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India: SAHMAT Statement on Wendy Doniger’s book

by Sahmat, 15 February 2014

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Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust
29, Ferozshah Road, New Delhi-1
Tel: 011-23381276, 23070787
Email. sahmat8 at

Dated: 15-02-2014

The surrender of a major publishing firm (Penguin India) over Professor Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus, an Alternative History, in a recent out-of-court settlement that involves the withdrawal of the book and the pulping of its copies, has rightly aroused much disquiet among all circles committed to freedom of speech and respect for scholarly disagreements. The event has, however, a still more sinister aspect. It is, clearly an early salvo in the renewed campaign to drown all questioning voices and prepare the ground for a full-fledged chauvinistic and communal presentation of our history and culture with no quarter allowed to dissenting voices. The misuse of judiciary to browbeat the author or publisher of a book that the bigots do not like is characteristic of the usual Hindutva campaign. The next step, as some newspaper reports already suggest, is to extend the net of censorship and use government machinery, wherever available, to extend to school and college textbooks the same kind of misinformation, chauvinistic claims and denigration of other religions and cultures that we had seen during the past B.J.P.-led regime at the centre.

It is, therefore, necessary not only to condemn what has happened in regard to the Hindus, an Alternative History, especially the pusillanimity of the publisher, but also to redouble our vigilance in regard to what is still to come.

Prof. D. N. Jha
Prof. Archana Prasad
Prof. Kesavan Veluthat
Prof. K.M. Shrimali
Prof. Shireen Moosvi
Prof. Utsa Patnaik
Prof. Irfan Habib
Prof. C. P. Chandrasekhar
Indira Chandrasekhar
Prof. Rajiv Gupta
Prof. Mihir Bhattacharya
Prof. Iqdar Alam Khan
Prof Mridula Mukherjee
Badri Raina
Prof. Ramesh Rawat
Prof. Prabhat Patnaik
Prof. Amar Farooqui
Prof. Saira I. Habib
Prof. Arjun Dev
Prof. Anil Bhatti
Sashi Kumar
Prof. Indira Dev
Prof. Shakti Kak
M. K. Raina
Prof. Atluri Murli
Prof. Zoya Hasan
Prof. J. M. Parakh
Prof. Anil Sadgopal
Ram Rahman
Madhu Prasad
Prof. Jayati Ghosh
Sohail Hashmi
Prof. Ranbir Chakraborty
Dr. P. K. Shukla
Girish Mishra
Madan Gopal Singh
Dr. Vishva Mohan Jha
Ashok Rao
Dr.Lata Singh
Mukul Dube
Parthiv Shah
Vivan Sundaram
Dr. Biswamoy Pati
Prof. R.C. Thakaran
Prof. R. Mahalakshmi
Dr. Rakesh Batabyal