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SANSAD Calls India’s Book Suppression An Undermining Of Democracy

Academics, students, writers, intellectuals, and other champions of freedom ofenquiry and expression in India and outside are outraged at Penguin India’s decisionto withdraw and pulp Wendy Doniger’s book, The Hindus: An AlternativeHistory in the face of threats by Hindu right wing forces.

VANCOUVER – South Asian Networkfor Secularism and Democracy(SANSAD), an organization of SouthAsian diaspora based in Vancouver,joined its voice to the outrage beingexpressed by academics, students, writers,intellectuals, and other championsof freedom of enquiry and expressionin India and outside at Penguin India’sdecision to withdraw and pulp WendyDoniger’s book, The Hindus: AnAlternative History in the face ofthreats by Hindu right wing forces.”We applaud Arundhati Roy andWilliam Dalrymple for protesting thiscowardly act by one of the most powerfulpublishing houses with a long historyof defending freedom of expressionand the rights of authors. We applaudthe History faculty of Jawaharlal NehruUniversity for issuing a public statementin condemnation of this surrender tothe threats of the Hindu right wingdetermined to construct a sanitized andstrait-jacketed Hinduism against the richmultiplicity of traditions that make historicalHinduism. We congratulate thescholars int North AmericanUniversities who have issued a statementof condemnation pointing outthat this was a victory for the Hinduright wing organizations in India whohave been working with their NorthAmerican counterparts to suppress alliterativevoices, often the with violence,” Penguin’s withdrawal ofDoniger’s book has a significancebeyond the immediateissue of a publisher’s responsibilityto defend its authors anduphold the right to freedom ofspeech. In its failure of spirit ithas become complicit in theviciously anti-democratic andanti-minority, particularly anti-Muslim and anti-Christian, agendaof Hindutva in India. Bywithdrawing its resistance it hasbecome a partner in the ideologicalprogram to dismantle thesecular democratic identity ofIndia.

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