If I don’t like a book

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Is India going to put its liberal values and freedom to speech aside? Sadly yes, as is evident from the power extremist groups are gaining day by day. A group of leading Indian and international academics have criticised Penguin-India’s decision to make an out-of-court agreement with a group that has vehemently opposed a book by Wendy Doniger, ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’. Instead of fighting the case in courts to come to some logical conclusion, it decided to recall and destroy all the unsold copies of Wendy’s book.

India is fast changing in an already changed world around it. India’s most famous artist of present times — Maqbool Fida Hussain was forced to flee the country by religious extremists; he died abroad. Not only Hindus but other religious groups also keep trying to stop or threaten this very essential freedom of speech by violent means. Sadly it’s not only India but its neighbours are also moving towards medieval times. It’s time for academics, intellectuals, artists to join hands to keep extremist groups at defensive, not on offensive. Historian Ramchandra Guha has put the extremists issue in perspective by declaring: “The answer to a book one doesn’t like is another book, not a ban, or legal action, or physical intimidation”. Let’s see when religious extremist groups will come forward with a pen and a paper, not a gun or a sword.

MASOOD KHAN

Jubail, Saudi Arabia

3 COMMENTS

  1. INDIAN SOCIETY HAS NOT BECOME SO LIBERAL TO ACCEPT RELIGIUOS RELATED COMMENTS, B IT HINDU OR…

  2. This Ramachandr Guha is no big historian and he secular' Marxist follower who is happy when he is denigrating Hindus.

  3. I think the writer of this letter has veiled his feelings against the outrage of the Hindu extremists. The Penguin Publishing Co. India has done the right thing. They fought the case for the last four years. They were receiving threats from extremist groups. With out going in to the merit or the demerit of the Donigar's book, I woukd say the Hindus have every right to denounce and protest against this kind of a book. It 's content is objectionasble , provoking, and discredits their religion Hinduism.

    It is not a simple matter of Freedom of expression or speech, but the freedom of religion too. There are two competing interests and freedoms pitched against each other. I think it was also one of the consideration for this decision of the Penguin. At least the matter has been settled amicably.

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