02 March, 2021

Banished From The Bookshelves

Six authors tell their stories about what it is like to see their life’s work go waste.

Banished From The Bookshelves

The World Book Fair on in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan was to be the protest ground against the “withdrawing and pulping” of Wendy Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History. On the afternoon of Saturday, February 15, the day the fair opened, there were about a dozen people herded together by the Shiksha Bachao Andolan, the outfit that sought the banning of the book, outside Hall No. 11 where the Penguin stall is, shouting ‘Wendy Doniger Hai Hai’. Some members of the group were reportedly going around urging bystanders to join in their protest to swell up their numbers, pointing out the book is a blot on their religion. Only a bewildered few stayed, most others just walked away.

Across from the Shiksha Bachao Andolan camp, there was another protest group, of intellectuals, academics, liberal thinkers and students, raising slogans against the state and the publisher for ‘banning’ The Hindus, and bravely reading passages from it. Soon enough, as could be expected, the pro-ban group started hurling...

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