Writing is like T20 batting. If you block, you might as well retire to the pavilion! -- Pete Langman
Expat in Germany

Monday, February 24, 2014

Because What You Read Matters!!

So much controversy over one book!! Hindus: An Alternative History has really made history by being discontinued by its publisher, Penguin India whose motto is, " Because What You Read Matters"!! The author, Wendy Doniger is, one, a historian and two, is not an anti-hindu like many authors in India itself. Though her book has many mistakes temporally, geographically and historically, I wonder if it was more economical for the publisher to discontinue the book rather than making corrections. Either way, it is better to get facts right whatever your opinion is while writing books, especially such controversial ones!!(If it is popularity you want, then this is a bea...utiful way to gain it!!)
Freedom is NOT free!

But one thing. I don't understand why this book was forced out of existence! C'mon, it is impossible for everyone to have the same idea about any thing in this world! Anyway, this book is no worse than hundred other books written by Indians only, on Hinduism. Or is it the ego that a foreigner wrote about Hindus that led to this! Do not forget about Sister Nivedita and her accounts on the greatness of Hinduism! In Telugu alone, I have read books which made me nausea-tic. Such was the way those books (better not call them so!!) were written. And believe me, such stupid books were awarded the Sahithya Puraskars too!
I do not need to mention M.F.Hussain here!
On the other hand, it is wrong to dismiss the case of those who petitioned against Doniger's book. According to the Indian Penal Code 295, intentions of outraging the religious feelings of ANY class of citizens of India is an offense and is punishable. But again, why only this book? Of course, famous books which were denied life in India include "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown which was banned to please Christians whose beliefs were hurt due to the book! Tasleema Nasreen's book on the plight of Hindus in Bangladesh and the book, "Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie.

I do not understand how critics mange to raise voices only against select issues. Where were they when the last two mentioned authors received such impedance that fatwas were issued by Islamic groups which said killing them would attract prize money!! Both the writers had to go into hiding for years! But when some one paints nude pictures of goddesses who are worshiped by millions, they said it was Modern art!! When the movie of a great Indian actor was banned quoting reasons unknown, they said nothing. The actor had to put all his self respect aside and beg people and government to let his movie release after which it was a grand hit! "Selective hearing" I guess! Everyone and every belief should be given equal importance. However,...
while views and opinions should be expressed fearlessly through books and art, it should be done with care. Not to impress/satisfy some random people but to respect the art form one is using to express his feelings! Because, what you read/view matters. This is a free country. Make full use of it in the "right" sense!! No pun intended!

P.S: I took a lot of care and put in a lot of effort in writing this article!!