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Freedom of Speech or Freedom to Cause Dissonance

Recently a book, "The Hindus" written by Wendy Doniger has been called off the shelves because of intervention by the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti (SBAS) and by the court order. The book is published by a renowned publisher house, Penguin India.


There are reports that this book is available illegally online, some torrent sites, and offline through flea markets. In the past, India has banned controversial books, Hindu Heaven by Max Wylie, Nine Hours to Rama by Stanley Wolpert and the Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie.


From the examples, you can see the prohibition is not biased. Books which are deemed to be unfit under the Information Technology Rules 2011 are ordered by the court to be banned. These include the books which portrays India and its citizens wrongly, adversely affect the external affairs with other countries, objectionably provides alternative views for some established religious, political, social and others dogmas.


I think it is the right of the Indian people and the people in other countries to understand that the bans have large implications. Even if the books may be available illegally, the right thing to do is to reject them. There is no use in discussing something that is of no value. Due to social media, there is wide scope of discussion as inferred under right to knowledge but also equally important is to respect the law of the court.

Published first at iReport.

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