Month: October 2012

  • 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 […]

  • Banned Books Week: Mukul Kesavan on common responses

    (Note: Though this was written after a particular event at the Jaipur Literature Festival, 2012, many of the arguments about provocation, the responsibility of the artist and the threat of violence Mukul Kesavan summarises below are made every time there’s a book/ film ban or a censorship debate in India. The question Kesavan raises towards […]

  • Banned Books Week: Chiki Sarkar, from the publisher’s desk

    I am writing here as a publisher and as someone who has to deal with injunctions against books on a regular basis. I wanted to use this blog to think a little about how these injunctions work and what they mean for us publishers. In the last year at Penguin, I have encountered two injunctions […]

  • Banned Books Week: Sanjay Sipahimalani, Three Episodes

    My Satanic Verses: Three Episodes Sanjay Sipahimalani  1988. I rush to the bookshop the moment I hear the news. Smirking, the bookseller tells me that the few copies they received have been sold and, because of the ban, no more are forthcoming. I take this personally, spending many hours in the following days pestering the road-side […]