February 23, 2014

On the Withdrawal of Wendy Doniger’s book

The following is the statement issued by eminent scholars, academicians, intellectuals on February 15 on the ban on Wendy Doniger’s book THE surrender of a major publishing firm (Penguin India) over Professor Wendy Doniger's book The Hindus, an Alternative History, in a recent out-of-court settlement that involves the withdrawal of the book and the pulping of its copies, has rightly aroused much disquiet among all circles committed to freedom of speech and respect for scholarly disagreements. The event has, however, a still more sinister aspect. It is, clearly an early salvo in the renewed campaign to drown all questioning voices and prepare the ground for a full-fledged chauvinistic and communal presentation of our history and culture with no quarter allowed to dissenting voices. The misuse of judiciary to browbeat the author or publisher of a book that the bigots do not like is characteristic of the usual Hindutva campaign. The next step, as some newspaper reports already suggest, is to extend the net of censorship and use government machinery, wherever available, to extend to school and college textbooks the same kind of misinformation, chauvinistic claims and denigration of other religions and cultures that we had seen during the past BJP led regime at the centre. It is, therefore, necessary not only to condemn what has happened in regard to the Hindus, an alternative history, especially the pusillanimity of the publisher, but also to redouble our vigilance in regard to what is still to come. The signatories of statement are: Prof. D. N. Jha Prof.Archana Prasad Prof. KesavanVeluthat Prof. K.M. Shrimali Prof. ShireenMoosvi Prof. UtsaPatnaik Prof. IrfanHabib Prof. C. P. Chandrasekhar Indira Chandrasekhar Prof. Rajiv Gupta Prof. Mihir Bhattacharya Prof. IqdarAlam Khan Prof Mridula Mukherjee BadriRaina Prof. Ramesh Rawat Prof. PrabhatPatnaik Prof. Amar Farooqui Prof. Saira I. Habib Prof. ArjunDev Prof. Anil Bhatti Sashi Kumar Prof. Indira Dev Prof. Shakti Kak M. K. Raina Prof. AtluriMurli Prof. ZoyaHasan Prof. J. M. Parakh Prof. Anil Sadgopal Ram Rahman Madhu Prasad Prof. JayatiGhosh SohailHashmi Prof. RanbirChakraborty Dr. P. K. Shukla Girish Mishra MadanGopal Singh Dr. Vishva Mohan Jha Ashok Rao Dr.Lata Singh MukulDubey Parthiv Shah VivanSundaram Dr. BiswamoyPati Prof. R.C. Thakaran Prof. R. Mahalakshmi Dr. RakeshBatabyal