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Updated: February 15, 2014 01:25 IST

Totalising history, silencing dissent

Ratna Kapur
Comment (87)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
Wendy Doniger
Wendy Doniger

The agreement by Penguin Books India to destroy all existing copies of Wendy Doniger’s book represents the destruction of the very fabric of Indian culture

The agreement by Penguin Books India, a unit of Penguin Random House, to withdraw as well as destroy all existing copies of its 2009 book titled The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger, a professor of religion at the University of Chicago, within six months, is both disturbing as well as foreboding. The lawsuit filed against Penguin India by Dina Nath Batra, the head of Shiksha Bacho Andolan, a fringe Hindu right-wing group dealing with education and text books, objected to the pluralistic representation of Hinduism and its references to the esoteric and heterodox practices that constitute the tradition.

In the lawsuit filed in 2011 under Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code, which punishes deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage the feelings of a religious community, the group claimed that the book insulted millions of Indians, in particular, Hindus. The group also argued that the book was inaccurate, presenting a “shallow, distorted, non-serious presentation of Hinduism filled with heresies” and that it reduced Hinduism to a narrative of “a woman hungry for sex” or what one reviewer described as an “overeroticized” account of the religion.

Cultural identity

While Wendy Doniger has responded to the court settlement as sounding the alarm bells for the survival of free speech in an ever-worsening political climate in India, she also remarked that not being either a Hindu or a male placed her in a doubly disadvantaged situation with the Hindutva forces.

Dr. Doniger has established herself as a provocative scholar through the use of psychoanalytic theory to approach issues of gender, sexuality and religion and her work has been a lightning rod for Hindu nationalists and fanatics alike. She has written a plethora of texts that subvert the projection of Hinduism as a homogenous, unified and cohesive tradition. In one of her earliest books Women, Androgynes and Other Mythical Beasts (1980), Dr. Doniger established her credentials as a Sanskrit scholar and used her in-depth knowledge of Sanskrit texts to speculate on their significance in challenging and creative ways. She defends the eclecticism that she deploys in her analysis — as opening up culture — as something that is dynamic, shape-shifting and always tentative.

Dr. Doniger’s work is reminiscent of the extraordinary and influential scholarship of the black British scholar Stuart Hall, an intellectual Titan in cultural studies, who recently died, and his approach to culture as hybrid.

According to Dr. Hall, one position on cultural identity is that it consists of “one shared culture, a sort of collective ‘one true self,’ hiding inside the many other, more superficial and artificially imposed ‘selves’, which people with a shared history and ancestry hold in common.” It is a position which assumes that cultural identity is stable and unchanging. Cultural identity consists of an essence that needs to be excavated and brought to light.

The second view of cultural identity is based on the recognition that there are points of similarity within the context of a culture, but there are also points of difference, of discontinuity and dispersal. It does not entail an archaeological search, but a re-telling of the past. Dr. Hall pointed out that it was not possible to “speak about one identity, one story, without acknowledging the ruptures and discontinuities of the story we tell or re-tell. We cannot speak for very long, with any exactness, about ‘one experience, one identity,’ without acknowledging its other side — differences and discontinuities.”

The effort by the conservative and right movements to cabin and contain this fluidity and hybridity is reminiscent of colonial as well as fascist forces that have sought to ensure that their versions of the “truth” prevailed. And this effort was pursued not only through physical annihilation, but also through erasures of history and the silencing of dissenting voices.

The settlement is not only a story about free speech in a democracy; it is reminiscent of the darkest aspects of the 2002 Gujarat riots. The extreme violence inflicted on the Muslim community, women in particular, was not just about the objectification and victimisation of women or the community – about injuries that could be healed through reparations. The violence was embedded in the broader ideological agenda and discursive aspects of the Hindu right’s strategy that have constituted the subjectivities of both the majority and minority communities. The complete erasures of Muslim bodies, houses, shrines, and mosques almost overnight, and their replacement with roads and Hindu temples was nothing short of an effort to expunge the Muslim from the very body politic and structure of Indian (read Hindu) society.

Hindu nationalist project

The settlement needs to be read within this broader discursive and material reality, where the establishment of the Hindu nationalist project that seeks to project the Muslim as a foreigner and alien and hence a threat requires to be completed. Education, cultural representation, and the media are all tools deployed in the zealous and undeterred march of the steely-eyed and determined Narendra Modi and the Hindu right in this direction. The loss of The Hindus: An Alternative History represents not only a defeat for the publishing world; it represents the destruction of the very fabric of Indian culture as chaotic, diverse, subversive, and provocative. It is an injury inflicted on more than just the work of one author – it is an injury inflicted on critique and dissent, and points to the precariousness of lives and histories that do not conform to the totalising agenda of the Hindu right.

(Ratna Kapur is professor, Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat.)

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I am appalled at the author of its article connecting this to Hindutuva and even more that "THE HINDU" is publishing this one side view. I am a moderate Hindu, welcoming all religions point of view including from atheists. But the Book author and this article author has pushed me to think if India does not support Hindu's who else will? Please publish other side of the story. Some Tom, DIck and Harry cannot rewrite the history as it suits them.

from:  Lak
Posted on: Feb 18, 2014 at 01:25 IST

We Indians brag and boast about our culture. We are also so much
inclusive to accept what bad is propagating into our culture. But
presenting a different history, which is factually wrong,
misinterpretation of VEDAS,it will cast HINDUs as a disparaged one.
I opine that freedom of speech does not mean blasphemy to anything.

from:  NIkhil Singh
Posted on: Feb 18, 2014 at 00:59 IST

@Ari - Nonsense arguments. Hindu group fought the battle in court, clearly listing the factual errors ( passed on as facts ) in the book. Everyone has the right to oppose a book/movie/art, through legal means, what's wrong in it? If Penguin India was so sure about the contents of the book, it should have stood by the author - nobody threatened them.
from:  Arun Subbu
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 23:27 IST

Who has the authority to interpret any religion through a written
work? pretty much everyone who practices it or who knows it
thoroughly. But, is it enough for Dr. Wendy Doniger to give out her
interpretation of an ever-evolving, organic and pluralist religious
community (in this case, the Hindus) by just looking at one extremely
gory incident like the Gujarat riots? Being an academic, she should
have thought this out carefully. These kind of interpretations must
acknowledge their partial focus and limited validity when it comes to
generalization on one religious community or the other. What's
happening in Muzaffarabad, Syria and countless other places in this
world is beyond excusable, but one needs to acknowledge that they are
time-bound realities and hence should not be used to judge an entire
community. Writers like Wendy Doniger needs to be aware of that
reality before jumping their guns of judgement!!

from:  Dr. Sailaja Nandigama
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 20:05 IST

Doniger might have singularly chosen, as the base of her book, the literature of the darkest times of Hindu history spanning over 7 centuries where perverted tantriks routinely infiltrated courts of weak minded rulers. The terrible consequences now stand as vulgar rock testimonials of an epidemic of decadence. Doniger in all her intelligence could've missed out having the faculties that probably led Hermann Hesse or Carl Jung to discover the untarnished soul of eastern religions. The grim part though is the blind, unreasonably generalized neoliberalism of the educated Indians that has left only the chastising patriarchs of the Right Wing often with self-defeating moral credibility to stand-up and correct culture distortions that could otherwise pass off as free-speech.

from:  Avinash Peyyety
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 19:38 IST

I don't think 'The Hindu', the champion of free speech, will have guts
to publish the comment I just sent. I don't like religion, any
religion I say, but this psuedo-secularism makes me sick. Yes, I do
have sympathy for Hindu Religion, not the likes professed of VHP or
Bajrang Dal, but yes a common practicing Hindu who is discriminated
against just because he is a majority. It would be crime in this
country to say that I am a Proud Hindu. People like me are responsible
too, because I hardly think about God or visit a temple. But the way
things are happening these days, I feel like I owe Hinduism that I
defend it whenever it is railed against by the pseudo-secularists.

from:  Ishan
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 18:07 IST

Shaleen Mathur - Ever heard of an American called Julia Roberts? And
on what do you base those criteria - Diksha followed by a decade of
preaching in the West - to be necessary and sufficient for someone to
produce a good article on Hinduism?

Meg - Nonsense. Freedom of expression means the right to propagate
one's ideas without ANY interference. Many Indians, including
intellectuals like Prof Habib, Ramchandra Guha and senior lawyers like
KTS Tulsi, understand this much better than you. And the Hindu right,
which has sought to ban the book, naturally comes into the issue.
There is nothing pointless about the inclusion of the BJP in this
article.

from:  Ari G
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 17:37 IST

Wendy Doniger should convert to Hinduism & take "Diksha" under one Shankaracharya, preach Hinduism in West for 10 years. Thereafter she is free to write on Hinduism. When missionaries are free to convert then why not convert Americans to Hinduism.

from:  Shaleen Mathur
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 14:45 IST

Why 'The Hindus'and not Hinduism? Doniger's point of objection is the Hindus not Hinduism. This has racial connotation. At least the author does not know the distinction or is a willing user of terms with racial connotation
The ban is a great publicity.
from:  Dipak Bhattacharya
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 09:08 IST

It is very surprising to find that many Indians including intellectuals don't seem understand the meaning of freedom of expression . Freedom of expression only means that the government will not use its power to silence a person. It does not give a carte-blance to an author to spew anything that comes to their mind. It doesn't protect from private individuals to use legal means to provide consequences for that expression.

If penguin is withdrawing the book because of legal action, then we should celebrating it as an valid expression of Hindus feelings about this book.

I don't see the point of dragging Modi or BJP into this issue except to use it to burnish the credentials of the article.

from:  Meg
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 07:58 IST

Good that these hindutva forces are getting exposed as more and more people will come to know about their true intentions of subduing others for imposing their superiority illusion and their well being.Trying to shout down everything has been their main weapon against others so for, which is getting slowly turning against themselves.Good improvement.

from:  Baba
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 00:02 IST

This banning and pulping has become a very much publicized event ;many more books will follow suit from western authors given the market potential through controversy.It is very funny to see Islamic angle in every move Hindutva forces operate.Looks like they want to emulate everything muslims do elsewhere.Actually majority of muslims doesnt like violent reactions which is both non-productive and also gives a bad name to muslims. With these kinds of opposition,hindutva forces will only get alienated from mainstream people in a slow but steady manner.

from:  Baba
Posted on: Feb 17, 2014 at 00:00 IST

The book was uploaded to the Pirate Bay the 12th February.
This was bound to happen. The people who had the books destroyed are really not the sharpest knives in the kitchen.
Penguin ought to sell the book as an ebook at a very affordable price, that should provide a nice profit.

from:  Jens Guld
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 23:12 IST

I want how much noise this "Free speech" advocates said when the Govt of
Jyothi Basu and Rajiv Ghandy changed Mrs. Justice Padma Khastgir on May
7th, 1985 when the "Calcuttah Koran Petition" (MATTER NO. 227 OF 1985
IN THE HIGH COURT AT CALCUTTA) asking the Koran to be banned for the
same reasons stated by the petitioners here came up for hearing, where
were these lumpens then was not Free Speech trampled then??

from:  Ranjit
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 21:37 IST

I haven't read the book but I have read "Breaking India". The so called
intellectuals created and professed by the Evangelists will go any
extend to rewrite the History of India and the rich Indian culture. This
is because they have nothing to claim as a culture.

from:  Somunair
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 20:24 IST

Some comments akin to "Hindu is the mouth piece of Modi". Show that
people find it conveniet to attack Hinduism/India in any form in
"Hindu"!.
This malevolent book does not need publicity. Ratna Kapur knows what
her plight would be if she wrote such a polemic, with intentional lies
to betray her mother land, in either America or any Islamic country.
One might very well presume that she is paid by either Dr. Wendy/UofC
or anti-Indian external political forces. Attacking Hinduism/India
seems not only fashionable but also lucrative, she might also be
shooting for a position at UofC.
The reaction of Dr. Wendy shows that she is biblical unrepentant
pervert. Dr. Kapur must realize that some of us are far more educated
than she and Wendy and her sophistry is obviouis. Only because
India/Hinduism are tolerant such ilk can have normal life. Knowing
this they ungratefully milk it. Posterity will find these rich women a
disgrace to their gender and religion. Would they try this with Islam?
NO!!

from:  Professor Aruna
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 18:32 IST

It has become a fashion to indulge in criticizing Hindus and Hinduism
without deeply analyzing and understanding the theory behind this
"great way of living" (not only religion). How many so called
'intellectuals' have the guts to criticize or misinterpret Islam or
Christianity or any other religion for that matter? Because they know
that the opposition will be strong and united, if they venture to
write anything offensive or even slightly critical. Many (true)Muslims
and (true)Christians have accepted Hinduism as a great religion and
many have changed over to this religion as well. In fact 'Hindu'(from
Sind)itself is a misnomer and it was christened by foreign invaders to
this land. It is millions of years old and it was known as Sanathan
Dharma (Eternal Principle). There was only one religion and one God
(Krishna). So people with poor fund of knowledge should not indulge in
criticizing this eternal religion, even if they have mastered Sanskrit
language.

from:  N.V. Ramaswami
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 17:57 IST

As per a recent Supreme Court verdict the outward appearance of a
presentation is not he litmus test for judging it. The context of the
presentation is the key. The presentation under the scanner was a racy
picture of Bjorn Borg in a rather close embrace with his black
girlfriend, either one or both in some stage of undress, which was
aimed at promoting interracial relations and targeted the apartheid
regime in South Africa. The court judged it to be a social message
rather than a promotion of salaciousness.
Similarly, Dr Doniger's book has to be examined in the context of the
method of analysis she has used. The final form surely cannot be the
litmus test.

Just as Dr Abdul Hadi Palazzi's claim of Zionism being in accordance
with Islam has to be examined in the context of the body of his
research, and not dismissed outright as "fifth column" or
"unbeliever".

from:  Ari G
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 17:42 IST

The controversy pertaining to Wendy Doniger's book on Hindus have once
again raised serious doubts regarding intellectual and artistic
freedom. A system in itself is never perfect and improvements are
achieved through inquisition. A society which is not open to criticism
is doomed to fall. Hinduism, itself. promotes intellectual discourses,
however, its present proponents are rather unforgiving and broad-
minded. It is the responsibility of a civilized society to enable free
speech to all. The judgement on whether their ideas are meritorious or
ludicrous should be left with the society. It is imperative that
believers of intellectual inquisitions should show their solidarity or
by the end of time all we would be left with will be books that
profess Sati-Pratha and validate Polygamy.

from:  Vishweshwar Vivek
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 17:38 IST

It is high time India shows to the world that she is Saraswthy in the morning, Lakshmi during noon and Durga during evening. I feel we only showed the world that we are Saraswathy. Penguin should be asked to plead guilty and punished for printing such rubbish and then tried to sell it. Christians convert lot of Hindus, it is not an issue; Muslims convert lot of Hindus, it is not an issue. Many conquerors came, plundered and butchered us, not an issue; only Ms Windy found fault with the Indian system and Penguin to sing swan song for her. India should show to the world what is "Mahabharatha" sotry's morale. It is high time that we tell to the world that a thousand year of foreign rule by various conquerors in the past is a past thing and it will never ever happen again to the great India any more. We must do a million times' homework to correct our foolishness to surrender to the foreigners.

from:  Raman MD
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 17:33 IST

Penguin's settlement and withdrawal of Wendy Doniger's book is
absolutely ludicrous and deeply disturbing. What I do not understand is
the comparison with the 2002 riots and dragging Narendra Modi's name
into the discussion. This obsession with Modi is highly amusing.

from:  Bhavadasanunni
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 16:53 IST

Kapali - 1.The Harvard Faculty Council has the power to remove persons
from the faculty by a vote. I expected Dr Swamy to move court against
the decision and expose the alleged external influence at work but he
didn't.
2.While I agree with some of the points he's raised, parts of his
article rest on dubious presentation. For example in his discourse on
Muslim-majority nations he omits reference of constitutionally secular
Turkey or countries like Morocco and Tunisia which have strong civil
society initiatives who campaign for people's rights on a non-
religious platform and which have resisted Islamization.
3.Kazakhstan is again constitutionally secular. It is Muslim-majority
but presents a nice picture of Muslim-Christian co-existence. It has
targeted some Hindu groups briefly but that was not because of
religious demand, rather due to its state security policies, remnants
of the USSR, some of which are not accepted to be fair under
international standards.

from:  Ari G
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 16:20 IST

Who is Wendy Doniger? I am hearing her name first time. Studying and
observing is different than experiencing. It is knowledgeable to learn
from people who have experience not the one who have just studied.

from:  prasbad
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 15:50 IST

All this is a social experiment in disguise. There are people (proxies, or more politely, intellectuals) who make a living by enabling such experiments to happen. There are people who have the "motives" and pay these intellectuals well.

OR,

This is like a staged match between a matador and the bull. The whole world is watching the tamasha. The bull is supposed to only grunt, put up a fight, and get killed.

from:  Keshavan
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 14:57 IST

I request THE HINDU to print the petition addressed by the so called
fringe group to PENGUIN, listing the inaccuracies in the book. This will
enable the reader to form an opinion. so far The Hindu is publishing one
side of the story. This is not good journalism. the petition is
available online.

from:  S V PADMANABHAN
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 14:48 IST

I would like to make two points here:

1. Freud's psychoanalysis is discredited.

Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev said and I paraphrase," Freud was scared of
visiting the pyramids because he had fear of death. Such a man should
not have said too many things about human mind and human behavior in a
general manner."

2. Wendy Doniger was "using" psychoanalytic theory.

Sadguru also says life and human societies suffer if we overdo "what
is in it for me?" as in what advantages can I derive from something.

from:  Developing Mind
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 14:47 IST

I see the Hindu Taliban has come out of the woodwork.
One, The Hindu should not worry about its readership. The quality of
writing one gets here is much better than that in other garish and
flippant publications. My nation has evolved enough to generate a
reasonably wide reader base to sustain your publication.
Two, Ms Doniger has not studied Christianity or Islam or even her own
Judaism. She has written a book based on her studies and the matter
ends there. She is not interested on half-baked claptrap as is on
display here.
Three, the only serious point of contention has been totally reversed
here. That a work that may be perceived to portray any other religion
(Christianity or Islam)(or even state enterprises or politicians) in a
poor light is easily banned - that is what must be protested against.
Not individual books on Hinduism.
Four, Dr Habib is an INDIAN doyen of history. That he has protested
against Penguin's decision should be enough for the "Evil West"
brigade.

from:  Ari G
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 14:29 IST

What most people, on the comment section, fail to realise is that, this
is the Opinion section of the newspaper. This is the opinion of Ratna
Kapoor. You may or may not agree with her, and that is OK, that is your
opinion. People need to read this article as someone else's opinion.

from:  Prakhar
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 14:08 IST

My interpretation of this article: Prof. Ratna Kapur is suggesting
(subtly) that instead of approaching courts and fighting case legally
under the law of land, Hindu groups should have burned-down the Penguin
book shops, cut-off the hands of publishers and make death threats to
Ms Wendy (possibly make an attempt to murder her if she ever visits
India). Then whole media would have seen the 'hurt' caused by the
religious insults by the said book. Then the intellectuals would have
been asking Ms Wendy to be mindful of religious sentiments, follow the
laws of land, stop misinterpreting our scripture and not to launch
malicious attacks on our religion.

You see, if Hindus approach courts, they are labeled as Fascists,
Communals and Intolerants. Had they launched violent attacks
'intellectuals' would either keep their mouths/pen shut or
defend/justify the violence. The Truth.

Anyways, this is 'my interpretation' of this article.

from:  Sunil Lathwal
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 12:33 IST

Nothing that offends the religious sentiments of people should be published in today's world. Books discussing various religions are acceptable but Wendy Doniger's book is highly derogatory of Hinduism and I think it is a good thing that her book is not published. One should never offend the religious sentiments of people on the pretext of freedom of expression.

from:  Gregory Savage
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 12:25 IST

Where are these fighters of freedom of expression, when
Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen are abused and their books are
banned and they themselves are ostracized. It is this selective
secularism that is destroying the fabric of secular India rather than
the so called Hindu nationalists. The more the vitriol of these
selective secularists ,the stronger the nationalist parties get.We
Indians need at least some one to preserve our indigenous cultural
heritage which is of great help in creating true secularism.

from:  Bobby
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 12:09 IST

So Mr A. Layman's answer to his question to those who support "Wendy"
(and I find it incumbent to remind you, sir, that in polite society you
don't address people by their first name unless they ask you to) is for
us to join the bigots in making books disappear. Bravo!

from:  Ari G
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 11:57 IST

The Op-Ed claims that due to extremism, the US academic has lost the right to her free
speech, which is definitely a cornerstone civilization. But, can seeking the protection of a
Court of Law against defamation be considered extremism? Was fear of anything, other than
the Law of the Land, the reason behind the decision of the publishers to destroy their own
book? There is no evidence known that can make us consider answers to such questions in
affirmation.

I wonder where these champions of free speech were when Harvard University, the
supposed temple of free speech of the world, severed its decades old relationship with Dr.
Subramaniam Swamy without a fair hearing, let alone the the courts of laws, just because a
group of their students thought that his article contained hate speech?

In this article, I see pure and unmitigated hypocrisy in multiple dimensions. If being an
intellectual means open to reason and law, I do not see any of intellect in the article or its
appeal.

from:  Kapali
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 10:42 IST

The author has overlooked reports pointing out several factual
inaccuracies in the book - on almost every page! If there is no
protest against such a book, it could potentially be used as a
textbook in courses on Religion/History/Philosophy and false, dubious
statements may get passed on as facts. Now, thanks to the efforts of
some people, it is at least on record that Penguin India did not have
the courage to defend the contents of the book, and settled for an out
of court agreement in response to peaceful, intellectually grounded
criticisms and legal proceedings. There is a world of difference
between this incident and incidents such as the ransacking of Francois
Gauthier's exhibition in Chennai which cast Aurangzeb in poor light,
or the slitting of the wrist of a Kerala professor as one of his exam
questions hurt the sentiments of Muslim extremists. In the protest
against Doniger, there was no arson/violence.

from:  Ajit
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 10:29 IST

Another pseudo article by an over confident author....it staggers me
when i found thease type of articles in this newspaper. totally baised
one..

from:  Saurabh
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 10:18 IST

If freedom of expression is sacrosanct for democracy, then why should champions of this right like "The Hindu" exercise moderation of simple comments posted by the readers?

from:  Balasubramanian A
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 09:52 IST

While reading all the comments i can't help but believe that there's
a competition with other faiths in showing intolerance and
reactions.

Instead of debating the book on merits the subtext is if
Christians or Muslims can get free expression curbed we
Hindus ought to have it.

Instead of aspiring to build a free society like the west we
want to get inspired by others insecurities and insularities.

Da Vinci Code survived in so called Christian states but had to
face bans in India.

Also Ms. Doniger isn't a Christian but a jew.

from:  M Seth
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 08:18 IST

Okay. Here is a question for those who support Wendy.
I wish to buy a book by an Indian author that was printed a few years ago. Its called "Muslim Politics in Secular India" and the author is Mr.Hamid Dalwai. Mr.Dalwai identifies the shortcomings of his own community and is a recognized scholar.

This book has completely disappeared and it seems that no company wants to publish it. THAT, is silencing dissent. Silencing dissent has been in practice in India for several decades now. It did not start with Wendy's book.

from:  A. Layman
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 07:47 IST

It's a pity that any piece on this issue veers to either extreme. The content of this article is biased and couched in the peculiar academic patois that seems unique to India. Please stop such articles because they do nothing for the issues at hand. We need a more nuanced perspective than pieces that go on about our glorious culture and pieces that see the Modi hand everywhere.

The issue is of the very idea that hurting religious sentiments is a criminal offence. As with the recent 377 laws can we please for the final time do away with archaic British laws. As also this prudish, Victorian British colouration of our religions?

Lastly it is a book. Its researched. Almost 90% of Indians in fact can't read the original text unlike Ms Doniger. Ms Doniger is entitled to her interpretation. It is common enough with historians. In our present environment, DD Kosambi's views on the Gita would result in the withdrawal of his book too.

from:  Shyama
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 07:37 IST

"Freedom of expression is supremely important. But surely it does not
require its champions crassly to cause offence to the faith and
beliefs of an identifiable group." This is from an editorial in The
Hindu. No, it is not in response to Doniger's offensive book against
Hinduism, but is a response to the cartoons in the Danish newspaper
Jyllands-Posten that was offensive to Muslims ("Needless and Nasty
Controversy", Feb. 9, 2006). So it appears that the newspaper has two
different standards: one for Muslims (who should not be offended and
freedom of speech, democracy, etc. don't matter), and the other for
Hindus (freedom of speech, democracy, etc. are supreme and Hindus
don't matter). It will also give plenty of column space to the Ratna
Kapurs who will shout from the roof tops about the assault on
democracy when Hindus protest, but will disappear when Muslims protest
about offensive literature against Islam. Can't these people at least
pretend to apply uniform standards?

from:  V. Vanamali
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 07:34 IST

Unfortunately, this shows the intolerance in our society. The said
organisations, if they felt the book offends them, could have achieved
their objective by making a public condemnation about the book and
advising it followers not to read them.

The final choice should always be left to individuals. That is what
should have happened in a country like India with rich democratic
traditions!

from:  Naveen E
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 03:38 IST

For all those asking and trying to rephrase again and again, why not any other religion please go get your facts rights. This is not the first book under such controversy.
Islam and Christianity both have had their share of such books.
Im not trying to defend Ms Wendy Doniger but you cant play the blame game here and pin point other religion - ``why not them``
you should at least be happy that the book was taken back, whereas in the case of other religions the book was issued and openly sold despite mass agitation.
Examples - Da vinci code and the Satinic Verses etc etc.

from:  Azmaan
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 02:52 IST

Most comments are about western publishers. They simply don't know, that in reality Christinaity is much more investigated and critiqued in west world than you can even imagine in India.

from:  Sunil
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 02:46 IST

@Rajasekharan T ---- Will Penguin ever publish anything similar that will deal with Christianity or Islam ???
ANSWER --- they already have.

from:  Azmaan
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 02:33 IST

The author while criticizing the totalizing nature of Right wing ideology herself relies on a
totalizing premise about Hinduism as culture rather than as theology. While any theologian
would place her subject within the discursive frame of theology, Wendy Doniger trespasses.
While that is fine if acknowledged, the author kapur herself is far from a dispassionate
critique, and turns a blind eye to do Doniger's scholarly misdemeanors. Kapur confuses the
important epistemological and discursive distinctions involved between religion and culture -
a distinction that would be strictly followed in the study of any major world religion. And does
not address why it might be un-Hindu for the right wing to seek to theologize Hinduism. She
misses the woods for the trees.

from:  Rachel
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 02:16 IST

Who in Hindu allowed this article to be published? Seriously, it not only shows the writer's
competence in poor light but also Hindu newspaper's. Does your paper not have anything
else to publish? I wasted my money buying your paper today.

from:  Ram Natarajan
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 01:23 IST

Modi has nothing to do with the book. Yet his has been dragged in. I think this article is consistent with the policy followed by your paper for the last few years which has been commented by several other persons as well.

from:  krishna
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 00:06 IST

I have read this book and found nothing offending. To those who do not like this book can
suggest others to not read the book but there is no room in a secular, liberal democracy to
suppress any book.

from:  Dipesh Lall
Posted on: Feb 16, 2014 at 00:05 IST

What beats me why are these Westerners so keen in denigrating
Indian...Indian culture and Indian Gods.Years back E.V.Ramasami naicker
did this in Tamil Nadu and now all Toms and Dicks are doing this.And we
Hindus feel so sorry for such writers/people and blame the HIndutva for
this.If some Srilankan Tamilians are facing problems in Srilanka why
should Tamil Nadu cry then ? It is the same way for us Hindus.

from:  J.Akshobhya
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 22:35 IST

This refers to the controversy over Wendy Doniger’s book, The Hindus:
An Alternative History. Of late, the Western writers’ aim is to
diminish various manifestations of god, as worshipped by the Hindus,
into laughable mythical caricatures. They assail the sanctity of the
Bhagvad Gita as a book that is nothing more than a violent call to
arms; they assault the morality of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami
Vivekananda, two of the country’s greatest spiritual saints.

Such profanities are apparently part of their hidden agenda to
systematically debase the very foundations of Sanatan dharma. Their
goal appears to be for the academia, and eventually the mainstream
society, to project Hindus as a people worshiping cartoon-like gods,
adhering to an irrational scripture, and paying homage to despicable
saints.

from:  Padmini Raghavendra
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 22:27 IST

A 'fanatic" Hindu group raised certain objections in writing about the
book. According to them the mentioned writings in the book offended
their (Hindus) feelings. Certain Indian intellectuals and media
including the Hindu are unhappy about the Penguin decision to withdraw
the book in India. The best course available to the Indians who are in
favour of the book is to become party to the legal case and fight it
out in the court. The campaign against 'fanatics' and the Penguin
decision is meaningless because it is a legal and not academic or
political issue.

from:  R. Pandya
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 22:10 IST

Certainly this one does not sound like a book worth spending money
on.The article is also too losely written and gives the appearance of R
K not having even read the book.

from:  Raj B
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 21:05 IST

Hinduism will survive Doniger, as it has seen M F Hussain and others before them, by embracing
them, inclusion, metamorphosis, and simply outlasting all. But can Doniger publish a flawed
and biased work that is at best meretricious and ill-researched, and at worst a deliberate
and malicious attempt to purvey a slanted and bigoted view of one of the world's most
ancient and greatest religions? As asked, would she have the nerve to write similar rubbish
about other religions.
As for those Indians usually described as the pseudo-intellectual, superficial, western-
oriented elite who are foaming at the mouth now, how many of them so much as whimpered
at the treatment meted out to Rushdie, or even now protest at his book banned in their own
country?
Let this book be published in India by all means, then, but let Doniger purvey her own brand
of scholarship with other religions, if she dares, and let not Rushdie's or any other book, for
that matter, be banned in India.

from:  Rajan
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 20:39 IST

Will Penguin ever publish anything similar that will deal with Christianity or Islam, they will close shop forever then? The slanted tree is easy to be climbed up. Shame on you, Penguin. Cheap publicity is your face value. Expressionism is not of writing any nonsense criticising one religion. There is none here which is pure, so why the foul cry?

from:  Rajasekharan T
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 19:02 IST

Quite a few people have raised the issue of whether Wendy Doniger
would have offended Muslim sentiments through a similar book. Even if
she had such a manuscript, no publisher, including Penguin, would have
touched it with a ten-foot pole, fearing a violent backlash. Whereas,
an offensive book against Hinduism is fine and dandy! And a whole
bunch of pseudo secularists will jump up and down about assault on the
freedom of speech, including venerable newspapers.

Nevertheless, the book shouldn't be banned---we can justifiably be
proud of the the philosophical heights found in Hinduism and it is
Doniger who should be worried about how her work will be judged now,
and by posterity (in the off chance is survives the acid test of
time). A poor book has been given needless publicity.

from:  V. Vanamali
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 18:56 IST

The author is only seeing the Hindus did extremism on the minorities. She does not see the daily basis conversions that are taking place and the Hindus becoming a mimority slowly since centuries. This is not extremism. I feel shame to read sometimes such scholars. The Hindu should be careful in getting articles, whether paid or unpaid.

from:  Raman MD
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 18:35 IST

My question will be one: predominantly India was a Hindu nation. Who converted it to become so many Christians, Muslims in it now? So, when we talk about majority Hindu highhandedness, what about all these conversions that are taking place every second of our lives for centuries and centuries in India and Hinduism is being minoritized in the world/on earth, which is one of the greatest among few great civilizations, and the most ancient whose contribution to the world is much much higher than any. The author has some hidden agenda, to make it as simple as that, like many other Western priests and preachers. First let her make her own home clean (Christianity's treacherous contribution to the world is still living examples all around us). Hindus have no conversion agenda.

from:  Mohandas K
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 18:30 IST

The truth should be told as is and why does the author not write a book on Islam she can find plenty of facts to write the slaughter of Hindus in Bangladesh.The genocide in Bangladesh During the nine month long Bangladesh war for independence, members of the Pakistani military and supporting militias killed between 300,000-- 3,000,000 people and raped between two- and four hundred thousand Bangladeshi women in a systematic campaign of genocidal rape.

from:  Anjaneyulu
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 18:28 IST

On the very beginning of the book I was surprised with the implied
idea that Sanskrit and local dialects were different. In fact,
Sanskrit is the grammatical standardisation of the local dialects. Dr.
Doniger has expressed the tendency of easily forgetting this fact
following other imperialist scholars.
the Hindu riot of 2002 was certainly bad. Not only bad, but worst. But
nobody mentions the root cause of this reactions either in India or
abroad.
Banning this book is, of course, bad.And this incident is preceded by
the ban of the satanic verse, cursing my god died young.
In a nation where nearly one fourth of population are allowed and
encouraged to practice intolerance, one should not expect and the
opposite from the remaining.

from:  RKSharma
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 18:24 IST

Probably this is the most saddest part of our culture is A hindu
writer writes against the beautiful religion (Hindu)in a news paper
"The Hindu". I donot think any of them has any sentiment for the
religion of tolerence i.e Hindu. the sufferer of every cruelty by
other religion and of course the minor religion in the world. Can
anybody try to save this religion? i feel we are the people who
destroy ourself.
Sadely in this article, i have noticed that very less content is
written about the controversial book. I suggest the editorial team of
The Hindu to look into this article and encourage to write the
relevant content.

from:  Subrat
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 18:06 IST


I don't understand the human imperative to ban or suppress a work of expression - be it a
book (Satanic Verses), a film (Last Temptation of Christ), art (by Mapplethorpe or Serrano) -
especially in our globally inter-networked world. Banning is a paradox - the very act of
suppressing a work gives it more currency and detracts from the original intent of containing
it. All it does is give the moralist a false sense of activism. The best course of action is to
ignore it or the next course of action is to debate it - like this article does,

from:  Noronha
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 17:43 IST

There are a species of scholars in the West who make a career out of their extremely poor "re-telling" of stories about a culture, a faith that they actually know precious little about.

They're in love with their "voice" and "frameworks". But they're pressing their noses against a glass door, they can't seem to find a way in, except by these means. There is also a whiff of intellectual elitism and superiority that comes across, and I wonder at their brash sensibilities in attacking the core of a culture thus.

They are doing a HUGE disservice to their VIDYA. The threads are fragile that bind together different cultures and people who co-exist in this tapestry that is India.Using intellect to divide & rule is 'AVIDYA'. They bear the burden of trying to "educate" us about ourselves, and how! Even if there are interpretations worth sharing, riding roughshod over people's sentiments is NEVER the right way, especially in a nation already bursting at the seams with very real issues.

from:  Mona
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 17:37 IST

I think the author of this piece deliberately misses the central point. The core of the issue is: how far could one go about the speculations that definitely hurt the sentiments (religious in this case) of a significant portion of the population. There is a free-speech in the West but would some "scholar" claim that mother Mary had incestuous relationship with Jesus Christ without caring much for evidences and yet not attract punitive legal cases against himself or herself, I wonder. As a society we must clearly define how tolerant we should become and then this bar should be irrespective of which religion is in the question. There are many books still banned in EU or US. Its weird that same people who proposed ban on Rushdie are now blaming right-wing Hindus. In my personal opinion though, books like Wendy's dont deserve to be banned but thoroughly rubbished by some genuine research. We have unnecessarily made a martyr out of pretty ordinary work (this book) of Wendy from Berkley!

from:  Shashank
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 17:23 IST

Seriously, i think 'The Hindu' is at serious risk of losing readership from its 'Hindu' followers based on its anti-Hindu leanings. Why must you write such articles, much less be so antagonised towards our own cultural values that are being walked over by these anglicized liberal authors versions which are so ?

The readers need explanation as to why the newspaper is called 'The Hindu' which in itself is a misnomer borrowed from the earlier invaders and persians. The indians never identified the way of life as a religion, because there was no other way to live. In the meantime the new readers (and old) will need to refresh that this newspaper has nothing to do with RSS, Shiksha Seva Bachao Andola or Ram Sena or any new parties.

Please! (-:

from:  Pradeesh
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 17:19 IST

The Freedom to Write or express doesn't mean to hurt the sentiments & value of people . If in the same context if author's has written some rubbish about Islam or Christianity then it would be said as it is an non - Secular / Communal act .But when it comes to about Hindus the protest will be considered as an extremist act . No matter We will be Extremist for such people who want destroy our tradition . Just withdrawing the books is not sufficient . The should legal action taken against the author & penguin for such an act.

from:  srinivas
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 17:19 IST

Before I read this article, I had read several articles written by
this author in the Hindu, and I used to admire the logical approach
and thought process of the article writer on display through her
articles. But after this highly politically motivated article written
by the author in the garb of trying to defend the freedom of speech
(made to look dearer than the Oxygen we breath in India and elsewhere)
I feel pity and had a long laughing session on the quality of
journalism, and editorials the Hindu and other media houses are
publishing now-a-days, without making even the simplest of efforts to
hide their true political leanings, which can now be easily spotted by
even ill-trained eyes of an average reader. Or is it that with the
almost true freedom of writing and reading articles on net, average
newspaper readers have become smarter than the journalists writing
utterly judgmental articles and passing their judgement as the
ultimate moral and political standard to abide by all?

from:  Susaant Menon
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 16:58 IST

Had Wendy Doniger wrote something as derogatory as this about Christians or Islam, I am sure Penguin books India would have been history by now!. You cant write some non sense like this about a religion in the name of free speech and hurt the sentiments of the people. People like Ratna Kapur is a curse to India. And on top of this the so called 'The Hindu" news paper is publishing all anti Hindu articles like this in support of other religions. I don't know why it should call itself "The Hindu".

from:  Varadh Swamy
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 16:51 IST

Can Ms. Wendy dare to write so against Islam ?

from:  rajesh kumar
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 16:27 IST

The real issue is the limits to the freedom of expression in India and
how law is used to suppress freedom of expression. Governments have
banned books and courts have upheld such bans in some instances.In
this case the court suggested that the parties should resolve it by
talking to each other. So after discussions Penguin took this
decision. It is not a good one for upholding freedom of expression.
But as the publisher explained there are legal issues that put
publisher in a disadvantageous position in such cases. The author does
not address the legal issues .Her arguments make no sense. Communal
riots of 2002 have no relevance to this issue.Challenging Hindu right
is necessary but not sufficient to ensure that freedom of expression
is not endangered.

from:  ravi srinath
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 16:19 IST

The article is sickening and shameful. So are the authors comments "
she also remarked that not being either a Hindu or a male placed her
in a doubly disadvantaged situation with the Hindutva forces."

If one associates smells of the bodies on the bazar with Hinduism
etc.. then they are indeed inciting hatred. I read parts of this book.
Being a professor myself, I found it to be extremely incompetent and
one often gets a feeling that the truth is intentionally distorted for
shock value. Ms. Kapoor and Dr. Wendy are doing disservice to India
and Hinduism respectively. An honourable person would find a better
way of making a living. Or is this about hunger for fame and money?

from:  Arunachalam
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 15:22 IST

To call Hinduism a religion itself is truly not understanding that there is nothing symminct about our culture(s) and our way of life and history is more art than actual recording of facts.

To stop a writer or book from being read is akin to closing our minds to another version that is different from our versions that was either learned from our gran folks or DD. India as a concept back in the ages, was more culturally dynamic and topics like dharma, history, sex were vigourously discussed and given due value for viewpoints however xtreme. Yes you don't have to agree, but it doesnt take away my right to think or say it?

If Doniger wrote a book, and if we as Indians took it as a version that stoked our sensibilities about our past, should we go right ahead and ban it, or just let it be ? By no means, dont take her version and stuff it. We as Indians are skeptical with one version of a story? Is that how it really went down in Mahabharata? Was Drau actually saved by1000 mtr saree ?

from:  Pradeesh
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 15:02 IST

true that freedom of expression should not be curtailed because some
"Hindu nationalists and fanatics" say so. But if this book should not be
banned, then so should the ban be lifted off from Satanic verses.

from:  sandeep
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 14:52 IST

the hindu-modi's mouth piece.

from:  p t selvan
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 14:48 IST

Unfortunately we are forced read the pirated digital version of "The Hindus: An Alternative History". The last time I checked the torrent site, there are about 350 seeds available. A lot of people are exercising their right to read!

from:  shankar
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 14:44 IST

I did not know about the book "The Hindus: An Alternative History by
Wendy Doniger, a professor of religion at the University of Chicago".
Now I know about it, I will try to get a copy. I already looked at
Amazon site and it is pricey (Rs 2500) - otherwise I would have placed
the order by now.
Whenever a book is banned in India - it is justified on the ground
that Salman Rushdie's book or Taslima Nasrin's books are ALSO banned
in India to please the Muslim fanatics. Why a religious sentiments of
only a handful people be the responsibility of the Govt, or the
Country or Larger population of the country and to be enforced by a
legal ban - to be enforced by its Police and other staff. Is this the
duty of a Modern Day Govt (to protect religious sentiment) - other
than protecting life, limb, property, dignity and freedom of its
citizens.
Also the law invoked is a British era law. Should not we put an
automatic EXPIRY date on the all laws when we adopted them from
British Colonial Legacy?

from:  Haru Mandal
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 14:34 IST

Where is the connection between 2002 Gujarat riots and Alternative History for Hindus. I also don't understand why this article should be published at all .

from:  RaviShankar
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 14:09 IST

Freedom of speech need not be at the expense of the Hindus' sentiments. Wendy Doniger also said once that the Gita is a dishonest book! What scholarship can one expect from such irresponsible authors (whom the Indian media parrots). Has she been subjected to psychoanalysis herself in order to psychoanalyse other cultures. The Hindus have taken the right course of action in the most diligent manner in getting the courts to act in banning such so called freedom of speech books - not resorting to stone pelting or damaging public/private property etc. I fail to understand the connection of Gujarat riots to the banning of this book in question.

from:  Suresh K
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 13:43 IST

People have the power and reach to cause unrest in world just by expressing themselves. The power they have is addictive. Consequences are hardly their concern. They think they have thought it all and for all - everything in present, past and future. We have to accept that their motivations are pure. Wait until computers outrun humans. These free speech drum beaters will have to argue with computers instead of humans.

from:  Keshavan
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 13:42 IST

"The settlement is not only a story about free speech in a democracy; it
is reminiscent of the darkest aspects of the 2002 Gujarat riots." A
typical secular article in The Hindu with the obligatory reference to
Gujarat 2002 (however disconnected it be).

from:  kvjayan
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 13:33 IST

"The settlement is not only a story about free speech in a democracy; it is reminiscent of the darkest aspects of the 2002 Gujarat riots". Really! How?

One reason why we have these kind of situation is that the west has established a lot of re-branded "Oriental studies" divisions in most universities; where as in India they are languishing. So a Hippie's Interpretation of Hinduism is condemned by groups who have no idea of Hinduism (at least not in a way to make people who "matter" AKA UN, Heads of Western countries, understand!), being defended by Journalists who want to connect what they feel "Passionate about" (Guj 2002 riots) to anything. What kind of ramblings can readers expect in future?
American's are getting fat because of the Gujrat Riots.
GLobal warming is caused by the flames of GUjrat Riots!

I am not disappointed, just shocked

from:  SUbramani
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 13:15 IST

The cover of the book itself objectionable leave alone inside. If Allah or Jesus has been with someone in naked, Will the media talk about freedom of speech. Anything that hurts the religious sentiments of the people should be removed. Follow Singapore as an example where no incident/event/books that hurt one religion will be tolerated under communal harmony.

from:  bala
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 11:55 IST

first defame hindus if they protest then criticize them for getting
popularity -A routine practice to get chief popularity. Westners are sex
hungry so even in sanskrit they will selectively pic up scripts which has
nothing to do with snatan darma but some misdoings of kings. Hinduism was
championed by its rihis (old saints) not by kings and there life history.

from:  shringi
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 10:29 IST

"We can only say, folly is an illness for which there is no medicine,
and the Hindus believe that there is no country but theirs, no nation
like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs [and] no
science like theirs...".

These words of Al Biruni precisely describe how big of a bigot these
self proclaimed preservers of Hinduism are.

from:  saurabh chauahn
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 10:07 IST

Some choice quotes by the apparently much-maligned 'scholar' in question, Wendy Doniger:

“The Bhagavad Gita is not as nice a book as some Americans think…Throughout the Mahabharata ... Krishna goads human beings into all sorts of murderous and self-destructive behaviors such as war.... The Gita is a dishonest book …”

"If the motto of Watergate was Follow the money, the motto of the history of Hinduism could well be Follow the monkey or, more often Follow the horse. "

“Hinduism was violent not only in its sensuality but in its reaction against that sensuality – violent, that is, both in its addictions and in the measures that it took to curb those addictions…"

If this is the 'scholarly' and 'alternative' view that our champions of free speech are clamouring ad nauseum for,I wonder where their lamentations disappeared when an exhibition on Aurengzeb in Chennai was forcefully shut down. Double standards on what constitutes right to free speech much?!

from:  Rohit Vijayan
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 10:00 IST

This is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read.

Wendy Doniger is no "scholar" of the Vedas. She is an opportunist who
sensationalizes Hinduism by filtering Vedic knowledge through the dubious lens of
pseudo-Freudian psychoanalysis.

It's appalling that people like her are depicted as victimized scholars by a biased
media that is ever eager to play the "gender-discrimination" and "Hindu
fundamentalist" cards. The take-home message here appears to be that no one
should ever criticize Wendy or her medicore understanding of the Vedas, and anyone
who does so is, by the very fact of disagreeing, a "Hindu fundamentalist."

If one wants to know what the Vedas are, one ought to start with real scholars who
lived, breathed, and practiced the culture. The ancient commentators like Sankara,
Sayana, Ramanuja, Madhva have already paved the way for understanding the Vedas
as they were meant to be understood - as part of a living tradition, not a thing to be
dissected or exploited.

from:  Philip Roberts
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 09:42 IST

I wouldn't just call this attempt an overkill, but a perverse attempt
by Prof. Kapur to use institutional clout to unleash timely and
opportunistic propaganda. With all due respect to the freedom of
expression, protesting is integral to the freedom. And this protest
was carried out with total abidance to Constitutional ethics - with
the litigation lasting for 4 years (or even more). What's the problem?
Enough of 'academic spot jogging'. Nationalism is never natural;
always socially engineered. Hindu nationalists know best how Hinduism
is a continuum of sacred-profane equations, deriving highly from
little and tribal traditions. Diverting attention to some assumed
project and defamatory reality distortion of 2002's Gujarat riots
betrays a predetermined vitriolic attempt to abuse the scenario, to
'socially engineer' visceral moods in the run up to elections.
Otherwise, the argument would have been purely substantive and
specific. SHAME!! SHAME!!

from:  Maulik Mavani
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 09:42 IST

Everybody has a right to approach a court to settle a dispute, and
that is what Mr Batra did. Penguin withdrew after four years of
fighting the case stating that it was the law that went against them,
due to the fact that offending religious sensibilities was a criminal
rather than civil offence. Even Wendy Doniger highlighted this point.
Apart from the court case, there were no street protests, no vandalism
etc. It is surprising therefore that the author being a Professor of
Law, does not point this out at all. In fact like many intellectuals
she tries to connect all such instances to the Gujarat riots and
discredit Narendra Modi. I also find with The Hindu newspaper an
effort to muzzle voices like mine through the so called "moderation "
process which apart from weeding out abuse and off topic comments
should allow all other relevant comments, whether they conform to your
views or not. Let us see if this post survives your famed "moderation"
!!

from:  Bhaskar Bhattacharya
Posted on: Feb 15, 2014 at 09:27 IST
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