socio-political significance. Her circumstances, her place in the various authors’ narratives (which is literary, in my opinion) combined with the bare facts of the rapes make it worthy of contemplation, not sexual arousal.

        Susan Sontag says this in her essay ‘On Style’:

        “Approving or disapproving morally of what a work of art “says” is just as extraneous as becoming sexually excited by a work of art. (Both are, of course, very common.) And the reasons urged against the propriety and relevance of one apply as well to the other. Indeed, in this notion of annihilation of the subject we have perhaps the only serious criterion for distinguishing between erotic literature or films or paintings which are art and those which (for want of a better word) one has to call pornography.Pornography has a “content” and is designed to make us connect (with disgust, desire) with that content. It is a substitute for life. But art does not excite, or, if it does, the excitation is appeased, within the terms of the aesthetic experience. All great art induces contemplation, a dynamic contemplation. However much the reader or listener or spectator is aroused by a provisional identification of what is in the work of art with real life, his ultimate reaction — so far as he is reacting to the work as a work of art — must be detached, restful, contemplative, emotionally free, beyond indignation and approval. It is interesting that Genet has recently said that he now thinks that if his books arouse readers sexually, “they’re badly written, because the poetic emotion should be so strong that no reader is moved sexually. Insofar as my books are pornographic, I don’t reject them. I simply say that I lacked grace.””

        It sums up my understanding of pornographic literary writing and how it differs significantly from porn.

        “The way he portrays Tamil culture – as though its far inferior to that western culture – makes him a laughing stock. In Austria we have cases of ruthless father keeping her daughter captivated as a sex slave – the sex crimes in western countries are even more grievous than that of here.”

        Cultures are neither superior nor inferior as far as I’m concerned. They are just what they are, and I can agree to disagree with you on that. But neither are sex crimes superior or inferior. There is no scale to say that what happened with Baby Falak is better or worse than what happened to Elizabeth Fritzl, or that kids molested in our orphanages are better off than the ‘grievous’ crimes of Western countries. Crimes are horrible regardless of culture. Charu talking about a vilifying, Philistine Tamil culture (as I have heard him say) is his experience of it, and I respect that, but if he says that Tamil crimes are far worse than European crimes (which I cannot see a way of justifying), then I disagree with that line of thinking. I can still approve of his writing and disagree with his politics, and yes, there are some things in ‘Zero Degree’ that I disagree with philosophically.

        But part of the enjoyment of a good book for me is an aesthetics that can frame big philosophical questions, and I can appreciate that regardless of agreement or disagreement.

        As for the Nithyananda affair, not much information is available in English online, so I can’t really go into it, but like I said, I’m perfectly okay with separating a writer’s life from his writing. Most times I prefer not to look at the author’s biography anyway because it seems we’re always psychoanalysing authors too much and presuming too much of their lives and thoughts from media snippets. You never fully know a person even after living with them, so it’s better not to judge someone at all. My review does not deify or praise Charu for that reason. It’s his writing that interests me, full stop.

    • Mylord when you dig into Charu’s writings;also do have a look into the sacred,religious and mythological texts too.

      If possible call saraswati and ask what brahma did to her?

      If possible call ayyapan and let us know his birth secret?

      If possible call Adam and Eve and let us know if they are siblings or couples?

      If possible walk into Ghettos of United States and let us know how their lives are?.

      If possible put your thoughts on the language to be used when you depict the life of people in a Ghetto.Do you prefer Sankritizing or localizing?

      If possible put your thoughts on why their language is so crude?

      If possible put your thoughts on why their lives are so tough?

      Enlighten and Enrich us.

      • So let charu live in the days when puranas were created.

        Let him live in ghettos.

        Let him live in Adam and Eves time

        he is not fit to live in current soceity!!!

  48. – I don’t see the difference. Rajesh called me a fucker and he twisted that against me and you have nothing to say on this. Let him deny the Facebook posts.
    – you say Rajesh’s contribution has been focused on Charu’s writings. Is it only on Charu’s writing or did it also include diatribe against me? Please read my posts, I have given my reviews on Charu’s writings with examples (see my post of March 4, 2012 at 2:25 pm).

    Green: Please answer these questions (please, please)
    – if possible call ayyapan and let us know his birth secret? Why is Charu a big bhaktha of Iyappan
    – If possible call Adam and Eve and let us know if they are siblings or couples? Please tell me if you have objection to your son marrying your daughter or having sex with her or you having an incest relationship with your daughter (I am cringing when I write this). So, can we go back to stone age? marry your mother, sister, daughter? what logic are you presenting here?
    – so, you claim to know the personal lives of Saraswathi and Brahma?
    – I have been to the ghettos in the US, have you? Have you spoken to them? all they want is to get out of the ghetto? the sacrifice they make in bringing up their children is unbelievable? read about basketball players who got out of ghetto or visit the south side in Chicago (I have) or the ones in LA.

    • US tamilan Wake Up!!!!
      Please stop reading literature, you are sick with scientific and logic approach, Literature is to release us from this not to bind into it. You have serious problem of seeing the utility value for all product you buy and you apply the same logic into literature. Logic and Literature are two opposite poles. . You are thinking are very linear. Your approach to a fiction is totally flaw and more over you are so innocently ignorant. This the sign of so called technology man of modern world, leave us alone please.
      Please keep your value assement for the product, cost benefit ratio calculation and all your modern management Technic with your self.

      Just because some one is Engineer / Doctor/ or any other professional does not means he is educated, for me you are one such case in the midst of lot like you in this world, you think on yes/No, Male/Female, good/Evil bi polarity. The world have realized the disastrous result of such linear thinking. Wake up!!!

      Thinking linear is acceptable but fighting to establish that is the right way is terrorism, wake up, look around.

      you think writers should write only universal acceptable truth and ways, bullshit, all acceptable truth are to and can be broken and analyzed and it is only possible in Literature especially in Fiction,. Charu work are doing that in style. Incest, Genocides, racial cleaning, Prostitution, Eve teasing, child molestation, rape, murder all are because of people like you, you think there is only one way and that is your way. more over THE WAY is more important that a human life and feelings. Wake up!!!!.

      There are so many things is the world which are glorified in this world and you expect a writer to write only on this glorified things ( God, Morals, Love, sacrifice….). By writing on those glorified things turns those into mere words, but breaking them and analyzing them in fiction makes them real. you feel the importance and enjoy them, adore them with real passion.

      I am sure you will not be able to speak language other than what you use for business and what you need in your home, you never play games, you never go out with friends without purpose, you feel stressed if some one over takes you, you will violate all rules to over take him again, you will proudly say that you wont waste a single minute and use every hour productivity. you will either work or sleep.

      Wake up. …………..

      Maya

      • Wow… this post has crossed 100 comments, and it’s time to celebrate , Pallavi.

        And, our friend US Tamilan has gone to the extent of posting the facebook messages we exchanged here, to portray his righteousness :-). And, as I said earlier, it’s these kind of pseudo ‘rightists’ who cause harm to majority of people in this country 🙂

        Okay. My reply to US Tamilan will be – It was he who started bombarding me with his messages (in which he started attacking me there, all the while staging a pathetic act of trying to be a literary critic here). Who gave him the right to state that the translation I am working currently will be ‘fucked up’? Well, my reply to whomsoever sending me a message like that will be, obviously, to send the same word as a token of my appreciation, to the same idiot 🙂

        If US Tamilan cribs here, that I’m attacking him verbally, it’s he who was responsible. Who asked him to send funny messages in FB, and when I retort back, he starts crying here 🙂

        One last request to US Tamilan – Dear ‘righteous’ guy… Somehow it appears here, by seeing ur comments, that your language is good. So, why don’t you offer to help me in my translation of Rasaleela? 🙂 .. I can send you the transcripts, and you can proof read them, just the way you are reading Charu forcefully, without missing even a single comma? what say, fella?

        ps:- 1. I prescribe US Tamilan to relax himself :-)- may be by attending a yoga therapy – as his comments here proves to me time and again, that he is at his peak of mental torture.

        2. I found the word ‘diatribe’ up above in one of his comments.. Finding out that particular comment doesn’t work out, as his ‘graffiti’ is all over the place :-)… Anyway, lemme come to the point. If this US Tamilan, who is afraid to post comments in his own name and takes various avatars here in many different anonymous names – which again proves to me that he is really afraid to argue with his original identity – says that word, all the while trying to character assassinate Charu, that word loses it’s meaning, is it not? 🙂

        I posted a simple test to that guy. By giving him his own medicine. And now, see his whining in all of his comments… 🙂

        Seems that this anonymous coward can attack anyone, and when someone offers him his same words, he shows us his real form. Which is, a cry baby 🙂 … Heights of cowardice, my fellow 🙂

        3. I think it’s better not to respond to his comments. Even if someone responds with just a full stop, he licks his tongue and starts writing passages of junk :-).. Leave him alone Pallavi, Green, Maya and others.. Ignoring anonymous guys is the best punishment to them. 🙂

      • Hehe. This post has gotten my blog more views than I’ve had with all the posts combined together, and it’s ironic considering I started off this year wanting to keep this blog purely as a personal exercise on reading and writing, readers be damned.

        And don’t explain yourself, Rajesh. You’re right, we’re giving fodder to ignoramuses.

        I’m pretty much through trying to allow anyone to comment now. My bullshit detector is on high alert. People, don’t bother commenting unless you have something literary to say.

  49. Looking at how you guys are OK with incest, perversions, crude sex, paedophilia, etc, and keep justifying them, it is time for me to get the hell out of here! No point in banging my head against a concrete wall because you guys will stick to your stand with respect to these and keep justifying Charu’s writings as work of art!

    Good Bye!

  50. hi US Tamilan, have you wondered why ‘chaa-nee’ (abreviation for ‘charunivedita in Tamil) has these kind of fans who would call him ‘ultimate writer’ and so..? I never get surprised as it is in our Great Tamilnadu guys like TRajendar have a huge following too…..! I always remember that the great Sujatha once referred to chaa-nee’s writings as “oRRai ezuththu in Tamil…” !! Who else is more qualified to rate chaa-nee’s writings, and what else could be a better description of his writing than ‘piii..”???

  51. When I was a child, a person claiming to be my aunt’s husband’s second cousin visited my house. As it was the custom in those days, my parents hosted him and fed him three square meals for three days. He claimed that he was in the armed services, honorably discharged, and looking for work. He told the children of the house many stories of his life: how beautiful the Himalayas are; how it is to feel sub-zero temperatures; how to evade bombs; how to take on your opponent bearing a knife; etc., etc. The man was a master story teller. A week or two after he left, we came to know that he was in the Tamil Nadu Police Department as a constable under probation, caught taking a bribe or committing another petty crime, and dismissed, and he has never been to anywhere outside Tamil Nadu. The man was a humbug, but that does not change the fact that he was also a master story teller. The same applies to Charu.

    For two years or so, Charuonline.com hosted a hyperlink that screamed “I saw God.” The God was Mister Nithyananda. One fine day, the hyperlink vanished. Charu claimed that his blog was hacked and all posts were lost. Soon after Nithyananda scandal came out in the public. Any decent person would have apologized for promoting someone like Nithyananda. Charu went on a tirade: against Nithyananda; against his own devotees who felt betrayed that their messiah had led them to the wrong God and fewer pocket change; and against his critics who lampooned him for once again proving to be the jester that he is. As his God fell from the pedestal, so did his formidable linguistic skills. His terse response then was to call everyone an “ass licker”: Nithyananda was described as the one who licked the asses of actresses; and Jeyamohan, who posted a hilarious blog on the topic was called as the one who licked the asses of movie directors.

    The same Charu is capable of producing a high work of art like Zero Degree. I think it is in Zero Degree, he says something to the effect: ‘Do not try to understand me through my text because I do not write my text.’ Critics of Charu: please separate the text and the writer; judge them independently; and then decide whether you still want to reject the text.

  52. I was just trying to put you into circumstances from where Charu’s work begin;felt that will help you to understand why the language is crude,why incest happen etc..felt like you were trying to understand;so thought could share what i knew.

    If we need to understand charu’s art;we need to put ourselves into the circumstances of the fictional characters and not to put the fictional characters into our life circumstances.If we gonna continously put the fictional characters into our life circumstances,we are gonna become a lunatic.

    If your very firm that charu’s work are crap;so mote it be.I have got nothing else to say.I didn’t intend to hurt you;If i had been rude that was accidental.Have ignored many of your personal questions because i believed that to be accidental too.

  53. Why is this so complicated… you like it read it.. if you dont like it dont read it… if you have already read it thinking it to be good but that has failed your expectation that should be ok.. coz life works that way…. India has a very less reading population and amongst them people who read charu are even lesser.. so nobody is doing any harm to anybody.. Charu writes what he likes to write.. read it if you like it or move on to other writers.. talking bad about a person who has done nothing to us or the community… sounds indifferent…

    If you think his work is having a bad influence on the community what about other problems like corruption, poverty, red tapism, political fiascos, dynasty rule.. and other problems that are washing away our country.. lets focus on our main problems and leave charu alone.. buy his books if you enjoy his writing or move on..

    just because someone doesnt write the way you like doesnt give you the right to speak whatever you like…

    I am not expecting any harsh reply.. but anyways life is all about failing expectations :p

  54. Again, errors in the comments with the links. Hence, I have decided to give the links as they are. Hence, you can delete my previous 2 comments, and can publish this one Pallavi. This is final.

    Very little of Charu’s works have been translated in English so far. A lot remains in Tamil, untranslated. I’m giving here a short story of Charu, named ‘Morgue Keeper’, translated by Pritam Chakravarthy, which appeared in Tehelka. Also, currently Charu is writing columns in Asian age. Giving those links too. I don’t know how many of the readers will read them. Nevertheless, it’ll be good if they are read, to give the readers a glimpse of his writing, other than Zero Degree, in english.

    1.Morgue Keeper – http://www.tehelka.com/story_main43.asp?filename=Ne090110morgue_keeper.asp

    2. Asian Age articles

    Love, in Pixels – http://www.asianage.com/columnists/love-pixels-391
    Paris musings – http://www.asianage.com/columnists/paris-musings-273

  55. I am in 100% agreement with Uglywords that Charu Niveditha’s writing is not porn. He is least inhibited when it comes to the use of genitalia or graphic description of sexual acts. Rarely readers experience any sexual stimulation by reading it. Mostly a feeling of revulsion occurs. It is a deliberate method used by him to lead readers into his subject. Many readers stumble on this particular aspect and completely lose him.

    Regarding repetitiveness, I think the problem is that Charu Niveditha is not a prolific writer. He writes slowly, and is distracted by a number of things (most of it his own doing). Many times in his blog, he would write a post that is only 7-8 paragraphs long, and remark that was the only thing he could write the whole day. He reuses much of what he writes on his blogs in his novels, so it seems like he does not write much. The gap between his first and second novels was more than 10 years. Now, he tries to write one a year targeting the Chennai book fair. I don’t think he has sufficient stuff or stamina to write so frequently and create quality work. That’s why most of his works after Zero Degree are sub-par.

  56. Hi,

    I read your review of ‘Zero Degree’ with interest. I have read a few of Charu’s novels, ‘Existentialism and Fancy Banian’, ‘Zero Degree’, and more recently ‘Setham’. I read all those novels in Tamil.

    I think a writer has the right to write anything that he or she feels like without any social/moral obligation. However, my overall impression of Charu’s writing is as follows (Charu’s avid fans do not read below, you are forewarned).

    1) The strength of Charu’s writing is the fluency that keeps the reader engaged in the book even if he/she does not understand it. In my view, I think, Charu does not write novels. Anyone who has visited Charu’s website knows that Charu has a knack for coming up with good titles for his blog posts, and keep the snippets interesting to read. He employs his strength. So, his novels can be summarized as a collection of short posts all sharing some aspect of the writer’s character. What is this aspect, one may ask. That leads us to point #2.

    2) Charu’s style of non-linear story telling is affected, i.e., a technical accomplishment. The essence of Charu’s characters depict one of the following characteristics: (a) a peasant’s righteous rebellion against the vulgarity of pseudo-intellectuals or hierarchy or order, (b) characters that take a particular trait to the extreme (Setham) to expose the absurdity of it, or (c) a self-referential construct in which, the character that rails against an injustice is itself unjust. Mix them up, and throw some allusions, voila, a novel. One additional ingredient that Charu uses to keep things spicy is point #3.

    3) Make the book a cross-word puzzle by name dropping or other literary allusions or other events. This raises the literary quotient in the novel (for those who are not familiar with those famous spanish writers). This is often a deliberate, transparent trap set for a lay reader. For example, this reviewer quotes the episode where, ‘Muniyandi starts to make 18 copies’, and its possible link with Bhagawat Gita. So, what? Charu, cleverly never takes on anything directly or in depth. It is just a construct. Other reviewers’ have pointed to the absence of a period or full stop. So what?

    Overall, I find his writing, after the first novel, to be repetitive and somewhat predictable. The unpredictability that he attempts to introduce is deliberate. I also get the impression that Charu is hoping for a ‘slumdog millionaire’ effect, where pornography of Indian poverty could vault him to the appreciation of a western audience.

    When I finished reading his books, I cannot help but get the feeling of the author deliberately trying to ‘shock’ the sensibilities without demonstrating the depth of perception or the writing skill and intellectual honesty necessary to tackle such complex issues. The violence, sex, and mindless nature of the society are just simple constructs to elicit shock among the readers, and the name dropping is meant to delude the reader into believing that there is more meaning in these words than their marketing value.

    I might be wrong, but so far, I have not heard anything in depth, either from Charu himself or the reviews of his books that have been published so far about the nature and the quality of Charu’s books.

    Raja

    • Raja, it took 120+ comments for this most intelligent rebuttal to be articulated. I could hug you right now. 🙂

      I guess I’m not one of Charu’s most avid fans because I actually shared your skepticism much of the time while I was reading the book. But past halfway, the book gained a certain momentum and gravitas for me, and I think the ideas that Charu wanted to express were better expressed past the second half, when there were fewer Spanish/French writers referenced, but their ideas were seeping through the book better. I dwelled on several of the issues you mentioned after I finished the book, and it came down on the side that I felt there was serious merit in the writing. But I understand utterly where you are coming from.

      Thank you, very sincerely, for commenting.

      • Thank you for the kind words, Pallavi.

        Referring to your website is one thing that I am very thankful to Charu for. I will be a frequent visitor, and I look forward to more posts.

        Raja

  57. I have read many of Charu’s books and articles. Style of writing in Zero Degree (in tamil) is something that most of the readers in Tamil are not exposed to. I was really confused for the better part of the first half and had to force myself to finish the second part. I am not sure I would say I liked it but it made for an interesting read. I got on with RasaLeela, Thegam and Exile (all tamil) and I should say Thegam turned out to be a damp squib and least of my favorite as it was too graphic and gory in details (not my cup of tea).

    His recent novel Exile is a hodgepodge/mishmash of blogs, letters, emails, sms, chat messages, corporate swamis, vedhas, recipes for cooking, aphrodisiac, making money, all info from the internet on sages, maps, ingredients for cooking, french, latin, middle eastern literature, yantra making process, Iyappa songs, a full page of a girl screaming “oghad oghad”, horoscopes, FB/Twitter statuses, cinema rumors, women dresses (g-string), Lara Fabian, yoga, siddha, ayurvedha, etc, etc. It was pieced together from his web pages, current affairs, his brush with spirituality, etc.

    I feel that the quality of his writing has been going down since Zero Degree/RasaLeela. Not sure if he is out of ideas or trying to emulate the Latin/French writers instead of focusing on his strengths.

  58. hmm…..I don’t find charu’s way of story telling Non-linear…I personally find it very linear…(i am not trying to shock or delude anyone here…i am just putting my genuine thoughts on how i look at his text…)The so call non-linearity,continous writing without any full stops,bunch of words etc..are very natural with me…it’s not a style of writing….it depicts a state of mind…a Schiziod…to write something like this which looks non-linear but actually linear…someone need to be there…you should have experienced it or i dont think anyother “OR” is possible…What you call non-linear,what you call a cross word,what you think weird…have been my natural state for hours together…So for me personally his writing style is like looking myself into a mirror…when i look into a text that resembles my thought process,it brings in a euphorie….

    We can create our own constructs out of his works…very true…but all of his text has a very particular meaning…we can deconstruct only if we could transform oursleves into those characters and i personally feel his writing makes transforming into some other a easy one…But looking onto very many post regarding charu’s work…i feel the transformation has not been possible with many…dont really understand if the reader has failed? or charu has failed?..may be both…

    These are my constructs made out of charu’s work of fiction…And when i read his interviews and other essays…I find my constructs very similiar to what he himself has said about his writing…தாந்தேயின் சிறுத்தை,ஒழுங்கின்மையின் வெறியாட்டம்(collection of hi interviews),வரம்பு மீறிய பிரதிகள் – He has said in depth about what his works represents in these 3 books…For those who don’t understand tamil…Kathy acker,BUkowski,shoukri represents similiar philsophies…(Read a few translation made by charu and pieces of text here and there and feels like they are all the same..)…Musically i could say Eminem(Charu has written about eminem in his preface for Rasaleela)…their politics are the same…even their writing styles seems to be similiar…

    Ahhhhhhhhhhh..what you have called name dropping,literary allusions are very much related with his work…for me those name droppings are like”Ahhh…there are very many like me…it gives me a kind of identity…a kind of peace…it let’s me know i am not alone…

    i dont feel like he is trying to shock anyone’s sensibilities..personally i feel the shock arises with people who aren’t able to transform…these issues get complex just because we aren’t able to love others as much as we love ourselves….All we need is love but it doesn’t happen…when there will be authority love cannot happen…

    and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.(Ephesians 3:19)

  59. I don’t remember exactly if it comes in Zero degree or any other of charu’s novel..A guy masturbating inside the temple premises…is that in zero degree…?What thoughts does the masturbating scene brings in?How do you deconstruct it?anyone to share your views?

    • I am keenly observing these comments… and of course I was very much upset with Raja’s. but I cant expect everyone to go on my line of thinking. I have a 25 page answer for Raja’s observations. And, I wrote it in my three books which sasi sekar referred to. The reason I get upset is, I have dealt with these questions umpteenth times in my interviews and articles. Now, I fully agree with sasi sekar. About the name dropping thing… my god! I am not simply dropping names baba… I have translated all the authors I have mentioned… About sasi’s query… that paricular incident appears in my first novel “existentialisamum fancy baniyanum”… Thanks

      • Had it been in Zero degree…I just thought of deconstructing why he masturbates in the temple and why it was not intend to shock anyone and why putting in more detailed information into the scene will make it lose its beauty…ok…if someone could specify any shocking scene in zero degree;i will try putting my thoughts on why it was not meant to shock and why it’s beautiful too…another thing i personally feel reading Charu is;he has been restricting himself by not writing many a things due to the social situation that prevails here….if he writes he should die…the literature that he has been associated with are generally more crude;he has brought more poetry in it and i feel that is more because of the social situation that prevails here…..i might be wrong too…

  60. Hi… a word from me. Charu has always mentioned that there are two schools of thought in Tamil literature so far. 1. Nakulan school of thought and 2. Sundara Ramasamy school of thought. A few members of the first school of thought are Asokamithran, Aadhavan, Konangi (drop out), Gopi Krishnan & Charu Nivedita whereas, a few members of the second school of thought are Jeyamohan, Naanjil Naadan etc…

    Point to be noted here are that the members of the second school, whose literature predominantly contains the ‘rightist’ mentality – where sex is just a one liner (combined with morality) – can never enjoy the literature of the first school, as the first school contains literature interwoven with sex, vices and all the ‘De Sade’ potions.

    I remembered this when I looked in to the comment of Mr. Raja, in whose blog, I found an article about ‘Theerakkadhali’ (the book authored by Charu which talks about the superstars of the bygone era of Tamil cinema), stating that the book is a telephone directory . His blog (where I was able to read comments by A.V Suresh, who has obviously ‘brought in’ Raja to comment here) speaks volumes about Raja, who, undoubtedly belongs to the second school of thought. My personal thought – let’s bring Bataille or De Sade or Sontag or kathy Acker to Raja and let’s hear his opinion. I’m quite sure he will reject these writers too.

    That, precisely, is the issue here in Tamil Nadu. People never understand that there is a stream of literature following the footsteps of De Sade and Bataille and would like to humiliate those writers verbally, or physically.

    In his books and interviews, Charu has always been answering to all the questions asked by the commenters here (who say that the violence, sex are for shock value). I would suggest them to read the books and the interviews, without which, the stereotyped question will again and again rise.

  61. Vast majority of Charu’s troubles are his own doing. Those that are not can be attributed to either his gurus or sishyas.

    I am quite amused to note that I had ‘brought in’ Raja. I don’t know the special significance of the quotes used in ‘brought in’ but perhaps Mr Raja could himself, if he ever gets a chance to check my comments, clarify what ‘brought’ him ‘in.’ Till then it would be safe for the readers to assume that Mr Raja, like most of us, followed the link on Charuonline.com to visit this blog and comment. I must however congratulate Scorp Da Sleuth for proudly presenting the indisputable proof that I once commented on a blog post by Mr Raja. Sir, I am guilty as you charge. I do recall scribbling something on someone’s post about Theerakaathali that it was a sub-standard work. Years later Mamallan ripped this work apart with ample evidences, and the only response from Charu was to call Mamallan names. However, this discussion is not about the columns written by Charu. We are discussing about his novels.

    The schism in contemporary Tamil literature that the Sleuth presents is a proposal by Charu indeed. But, Sleuth’s interpretation that the basis of this separation is writing uninhibited about sex is false. As per Charu, the two schools are separated by their respective approaches to life. Charu’s school founded by Pramil, Nakulan, etc. approaches life as a joyous celebration. The other school founded by Sundararamasamy approaches life as a quest towards virtue, especially moral righteousness. This classification is disputable. You can perhaps try to club various literary works into one box or the other. But, you can’t box a specific writer one way or another. If so, where exactly Sundararamasamy of Pillai Keduthaal Vilai or Jeyamohan of Mathagam would fit? What work of Ashokamitran more fits in the school of joyous celebration than in the school of virtues? How would you classify Ki Rajanaranayan or Kanmani Gunasekaran in this schism? The classification has no merit and deservedly no one in contemporary Tamil literature has given it a second thought.

    Da Sishya has surely done a great disservice to his Master by presenting the Master’s works as a continuum of a school of art, real or imaginary, Indian or Western. I believe that Charu broke a new ground in Tamil literature with his novels like Existentialisamum Fancy Banianum and Zero Degree. He is quite a unique and original writer in this sense. Unfortunately, his Sishayas lack original and critical thinking that they are forced to regurgitate what the Master has taught them. This is indeed the pathetic state of contemporary Tamil literature.

  62. I am quite amused, to read the reply of A.V Suresh here. Reason being, whatever I said about the rightists and their fans, not understanding about the genre of literature which Charu belongs, has totally been misunderstood by Suresh, who, in the spur of commenting, may have missed it.

    Anyway, lemme again reiterate: Whatever I said about writers like De Sade, Bataille, Kathy Acker, pertains to the particular genre in which they write. There is nothing wrong in saying that Charu belongs to that genre, when we start to compare about the different genres. Even Charu has mentioned the same, in his interviews, that after he started to write, he came to knew about these writers, and noticed the similarity. About Suresh’s statement in the last para, I think the difference is quite obvious. I didn’t say Charu is not a unique writer or that he is not an original writer, but I mentioned about a few similar writers. That’s all.

    Then, about Suresh saying that the classification is false etc… well, as I have already said in this comment thread, everybody has their opinion about things. Nothing wrong that he thinks it’s wrong.
    But, just looking at the manner in which he declares, as if he alone knows everything, is quite funny to look at 🙂

    And, about the other references as ‘Sishya’, ‘Sleuth’ blah blah… Verily, a man from the second school of thought, where writers and their fans behave as a guruji and sishya, can only refer the same about the others. Hence, I don’t mind it. I can understand. I checked Raja’s blog, which stands as an evidence to whatever I said about the rightist writers. I found the comment there, in the post Raja has written about ‘Theeraakkaadhali’. The rightists, attacking charu and the charu fans replying back, is nothing new, as it can be found throughout the comment section here. I found the Theeraakkadhali article in the same category. I mentioned that Suresh has brought in Raja, as, the article has been written in aug 2011, and suresh has commented there in feb 2012 :-). I know suresh will again start writing a paragraph about the co-incidence. Anyways, I’m here 🙂

    Well, about ‘Theerakkadhali’, so far I have only heard Maamallan crying out loud. I know it ‘s been hailed by a lot of fans. For that matter, Mamallan used to randomly choose a writer a day, to vehemently attack, in his blog. Everybody knows it out there. To see Suresh refer to Maamallan as the ultimate critic, is quite laughable. Mamallan served only as a proof reader, finding out the spelling mistakes, reference errors, punctuation marks etc, and crying out loud about them.

    Finally, whatever I have said about the rightist writers and their sincere disciples, has not been replied so far, as I think, Mr Raja would visit the comment section to reply back. I will come back tomorrow here.

    • In my response, I was simply expressing my take on Charu’s writings, and I have no ill-will toward him or his fans.

      1) The blog referred by Mr. Da Scorp (baski-reviews.blogspot.com) is run by a team of four friends. I write under the pseudonym Karikalan, and the credit for the post about Theeraakathali goes to a friend of mine (clayhorse) – who is an avid reader. They were his views.

      2) The blog is just a hobby to share our reading pleasure. I personally do not know anyone who comments on the blog including Mr. Suresh.

      I hope these clarifications would move the discussion away from the personalities and toward the review. I have marked the books referred by Mr. Sasi Sekar, and I would read them.

      Raja

  63. One more thing. To Mr. Suresh. I know you will reply again with a huge paragraph, and it will go on. I think let’s put a full stop here. You have expressed what ever you wanted, and I have expressed my opinion. For how long can this debate prolong? Even Pallavi has written a few articles after this one. Hence, I personally think it’s better if we too move on. On my side, I find it’s difficult to sit and compose a huge comment, denying another person’s comment or debating with another guy. Instead, I can do something productive (Translating Rasaleela or write in my own blog). Hence, me signing off from the comment section :-). In case if you still want to argue, send me messages to my facebook id, for which I shall reply whenever I find time. c ya

  64. Rajesh, I understand you are a busybody. Take delight: I am not writing this response for you; you can focus on your more important works. After all, you can’t present the premise of the central dogma of your gurunatha correctly and defend it well. Have you ever said anything original in the 10+ comments you have made in this discussion? Whatever you have said has already been said by Charu. I read Charuonline.com, and I prefer hearing The Master than a broken record of His Master’s Voice.

    In my last comment, I said that the classification in contemporary Tamil literature proposed by Charu is not valid. Charu has many uses for the classification such as establishing himself as one of the deities in the pantheon of Tamil literary Gods; lampooning those with whom he differs, etc. But, he also uses the classification to build his central dogma which is essential to understand Charu’s novels. He says that those who approach human life as a quest to virtues, especially moral righteousness, seek vehemently an order that leads to aggression of one man against another in the form of authority, laws, rules and regulations. He describes his writing as a struggle against this oppression. As a biologist, I think his understanding is not consistent with the laws of nature. As an ordinary human being, I believe that his reasoning is nonsense. But, I feel that the point of view that he provides is worth further thought not just to understand his writings, but about myself and the entire world. My admiration for him is for the boldness with which he has put forth his views, the tenacity with which he has defended the views, the clarity with which he expresses his views and the creativity of his expression. Those who stop reading Charu because of who he is as a person or because of vulgarity in his works, lose a valuable perspective in life.

    • It’s subtle, but it’s there. And it’s Indian in its own way, which is exciting. Thanks for your comment, Bhupinder. 🙂

  65. It has taken over three hours to read all the comments published here.And it’s been an absorbing journey -sans a few gentlemen’s personal attack. Messrs A.V.Suresh and Raja sound like my alias. I don’t rate Charu Nivedita too highly as a litterateur but I keep reading him. Coz,as a WRITER,his contribution cannot be undermined.Suresh has summarized things beautifully : “Those who stop reading Charu because of who he is as a person or because of vulgarity in his works, lose a valuable perspective in life.” A good example of this can be seen in an otherwise mediocre ‘Kaamarooba Kadhaigal’: “க்யூவில் நின்று வேசியிடம் செல்லும் பயல்களுக்கு பெருமாளின் உளவியல் சிக்கல் எப்படி புரியும்?” I feel sorry for this rough translation :”Men who are lined up to visit prostitutes cannot understand the psychological complexity Perumal undergoes”.

    As for Zero Degree, it sure is a landmark in modern Tamil literature- but only for its form and not content. Charu has been unable to tell the story of someone’s pain without sounding romantic. This has been a feature of all his fiction. Thanks.

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