Books That Are Banned In India

BANGALORE: What do you think an author gets when he or she writes a book? Recognition, self satisfaction, pots of money (the $1.7million advance that Vikram Seth received and returned for A Suitable Girl)? Ah, and the awards-the Man Booker, the Pulitzer; sounds like the most exciting profession, right? You may actually get killed for writing a book or publishing one. Raj Pal, the publisher of the booklet Rangila Rasul-a booklet describing Prophet Muhammad’s relationship with women-was murdered by a Muslim youth on 6th April 1929.

The question of banning a book arises when a large group of people complain of getting offended or hurt by the ideas discussed in a book. The reasons vary, from hurting religious sentiment to using offensive language. Here’s a list of significant books that the government of India has banned.

The Face of Mother India: Katherine Mayo, an American author spent five months in India travelling and meeting people-from poor dalits to Gandhiji-in the 1920’s. That experience later used to write a book, The Face of Mother India. In this book she highlights the condition of dalits in Indian society, the plight of the Hindu widow; reports on infanticide and child marriages.

In addition, suggests a solution—the continuity of British rule. She declares that Indians are not fit for self-rule. Besides, she had shown the leaders of Indian independence movement including Gandhi in poor light. This and the highly polemic nature of the book earned for itself a ban and furious reactions from the Indian public. In a not so furious reaction, Gandhiji dismissed the book as a ‘drain inspector’s report’.

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