Category Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week: Prem Panicker, Bringing Up Father

Bringing up Father Prem Panicker   My father taught me to read. In imperceptible stages he widened my horizons, broadened my mind, inculcated an eclectic taste that endures long after his passing. Then one day, I taught my father to read. I was around 16 at the time. My father walked into my room looking […]

Banned Books Week: Rules For Citizens, Jeet Thayil

RULES FOR CITIZENS A poem by Jeet Thayil Let us govern those who undertake the telling of stories. Censorship is good governance. Self-censorship is an attribute of the highest civilization. If an actor speaks of God, he will be chastised. He will be refused an encore. If he repeats the speech, he will have his […]

Banned Books Week: Lawrence Liang, “The Process is the Punishment”

The process is the bloody punishment Lawrence Liang Sec. 153A of the Indian Penal Code – that favored child of the religious right- provides for punishment of upto three years imprisonment for the promotion by words (spoken or written) of disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will between religious communities. The punishment laid down […]

Banned Books Week: “The State’s Duty”

“The State’s Duty” Samanth Subramanian (First published in the New York Times’ India Ink blog, February 2012) On several occasions already, in what is still a very new year, various arms of the Indian state have recused themselves from their duty of protecting free speech, citing the threat of violence as fair justification. The Rajasthan police have been […]

Banned Books Week: Sedition edition

Section 124-A, under which I am happily charged, is perhaps the prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizens. Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by law. If one has an affection(sic) for a person or system, one should be free to give the fullest […]

Banned Books Week: Gautam John on the freedom to read

The Freedom To Read, in India Gautam John It isn’t always necessary to ban a book to ensure it isn’t read. With six in ten children unable to read grade 2 texts and half of all children in public schools graduating without being able to read fluently, most books will remain unread. The public education […]

Banned Books Week: Thomas Abraham on Reading the Bans

 Reading the bans Thomas Abraham I had promised to send this in last weekend. Irony or serendipity, call it what you will… the reason I was delayed was because of having to cope with the first call to censor JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy for hurting religious sentiments. And emanating from no less a body than the […]

Banned Books Week: The Freedom To Read

To mark Banned Books Week, held worldwide from September 30 to October 7, this blog will carry a few posts every day for the next week on the freedom to read (and book bans).  Beyond book bans and clear-cut instances of censorship, Banned Books Week is about, “the value of free and open access to […]

Banned Books Week: Arunava Sinha on many Ramayanas

By Arunava Sinha How about banning this?  Here are two short passages from two famously funny plays written in Bengali several decades ago. For, they make fun of – without malice, in pure humour – one of the most revered figures of the Hindu pantheon, the mythically immortal Hanuman.  One possible reason for there being […]

Banned Books Week: Mihir Sharma on defending bad art

Trash Bans by Mihir Sharma I am tired of having to defend bad things. Yet apparently one must, once someone bans them. Taslima Nasreen could perhaps be the most awful writer to emerge out of the Bengali-speaking world, but we all bought her book anyway, to show we were free-speech fans. The Satanic Verses was […]

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