This refers to Kenan Malik’s article on the evolution of free speech (Editorial page) and the report, “Penguin to pulp book on Hindusim” (both on Feb.12). It is unfortunate that, once again, those supporting the freedom of speech have been trampled upon by fundamentalists who have denied us the opportunity to read something about Hinduism. Hinduism has adapted many features through eclecticism and withstood extreme forces, strengthening itself in the process. Now, so-called conscience-keepers have weakened its natural ability to absorb shocks.
Gadde Saidewara Rao,
The book’s withdrawal from circulation, under pressure from regressive communal forces, only contributes to the strengthening of muzzling of free speech by various sections that practise religious bigotry. There is an urgent need for progressive forces to mobilise the people to resist such dangerous trends.
Thinking is a by-product of the mind and no human has the right to trample upon that right in the garb of religion. Penguin Books does not have the right to deny us access to Doniger’s book. It should have set an example by standing up for the fundamental right of freedom of expression.
The decision to withdraw the book is a setback with reference to Article 19(a). The right to freedom of speech and expression may be restricted by provisions such as public order and morality, but to withdraw a genuine author’s book in the name of blasphemy is a sign that we are increasingly becoming rigid and intolerant.