Nilanjana Bhowmick at the Time website explains why Dinanath Batra has bullied Penguin into recalling and destroying Doniger’s book.
First of all, she makes a factual claim that I hadn’t seen before.
Penguin Books India has agreed to recall and pulp all copies in India of The Hindus: An Alternative History by U.S. scholar Wendy Doniger, raising concerns over freedom of expression in the world’s largest democracy.
Only in India? I thought it was all copies, period.
The move by one of India’s major book publishers is a settlement with members of the Hindu group Shiksha Bachao Andolan, which has filed civil and criminal cases over the work.
In a conversation with TIME, Shiksha Bachao Andolan president Dinanath Batra explains why he thinks Doniger’s book hurts Hindu sentiments and is propagating lies about Hindu deities and national icons. No stranger to controversy, Batra had earlier taken on Indian educational boards for what he says have been distortion of facts and has actively opposed and subsequently stopped the introduction of sex education in Indian schools, saying it was against Hindu culture and religion.
In other words he’s an experienced religious bully.
TIME: What are your objections to Wendy Doniger’s book, The Hindus?
Batra: Her intention is bad, the content is anti-national and the language is abusive. Her agenda is to malign Hinduism and hurt the feelings of Hindus.
Sigh. Is he six? He sounds as if he’s six.
Why does it matter so much to you about what someone writes about Hinduism?
If someone makes a cartoon of the prophet Mohammad, Muslims are outraged around the world. So why should anyone write anything against Hinduism and get away with it? It matters because this book is hurting the sentiments of Hindus all over the world. I am a Hindu. When I read the book, I felt hurt. It hurt my sentiments.
I guess he is six. It’s funny that a child of six is running this organization that people pay attention to, and being interviewed by Time.
Will you protest against every book that doesn’t fit your idea of Hinduism?
We are against anything that hurts people’s religious sentiments. Our movement is aimed at cleansing distortions from education in India. We have also taken on the Indian educational boards for wrong facts in their textbooks. We will protest against any book that portrays a negative image of our society.
We think everyone is six. We speak for all the people who are six.
Don’t you worry that your objections might seem outdated in today’s modern world?
We are not against modernity, but we are against westernization.
By “westernization” he means “being older than six.”