Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hindu militants suppress criticism

Penguin Books India has agreed to recall and destroy all remaining copies of a book on Hinduism by Wendy Doniger,  a leading American academic, according to reports.

Her book ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’  has been accused of being insulting to Hindus and containing what they described as "heresies". The Hindu campaign group Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti’s  president, Dina Nath Batra, told the AFP news agency the book was focused on "sex and eroticism".
"She denounced the Hindu Gods and freedom fighters of India," the group's lawyer, Monika Arora.

 Wendy Doniger issued a statement saying she was deeply angered and concerned for freedom of speech in India. "The true villain of this piece," she said, is "the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offence to publish a book that offends any Hindu, a law that jeopardises the physical safety of any publisher, no matter how ludicrous the accusation brought against a book."

A counter petition supporting the books and a point-by-point refutation of the “heresy" claims can be read here.

Indian cabinet minister Jairam Ramesh told the Press Trust of India the decision was "atrocious", adding the book was "not blasphemous by any means".

Historian Ramachandra Guha called the news "deeply disappointing".
"The answer to a book one doesn't like is another book, not a ban, or legal action, or physical intimidation"

A earlier SOYMB post on Hinduism and caste here

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