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POSTED BY News Ed ON Mar 05, 2014 AT 00:57 IST ,  Edited At: Mar 04, 2014 23:57 IST


When news first broke of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti (SBAS) also targeting Wendy Doniger's On Hinduism published by the Aleph Book Company, after its success with  getting Penguin Books India to withdraw her The Hindus: An Alternative History, Atul Kothari, co-convenor of SBAS, was quoted by The Sunday Express as saying, “We have been given an oral assurance by the publishers that the sales of the book will be stalled. The publishers have been given a week’s time to provide an assurance in writing, failing which, SBAS would move the judiciary.”  He had said that they would wait for a written assurance for a week, failing which the Samiti may take its next “democratic step” to ensure the book is withdrawn.

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POSTED BY News Ed ON Mar 05, 2014 AT 00:57 IST, Edited At: Mar 04, 2014 23:57 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Feb 11, 2014 AT 18:11 IST ,  Edited At: Feb 11, 2014 18:11 IST

For those who came in late:

Today's Developments

The legal notice sent by Dina Nath Batra to Wendy Doniger, Penguin Group (USA) Inc. and Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd:

Read from Outlook archives:

This is not a case of a ban, or censorship or overt or covert governmental or judicial censorship, this is a case instead of moral policing and an abject surrender by Penguin India, in abdication of their responsibility to stand by their author and fight the legal battle.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Feb 11, 2014 AT 18:11 IST, Edited At: Feb 11, 2014 18:11 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST ,  Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST

Finally, 15 years after the literary feud between Salman Rushdie and John Le Carré erupted in the letters pages of the Guardian in 1997, the latter has told the London Times "that their mutual loathing has finally come to an end."

Back in 1997, Rushdie had accused Le Carré  of promoting censorship and had gone on to characterise him as a "dunce" and a " pompous ass.'' Christopher Hitchens too had jumped in the exchange and said that Mr Le Carré 's conduct reminded him " that of a man who, having relieved himself in his own hat, makes haste to clamp the brimming chapeau on his head." 

"Two rabid ayatollahs could not have done a better job. But will the friendship last?" Mr Le Carré had countered, pointing out that he was more concerned about saving lives than about Mr Rushdie's royalties, and that Mr Rushdie was ''self-canonizing'' and ''arrogant.''

Mr Rushdie was allowed the last word by the newspaper, and had gone on to say about Mr Le Carré:  It's true I did call him a pompous ass, which I thought pretty mild in the circumstances. "Ignorant" and "semi-literate" are dunces' caps he has skilfully fitted on his own head.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Nov 12, 2012 AT 20:15 IST, Edited At: Nov 12, 2012 20:15 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 22, 2012 AT 03:59 IST ,  Edited At: Oct 22, 2012 03:59 IST

Ashok Malik in the Asian Age:

In April 1992, Mushirul Hasan, then pro-vice chancellor of Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia, gave an interview to Sunday magazine in which he called for lifting the ban on Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. “The banning of the book”, Mr Hasan said, “or any book for that matter, rarely helps. On the contrary, it lends the book greater notoriety”. The interview caused a storm. Students and teachers at Jamia protested. Mr Hasan was prevented from coming to work. When he attempted to do so after a prolonged period, he was beaten up. In reality, he had fallen victim to a Congress clique that wanted to “recapture” Jamia from academics allegedly affiliated to the CPI(M).

One of the Congress instigators was Mr Khurshid, then deputy minister for commerce. In The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India, Girija Kumar writes: “(Khurshid) made the extraordinarily outrageous statement that the liberals like Prof Mushirul Hasan ‘should be willing to pay the price of a liberal’”. A CPI(M) statement of the time was categorical: “It is highly unfortunate that certain minority fundamentalist forces are being aided and abetted by certain Congress (I) leaders, including some ministers like Salman Khurshid”.

In his book, Kumar wonders why Sunday “interviewed a number of Muslim politicians and intellectuals on the subject of The Satanic Verses”. There was “much speculation about the reasons… to revive the dormant controversy”. In his report on the Jamia Milia incidents, Justice M.M. Ismail, who otherwise criticised Mr Hasan, too considered the Sunday article, Kumar writes, “as motivated, and ‘an attempt at deliberate adventure’”. Was the article calculated to provoke a reaction? Only the person who wrote it can clarify. It carried the by-line of Louise Fernandes.

Read the full article at the Asian Age: Khurshid & MaCaulay

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Oct 22, 2012 AT 03:59 IST, Edited At: Oct 22, 2012 03:59 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 15, 2012 AT 16:16 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 15, 2012 16:16 IST

Salman Rushdie to BBC Radio 4 Today on the recent protests in the Muslim world against a video clip posted on Youtube:

...means a number of things. In the case of Satanic Verses, it meant that we stood up for what needed to be defended and we managed to defend it. In a larger sense, it's more problematic. The events surrounding the Satanic Verses created a climate of fear that has not dissipated that makes it harder for books -- not even books critical of Islam -- books, anything about Islam, to be published.

This idea of respect, which is a code word for fear is something we have to overcome And I very much felt that what happened to me was a harbinger of many things that followed. And I think you can draw a direct line of connection from the entire Satanic Verses controversy to the 9/11 attacks, to the 7/7 attacks in England to what's happening today across the Muslim world -- this extraordinary thin-skinned, paranoid reaction to a piece of garbage, which any rational person would say, yes, that is a piece of garbage and we can ignore it...

Today presenter James Naughtie: You mean the film?

Salman Rushdie: ....this video or clip from an alleged film which may or may not exist. Any reasonable person would say, yes, that's crap, it's an ugly crap, and we should just dismiss it as unimportant and proceed with our day. But the idea that you react to that by holding an entire nation and its diplomatic representatives responsible, when they weren't remotely aware of, is ugly and wrong.

I think what we have to do is to insist -- all of us, all of us -- that the culture of this country is one of open discourse and the point about open discourse is that people will constantly say things you don't like. But if you can't defend the right of people to say things you don't like, then you don't believe in free speech. And often in the free speech lobby you find yourself defending things you detest. But you know there is no trick to defend stuff you agree with or stuff that particularly doesn't get up your nose. It's when somebody does something that you really despise and loathe, when somebody says something like that, that's when you discover if you believe in free speech.

And I think we do believe in free speech and maybe we need to stand up for it more clearly.

I think there is certain confusion. I think what happened in Libya -- the attack on the embassy, the killing of the ambassador -- may not have been related to this idiotic video but may have been a pre-planned Salafi attack, an indication of this is that the flag that was put out on the embassy in Libya is the flag that is very frequently used by Al-Qaeda. I think that's a different thing. I think that today is Friday and today across the Muslim world there is this absurdly hysterical protest about a piece of garbage that really needs to be named as such. And I think the Muslim world needs to learn that to react every single time to pathetic, deliberate provocation -- not even impressive provocation -- in this way, to believe that in the face of this minor, little pinprick that it is ok to attack property, to threaten people, maybe even take life, that is not acceptable. It is not acceptable, it is an ugly reaction and it needs to be named as ugly.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 15, 2012 AT 16:16 IST, Edited At: Sep 15, 2012 16:16 IST
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