‘In retrospect, I believe, as a publisher I responded more in anger than in sound judgement’

The Delhi-based publishing house Navayana is inclined to reconsider its decision not to publish the translation of Sahitya Akademi winner Joe D’ Cruz’s Tamil novel Aazhi Soozh Ulagu, (Ocean Wringed World).

Navayana decided not to publish the work after Mr. D’ Cruz announced his support for BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi.

S. Anand, publisher, said, “In retrospect, I believe, as a publisher I responded more in anger than in sound judgement.”

His statement posted in the Navayana website titled ‘The Storm in the D’ Cruz Ocean’, however, clarified that at this juncture the publication of the book would be kept in abeyance till the translator of the book, V. Geetha, consented to let him use the text.

Recalling the sequence of the events, Mr. Anand said that the decision to halt the publication “taken on the evening of April 13 after speaking to V. Geetha and D’ Cruz, may well have been a hasty error of judgement.”

He said the formal agreement with D’ Cruz was signed on April 7 and the author announced his support to Mr. Modi on April 9.

After coming to know of D’ Cruz’s position via a Facebook update on April 9, “we did not jump to conclusions and both Geetha and Navayana tried to get in touch with him. However, since he would not respond to phone calls, we both sent him separate emails expressing dismay and concern,” Mr Anand said. He also said there was no talk of annulling the agreement.

Stating that the decision not to publish does not prejudice or pre-empt the publication of the book by others, Mr. Anand said it “therefore cannot be called censorship.”

While reiterating that the she stood by the novel, Ms. Geetha said he was glad to have translated it.

“However, given D’ Cruz’s insistent and clear-cut support for Narendra Modi, I cannot bring myself to allow my translation to be published. I would therefore like to wait on that decision, until Joe D’ Cruz and I can have a conversation on how we see and understand what has happened.”

When contacted, Mr. D’ Cruz said he was not yet aware of Navayana’s decision.

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