There is no need for the government to ban books, Jnanpith recipient U.R. Ananthamurthy said here on Sunday.

Inaugurating the sixth edition of the annual national book fair Pustaka Parishe, organised by Srushti Ventures, Mr. Ananthamurthy said there was no need for the government to interfere in matters relating to “controversial” books. “If a book is bad, then people will automatically realise it and the book will not sell,” he added.

His comments come in the light of controversial Kannada novel ‘Dhundi’ and the arrest of its author Yogesh Master. Talking about the magnanimity of a book, he said that a reader would often cross the boundaries and go beyond the politics of a nation by reading a book. Mr. Ananthamurthy said a good book would make you feel that the story unfolding in a book is “real”.

Citing the example of epics such as the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, he said, “Although the stories happened several years ago, every time a reader reads it, he/she will feel that it is happening now.”

Pointing out that mediums such as cinema and music were dependant on time and place of performance, Mr. Ananthamurthy said that reading a book was unique as the author of the book could talk to the reader at any time and any place.

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