India is notoriously known for the ‘BANS’ of all kinds. We have government bodies such as Censor Boards, then we have Extremists Boards, then Religious Bhakths Boards we also have ‘We got nothing else to do’ Boards (Eg. recently a genius noticed that 2 film stars on a TV show were inside temple with their Chappals on and that hurt the ‘Sentiments’)
Here are some controversial Books that were ‘Banned’ in India.
1. The Great Soul
Joseph Lelyveld, the Pulitzer Prize winner and former executive editor of The New York Times penned a biography, “The Great Soul”, inspired by Gandhi’s life in India and South Africa. The reviews claimed that the book exposed Gandhi’s sexual life and bigoted views. Reacting to it, the book was called for a ban in Gujarat, Gandhi’s hometown. But imposition of nationwide ban was abjured, citing Lelyveld’s clarification. Still, the book is not let inside India by Customs Department.
2. Nine Hours to Rama
Nine Hours to Rama is written by historian Wolpert, a professor at University of California. This book is a fictional account of last day of Gandhiji’s life and focuses on how Nathuram Godse planned Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination. It was banned because it exposed the poor security provided to Gandhi, and hinted at possible incompetence and conspiracy.
3. Jinnah: India Partition Independence
Official accounts of Indian history portray Pakistan’s founding father Mohammed Ali Jinnah as the villain whose obstinacy led to India’s Partition at the time of independence in 1947. In 2009, Jaswant Singh, former foreign minister in the government of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (now the leading opposition party) wrote a massive account of Jinnah’s politics with remarkable objectivity. While what he said wasn’t necessarily new, it gained notoriety because it was critical of Congress leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel, and showed Jinnah as more reasonable than the way he is often portrayed in India. That went against the conventional wisdom in India, and the BJP, which otherwise opposes the Congress party, expelled Singh from the party. BJP-ruled Gujarat banned the book. A court order later revoked the ban, and Singh has now rejoined the party.
4. The Satanic Verses
India was the first country to ban the book following the hostile response from the Muslims all over the globe. Fatwa was imposed on the author Salman Rushdie by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini for demeaning Islam. Rushdie had to live in hiding for nearly a decade.
Taslima Nasrin’s book, Lajja, provides a glimpse of anti-Hindu riots which erupted in parts of Bangladesh, soon after the demolition of Babri Masjid in India on 6 December 1992. The book subtly indicates that communal feelings were on the rise, the Hindu minority of Bangladesh was not fairly treated, and secularism was under shadow.
6. The Ramayana as told by Aubrey Menen
Menen was an Irish-Indian satirist who reinterpreted the Hindu epic Ramayana. An irreverent iconoclast, Menen deconstructed the epic in a playful way that angered many Hindu leaders—the book had yet to reach many readers. In 1956, the Indian government banned it on the grounds that it could offend religious sensitivities.
7. Lady Chatterley’s Lover
“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D.H. Lawrence was considered obscene because it was an account of a women’s illegitimate relationship with her gardener. It’s depiction of sex and politics gave rise to controversies and was unanimously banned in India and Britain (though Britain lifted up the ban later). But the ban is not followed as it should be and you can find books in some stores. The Court said that it does not protect those who take delight in “sexual pleasures and erotic writings”.
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