Another one. The previous one worked, so naturally there’s another one! Just as all the commentators pointed out.
BANGALORE: Within weeks of Penguin controversially recalling Wendy Doniger’s book, ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’, another publisher, Aleph, pulled out the American author’s previous work, ‘On Hinduism’, on Tuesday. Bookshops across Bangalore received calls from representatives of Aleph Book Company, promoted by Rupa Publications, seeking return of all copies of the book.
Confirming the move, an Aleph spokesman said, “We don’t want to get involved in any controversy. Officials from our Delhi office sent a clear message to us — recall all copies of ‘On Hinduism’ we had sold to across Karnataka. We got back about 100 copies till Tuesday evening.”
Just like that. Not a four year struggle, as with Penguin, but just a demand followed by obedience.
Advocate Lawrence Liang of the Bangalore-based Alternative Law Forum, who had filed a legal notice on Penguin India over the withdrawal of Doniger’s book, described Aleph’s step as “terrible”.
“It’s absolutely shameful and ridiculous. If you want a publisher to withdraw a book, all you have to do is file a police complaint. Reading has no future in this country,” Liang said.
‘The Hindus’ had been recalled by Penguin following protests by a little-known organization’ Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, on grounds that its contents were “derogatory and offensive to Hinduism” and misrepresented facts. The Samiti upped the ante last week and demanded ‘On Hinduism’ be withdrawn as well, as it too was “malicious and offending.”
Well of course it did. The bullying worked, so naturally the Samiti did it again – and this time obedience took not four years but a few days.
India might as well just pass a law telling everyone to forget how to read.