Just when it seemed the ghosts of American scholar James W. Laine’s controversial book on Shivaji had been buried, comes a state ban on another book by the same author. Curiously, The Epic of Shivaji
was published by Orient Longman in 2001, two years before Laine’s Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India
triggered a public outcry here, including an attack on the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune, in January ’04. The objections were over certain references in the book about Shivaji’s parentage. Now, four uneventful years after the 386-page translation of Sivabharata
, a classical Sanskrit poem composed by the Maratha warrior king’s court poet Kavindra Paramananda first hit the stands, the 32-page introductory study by Laine seems a law and order risk. They say it contains "derogatory remarks" about Shivaji and "could spark off social instability".
In 2004, the state had registered offences against Laine for inflammatory writing. Deputy CM R.R. Patil had even...