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Subject Law and Language Submitted To Dr. Prassananshu Submitted By Hemant Kothari Roll No. 31BALLB2011

2011 National Law University, Delhi


Serial Chapter No. 1 Acknowledgements 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Introduction Methodology Observation table Analysis & results Discussion Conclusions References

Page 1 2 4 6 21 24 28 30

I feel very privileged in expressing my gratitude to Dr. Prasannanshu without whose help, I would not have been able to complete my project. I would also like to thank my parents for encouraging me to complete this project and my elder sister, who helped me in completion of my project by giving her valuable insights to the topic. I would also express my thanks to all those friends, who helped me directly or indirectly in my research work.


"Don't join the book burners. Don't think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech at Dartmouth College, June 14, 1953 "The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame." -- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891 Historically, religious and cultural disagreements have driven emperors, religious leaders, and members of the ruling class to curtail readership. (Manchanda,2011) The practice of book banning has its origin from the time the books were started to be written. In earlier times, it was referred as book burning as books were burned to symbolize the banning of the book. Since then the practice of book banning is still continued in every part of the world on different grounds of which some may be logical but in most of the cases it doesnt seem to be. In other words, book banning can be characterized as a civilized form of book burning. (A.G. Noorani, 2007) In simple words, book banning is the practice of banning those books, which in any way affect the social, cultural and political order of the society or may arouse hatred or enmity among different groups or communities of the society, etc.. The justifications for banning a book are always open to different interpretations by different people. There is no definite standard of evaluating any book and to justify the above mentioned reason for banning that book. That being the state of affairs the topic of book banning has been widely debated in the past and is still debated. In a case of book banning, generally it appears to have active participation of three groups viz. the writer and the publishers of the book, the affected group or community, which may be called as pressure group and the state or government, which bans the book following the due process of law (in most of the cases in India, it hasnt followed the due process of law). Thus, the legality of book banning can be discussed by evaluating the stands of all the parties on their respective legal and logical basis. To ban a book in India, the government takes recourse to two statutes. One is the Customs Act 1962, by this act the government prevents the import of the books in India, thus, in a way prevent the circulation of the book to be banned. The other method is to confiscate the books published or sold in India. This power is derived from section 95 of Criminal Procedure Code 1973, which empowers the state government to declare forfeited to the government

any newspaper, document or book which, in its opinion, offends against the following provisions of the penal code; namely, S 124-A (sedition), S 153-A (promoting ill will between differentgroups based on religion, language, caste, etc), S 153-B (imputing disloyalty to the country to any such group); S 292 (obscene literature); S 293 (sale of obscene literature to the young); or S 295-A (insult to religious feelings of any group of citizens with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of that class). (Noorani, 2011)

The government, however use these provisions to serve its political intentions. There are many instances of book banning, where the governments have banned the books invoking the above mentioned sections of Indian Penal Code and subsequently, the judiciary has also quashed these unqualified bans, securing the freedom of expression of the citizens.

Before independence, these provisions to ban the books or any other document were used by the Britishers to suppress the rise of Indian nationalism. The raj used to ban all those books or publications, which aroused patriotism in the people of India, on the ground of sedition or being anti- government. This legacy of banning the books was also inherited by the independent India. After independence, book banning has been utilised as a tool to serve the political ends of the parties. It has been used to arouse the religious sentiments of the people and placate them so as to gain votes from different religious groups. It can be inferred from the fact that most of the books, which are banned after independence, are concerned to any religion or any historical hero (for example-Rama Untold, The Satanic Verses, Dwikhndito, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India). Book banning has been used in the recent past as a political tool, for example, Rohinton Mistrys novel Such a Long Journey was scrapped from the syllabus of the University of Mumbai, at the protest led by Udhav Thackerays son, who was also the student of the university. Journalists and think tanks perceived this act as a publicity stunt for the heir of the Thackeray regime. There is always a political lineage behind banning of books.

The trend of banning of book in India is decreasing with the passage of time. This welcoming decrease in the trend shall be attributed to the active role of Judiciary in India, which has presented a liberal outlook towards book banning and limited the scope of grounds of book banning. Although the lower judiciary is not yet participating in this trend but the trend is being perpetuated by the higher judiciary.

The researcher has employed the method of doctrinal research which implies the collection and analysis of data from secondary research materials such as books, articles, etc. The research is not based on empirical method of research which includes surveying, collection of primary data through questionnaires, etc. The project has been prepared with the dual approach of analyzing the legality of book banning. The dual approach of the project includes a study and analysis of articles on book banning and the study of specific instances of book banning and its political, social and legal implications followed by application of general findings of the observation table on those instances of book banning.

In the observation table, the researcher has mentioned, observed and analyzed all those articles, which have been studied for the purpose of this study. The observation table includes five columns viz. Serial number, source, observation, Comments of the researcher and the key words. Under the column of observation, some excerpts of the mentioned article in the respective source column have been taken. Having taken the observations from an article, the researcher has given his comments on that excerpt or on the article. The column of key words is significant in giving a direction to the observation table. In the column of key words, the observation of an article has been characterized as political, social, religious, historical or judicial issue. The broad five categories of classification need to be explained, so that the reader can conveniently identify the nature of observation and the reason of it being classified under a specific category. The explanation is as follows: 1. Political Issues Under this category, those observations have been classified, which hints at book banning being used as a political tool by the politicians to serve their political interests or where the observation has identified a political understanding to the issue of book banning. 2. Social Issues It is the broadest category, which includes issues related to public morality, public sentiments, intellectual heritage, obscenity, level of tolerance, apartheid sentiments, deteriorating literary ambition due to book banning, etc. 3. Religious Issues This category includes those observation in which the religious sentiments or the allegiance of people towards a specific historical hero is taken into consideration while reflecting upon the issue of book banning.

4. Historical Issues This category includes those deliberations on book banning which takes into consideration the significance of historical facts or in some way depicts the historical aspect of book banning. 5. Judicial Issues In the recent times, there have been a trend of judicial liberalism towards the issue of book banning. Thus, this category has included those observations which talks about such trend or which demonstrates the judicial or legal point of view towards the issue of book banning. For example, the discussion on the curtailment of freedom of speech and the justification of restrictions on freedom of speech, if any. The observation table has been divided into three broad categories viz. Journal Articles, General Articles and Newspaper & Magazine Articles. The observation table contains 26 articles and 47 observations from those articles. After observation table, the researcher has demonstrated the cumulative effect of the classified key word through a graph, which gives a pima facie hint as to what are the main issues behind book banning. The researcher has analyzed these articles in the chapter Analysis and Results. In the chapter, Discussion, specific instances of books, which have been banned, are discussed with their legal, social and political background of the ban. The concluding chapter of the research gives a thorough review of the research project and the stand of the researcher over the issue at hand.

S . N o .


Include name of the author(s), year, title, publisher and page number. Include the excerpt that the researcher finds interesting for his study



1. Banerjee,
Sumanta, The two events and the In this extract, the author Political reactions from the political refers to the instances of Issues of Dwikhandito( work of

Fahrenheit 451: bigwigs not only indicate banning Empty Bookshelves Closed Economic the pathetic level

of autobiographical

and enlightenment

and Tasleema Nasrin, which was understanding banned in West Bengal ) and public and Shivaji: Hindu King in

Minds, intellectual and among our

Political Weekly, politicians, but also raise Islamic India(book by James January 24, 2004, important questions about Laine). The author argues pp. 318-319. the wisdom of arbitrary that these bans were

official ban on dissenting preceded by a series of literature in general, and the agitations by the interested validity of manipulated pressure groups and the to

popular campaigns against government


such literature that often such demands just because of prompt particular the banning, in its political interests.. The author calls it stupidity on the part of the governments to concede to such demands and unfortunately

governments do concede to such demands.

2. Same as above

But, if it is a demonstration The political parties always Religious by religious bigots concede to the demands of and Political

whether Hindus or Muslims, every religion irrespective of Issues

however violent they might its rationale and intellectual be, and however monstrous understanding. In simple their demands could be words, the author tries to say these same state that the banning of books by

governments (irrespective of the governments is an effort their political hues) are all to placate the religious and too eager to placate them regional demands of various pressure groups, who even lack understanding demands of intellectual of their

banning the

dissenting literature and are ignorant about the content and implications of the


3. Same as above



Front The use of book banning as a Political

governments acquiescence tool to serve the political Issues in the politics of the Islamic interests of a party is not clergy in West Bengal, only confined to one parties but as goes to show that stupidity it is said all the dogs in the does not belong to a single street party or regime. are dirty, all the

politicians have the same tendency to serve their self interests.

4. Same as above

Vandalism and violence are Violence is being justified by Religious being endowed with a self all the political parties by Issues righteous religious value by overshadowing it with a politicians of all hues religious canvas. author through this Social Issues

5. Vjpeyi,
of Economic

Ananya, The work on Shivaji by the The

Rejecting Politics American professor James article asks the common Injury, Laine must be judged on the people of a democracy to and cogency of its arguments judge an issue from

Political Weekly, and the propriety of its empirical and logical point of January 31, 2004, methodology. Instead we are view rather than from a point p. 412 asked to judge it on the basis of view which is full of of the nationality of its prejudice. For the


development of the society, it should be liberal enough to accommodate the justified dissenting changes.

6. Same as above

A claim about Shivajis In the book on Shivaji, if Historical parentage, made by anyone there is any new fact about issues and put into the public the life of Shivaji, it shall be domain, should be judged judged or isnt grounded in inherent from a broader the

for the degree to which it is perspective




verifiable attachment to the character.

historical sources, not for its The violent agitation by the emotional effect on those Sambhaji brigade is a symbol who might cling to baseless of the undeveloped and un myths about the great kings mature society. antecedents.

7. Same as above

must be judged for the The central idea is that the Social Issues quality of the book it has put society should not judge the out, not for the feelings its book based on the prejudices publication may arouse in but it should also take into some individuals or consideration the new facts and see if the facts are justifiable


8. Chandran,

Mini, One of the first books to be In this article, the author has Social Issues banned by the Supreme presented an unbiased

Democratization of Books Indian Economic

Court of India was D H account of the two novels Lady Rama Untold and The

Censorship: Lawrences and

the Chatterleys Lover in 1964. Satanic Verses. The author

Public, This puritanical judgment has also presented the views and came after the novel had and opinions behind the

Political Weekly, won major censorship court banning of these novels. In October 2, 2010, battles in the United States the later part, the author has pp. 27-31 and the UK. Chief Justice discussed Hidayatullah, who judiciary the in trend banning of the

pronounced the verdict, was books. It shows the growing confronted with the vexing liberal outlook of judiciary in

issue of the legal definition India with time. The author of obscenity. has given examples of cases and tried to analyse the judiciary as a tool of book banning in the past and the present. The author has also discussed the case of James Laines book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India. The judges observation was The court gave a landmark Judicial and thatobscenity without a definition to define the term social issues preponderating social obscenity. The significant

9. Same as above

purpose or profit cannot part is that the court has very have the constitutional successfully related the term obscenity though subjective. with it society, becomes protection of free speech

10. Same as above

The courts, however, did not The



the Judicial

maintain this rigidity of definition was moulded in Issues stance vis-a-vis literature in the favour of the liberalistic the years to come. Very approach often, they have become the banning. protectors of free speech in cases where charges were levelled against writers towards book

11. Same as above

The liberal outlook of courts This shows that the outlook Judicial was underscored again with of judiciary towards book Issues regard to freedom of the banning is not completely press when an obscenity suit liberal and thus it can be filed against the leading concluded that book banning English newspaper The has been justified in some

Times of India was struck places. down by the apex court.

12. Noorani, A.G.,

Book Banning, Economic and




by In this article, the author has Judicial the due legal Issues

recourse to two statutes. One explained

method is to prevent their process of banning a book.

Political Weekly, December 1, 2007, pp. 10-11.

import from outside; another He has also identified the is to confiscate books loopholes through which be published or sold here.. book



The other method is to use enforced by the government Section 95 of the Criminal for its selfish motives. The Procedure Code, 1973. author has discussed the It empowers to to the state validity of law through a declare series of cases, in which the the provisions regarding the any book banning have been document or interpreted.

government forefeited government newspaper,

book which, in its opinion, offends against the following provisions of the penal code; namely, S S 124-A 153-A (sedition),

(promoting ill will between differentgroups based on religion, language, caste,

etc), S 153-B (imputing disloyalty to the country to any such group); S 292 (obscene literature); S 293 (sale of obscene literature to the young); or S 295-A (insult to religious feelings of any group of citizens with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of that class

13. Rossuck, Jennifer, Many censors do not read This article has been written Judicial
Banned Books: A most or all of the texts they by Study Censorship, The never English an American author, Issues Of challenge. Students learn to criticizing the argumentation isolate one word, of the censors while banning the books. It is evident that

Journal, sentence, scene, or passage

Vol. 86, No. 2, but to consider the whole in books at the school level are Censorship (Feb., order to properly analyze very 1997), pp. 67-70. each part. frequently and in

condemning that the author has criticized the process of censoring censors in which the


sometimes have not read the books to be censored.

14. Sanders,
Censorship Apartheid, and

Mark, The real quarry of the censor The author has shown a Social Issues

J.M. Coetzee on is thus not the desired object study on the articles of and but the desiring subject, and, Coetzee and how he relates Law in the end, the very desire the apartheid and censorship.

Literature, that attaches to that subject. Coetzee defines apartheid as

Vol. 18, No. 1 To the extent that it is, as the way by which desires of (Spring 2006), pp. Coetzee formulates it, also a blacks are attacked by the 101-114. counterattack on desire, whites. Censorship is thus

censorship shares a basic analogical to apartheid since impulse thinking. with apartheid censorship is also a means to suppress the desires of those who want to express and those who wants to read some new literature.

15. Blume,
Meant Original by Writers., to

Judy, What I worry about most is The author in this article Social Issues

Places I Never the loss to young people. If quotes Judy Blume, who Be: no one speaks out for them, considers that by censoring Stories if they don't speak out for the publication of the so Censored themselves, all they'll get for called dissenting literature, in required reading will be the we are depriving the young from attaining a

Winkler, Lisa K., most bland books available. people

Celebrate And instead of finding the comprehensive information they need at the understanding of the real about library, instead of finding world and its working. the novels that illuminate

Democracy! Teach Censorship, The

English life, they will find only those

Journal, Vol. 94, materials to which nobody No. 5 (May, could possibly object.

2005), pp. 48-51.

16. Jenkins, Iredell, should

Literary Censorship, Virginia freedom



be This question was raised in a Social Issues

The Legal Basis of protected in his individual court of law in a case of of choice and censorship of a book on

action, or should society be grounds of obscenity. The Law protected against the court answered it in favour

Review, Vol. 31, possibly vicious influences of the greater interest of the No. 1 (Dec., resulting from the exercise society and held that the of this freedom? public upheld. moral should be

1944), pp. 83-118.

17. Same as above

The attitudes of men can The author talks about the Judicial move backward as well as need of the codification of issues forward; the attainment of a laws in this regard so that the high level in some phase of law may provide a standard social conduct does not of judgment. This is the

guarantee that it will be appropriate time to codify maintained. advance, permanent, embodied in to A be must some social considering the more

made significant level of tolerance be than that of past. in-

stitution. And we should take advantage of our

present temper of artistic tolerance to objectify it in sound laws that will assure its preservation

Banning Books, Indeed, a large portion of This article is a precise study Social Issues our comes intellectual from heritage on the history of censorship art, but do give a historical http://www.indiac urrents.com/article s/2011/06/02/bann ing-books, accessed


movies, artifacts, and word- background of censorship of of-mouth stories They our and books. This article is helpful provide in analyzing the justifications concepts, been given for banning the

on anecdotes. shades to

August 31, 2011.

outlines to our ideas, and books as it gives various color to our thoughts. Yet, instances of book banning

countries, governments censorship,


and and so on. exercise



violently than others.


Same as above

In the United States, Sept 24 The celebration of Banned Social Issues to Oct 1, 2011, has been book week is an important designated the Banned symbol of the increasing of the modern dissenting

Books Week. This yearly tolerance event celebrates the freedom world


to read and, during this literature. commemorative period,

libraries and book stores put together a display of books that have been challenged,


Same as above

Her novel Lajja, revolving As far as the content is Religious around the revenge rape of a verifiable or justifiable, the Issues young Hindu girl in the author has right to present backlash against the Babri her views. In the book Lajja, Masjid demolition in India, if the author has given an created such an uproar in account, which arouses

Bangladesh that she was feeling of hatred or ill-will forced to flee to India. between two communities Eventually, opposition to growing but the account is true and her anti- empirically verifiable, then

religious views forced her also if the book is banned, it into exile from India. is unreasonable. the was British the rule, Political most issues


Same as above

Since the British era, several During Indian writers have faced the Sedition

wrath of authority. The great dominantly used justification Hindi writer and social for banning the books or

thinker, Premchand, came works of literature, which under literary scrutiny in aroused nationalistic feelings 1910, when the British among the people of India. his Again, the justification itself



collection of short stories, is not justifiable but only Soz-e-Watan, claiming it serves political interests.

was seditious in content. The book consisted of five stories that sought to inspire patriotism freedom. and political


Censorship in India: The Right To Read, http://indiafirsthan

Indian guarantees speech just

constitution The author of the article Judicial freedom like of questions the acts of the state Issues the to ban the books. The author

American constitution yet asserts that Indians have a some significant culture of debating and

d.com/2010/07/10/ places 2535/, accessed on August 31, 2011.

restrictions on it. According arguing about the issues then to the constitution these what the government is restrictions are in place in trying to protect the society the interests of the from. The article welcomes

sovereignty and integrity of the role of judiciary in lifting India or public order or the irrational bans on literary morality. The Indian works.

government has used this loophole occasions censorship. on to numerous impose


The Banning Of As I read this book, at first I E for Ecstasy is a book Social Issues "e For Ecstasy" felt a temptation to try depicting By Saunders, http://www.123He lpMe.com/view.as p?id=88703, accessed Nicholas ecstasy due to the positive the information

about drugs. The Australian banned this

way in which the drug was government described. further After

reading book as it found that the into book promotes drug ecstasy.

the text, however, much The banning in this case is on more detailed information susceptible to interpretation about the drug is brought by different persons. As this fourth. For example, the article argues that if a person book associates use of doesnt know about the ill-

August 30, 2011.

ecstasy with the cultures of effects of drugs then it is all kinds of illegal drugs. In more probable that he would my opinion, the ban should try the drugs. be lifted because the

book does not just give the positive information about this drug. While the

book does side towards the use of the drug, it does provide all kinds of

interesting information and education including negative data about the drug.

If information about drugs is kept in the dark, people will be tempted to seek

information in potentially harmful ways.


http://www.newad vent.org/cathen/03 519d.htm, accessed on August 31, 2011.

When the Church, after the In these lines, the author has Historical era given of persecution, greater liberty, was presented some historical Facts

a facts and tried to show that

censorship of books appears how much heinous the ban of more plainly. The Council First books was in the way the ban of was implemented.


Nica (325) condemned not only Arius personally, but also his book entitled

"Thalia"; commanded

Constantine that the

writings of Arius and his friends should everywhere be delivered up to be of



them was forbidden under pain of death.


http://www.compl etereview.com/quarte rly/vol5/issue1/lai ne0.htm, accessed

Different representing a

sub-groups, This excerpt is from the Religious range of description of the book on Issue

religious persuasions, found Shivaji by Oxford University it in their advantage to Press. These lines suggest accentuate or diminish the that in some way the book

on August 31, 2011.

importance of Hindu and also

instigated of

religious different

Muslim identity and the sentiments

ideologies that supported the groups and thus, gives a construction of such religious canvas over the

identities. By studying the ban. evolution of the Shivaji legend, Laine demonstrates, we can trace of the such


constructions in both preBritish periods. and post-colonial


http://www.npr.or g/blogs/monkeyse e/2011/04/01/1350 43658/a-book-sbanning-sparks-astruggle-overgandhi-s-legacy, accessed on November 6, 2011.

Is the only way available to in this excerpt, the author has Social Issues us to respect Gandhi and emphasized that the legacy other national icons is to of Gandhi is not protected in protect them by law and the real sense by mere governmentality? If they protection from law and the

were tolerant of criticism, government but the legacy invited discussion of their will most intimate in be preserved and

impulses, protected only when the follow the same


philosophical people

and cultural debates about ideals as that of Gandhi. the validity of their thought With regard to book banning, and conduct, our promptness the issue shall be thrown to muzzle such debate about open for public debate

them is a sign of the lack of showing faith in our icons. our cultural confidence in our icons that they would remain available subjected gossip. relevant despite to and being salacious

27. Elst,

koenraad, It is perhaps the first This article is a review of the Historical Ayodhya and endeavor on the part of book Hindu Temples: What and political After, scholars to dig from the Happened to Them. This issues graveyard of history the book is a collection of

http://koenraadelst .voiceofdharma.co m/books/ayodhya/ ch12.htm,accessed on August




2000 various articles written by

temples destroyed by the Run Shourie and others in Muslim invaders and rulers. the aftermath of the Babri The book is not an exercise Masjid Demolition. This

31, in rewriting history, but is an article shows how the book effort to present the facts judicially presented the


and give a bird's eye view of historical facts and was still the truth hitherto unknown. banned following the politics The book has as its subject at that time. matter not only the Ram temple nearly at Ayodhya but



throughout the length and breadth of the country which met the same fate as that of Ayodhya, Varanasi. Mathura and may Laines book might have Historical the presented some But if explicit Issues these


http://dannyreview s.com/h/Shivaji.ht ml, accessed on August 31, 2011.

Laine's explain

openness some of

animosity: his introduction, material.

for example, explicitly states material are studied in light his hope to "rescue of the whole book taken these seem The could explicit to be

[Shivaji's] biography from together, the grasp of those who see materials India as a Hindu nation at justified. war with its Muslim material

presented be new


Shivaji is historical facts arising out of

undeniably a scholarly work, the story of the scholars however, and few of Laine's critics have engaged with its actual content. Though too slender to be entirely selfcontained, it includes work.

enough background to be accessible to anyone with a basic knowledge of modern

Indian history.


Dalrymple, William, www.columbia.e du/itc/mealac/prit chett/.../txt_dalry mple_review.do c, accessed on August 31, 2011

The historian D.N Jha who The



the Historical

wrote The Myth of the Holy intolerance of the people to Issues Cow, pointing out the readily accept any justifiable

considerable historical and historical fact. The threats on archaeological evidence that the ban were instigated by beef was routinely eaten in historical issues. Vedic period (1st millennium BC), received many death threats and had his book withdrawn in India.


Guha, Ramchandra, Ban The BanThe republic of India bans books with the depressing frequency, in POLITICS AND PLAY. The third and most The author has characterized Political significant reason for the the political interests as the Issues proliferation of bans is the most significant reason

pusillanimity of our political behind book banning. He class. An early example was asserts so by citing many the ban on The Salman examples. Satanic Rushdies

Verses by Rajiv Gandhis government in 1989


Same as above

Lower courts and even some The author is of the view that Judicial and high courts have been besides the political reasons political book banning, lower Issues

accomplices in this process of

of the stifling of free speech. judiciary is also following So too have been politicians the same trend by not being of all parties and liberal in its outlook. Though Indian the higher judiciary is liberal


democrats may take solace while considering the issue in the few exceptions: these of book banning being the institution of the Supreme Court, and those public-spirited public

figures, Censors Sensibilities, http://www.econo mist.com/blogs/ba nyan/2010/12/cens orship_india, accessed on August 31, 2011.



Gopalkrishna Gandhi.


At least outsiders have been This newspaper article is a Political free to say and write what critique to the recent banning Issues they like in India. Yet of censors are a map by This the Indian map actual

getting government.

increasingly grumpy about showed what they draw.

When demarcation of Kashmir on

foreign publications print the basis of the part of maps of India that show the Kashmir which is occupied reality in Kashmirterritory by Pakistan and India. divided between areas

controlled by Pakistan and by Indiacensors at

customs houses, citing a law from 1961, stamp them as "not recognised" by India. For The Economist, that for



delivery of the magazine by a few days, affecting some tens of thousands of Indian readers.


Oh for a Book to be Banned, http://www.openth emagazine.com/art icle/voices/oh-fora-book-to-ban, accessed on August 31, 2011.

Twenty years ago, give or take a month, The Satanic Verses was banned in India. Over the course of this month, there will be no dearth of writing on the ban of books, but on this

This article comments on the Social issues state of Indian English

writers that the quality of writing has diminished. The over cautiousness of the publishers while publishing books on controversial topics has also discouraged the writers to write ambitiously. Thus, it can be inferred that nowadays, writers are

anniversary, the real tragedy is not that book bans are still alive in the country but that there is a diminishment of the kind of literary ambition the book represents. Today

cautious rather hesitant in writing on controversial

you would be hard put to issues in India. find Indian fiction in English that anybody would want banned.


Sethi, Harsh, http://www.indiaseminar.com/2004 /534/534%20back page.htm, , accessed on August 31, 2011.

It is worth remembering that In this article, the author has Religious this is the first time that a raised a question on the dual Issues centre for learning widely face of the then government regarded for its classical and criticized the violent acts scholarship archives and has valuable of the Sambhaji brigade and been so the subsequent banning of

targeted. It is ironic that the book. The book on followers of Sambhaji, a Shivaji by James Laine has great Sanskrit scholar, been discussed in the later

should in the process of chapters. upholding the dignity of their icon, desecrate a

painting of Saraswati, loot and destroy rare manuscripts and even deface texts on Shivaji.


The Ban on Books, http://www.dawn. com/2011/04/16/t he-ban-onbooks.html, accessed on August 31, 2011.

AMONG the bad habits This article explains legality Historical which are inherited from the of propensity to ban books.. book-banning by issues

British Raj, is a marked explaining the mechanism of law through which books are banned and gives a thorough review of the topic with certain instances of book banning. The author is nonbeliever in irrational book banning or book-banning.


Same as above



of Until



the Judicial

advocates of book-banning individuals of the society are Issues is a reluctance to join in not ready to do a reasoned reasoned refutation. debate on the issue of book banning, the judiciary would be incapable of clearly

outlining its stand in the society.


Same as above

Advocates of book-banning Having studied the cases like Judicial have no patience with the Laines book being banned Issues legal route. They prefer, after series of protests, it is instead, to whip up mass evident that supporters of frenzy and take the law into book banning do not want to their own hands. follow the established

process of law.


http://indiatoday.i ntoday.in/story/bo ok-on-mahatmagandhi-gandhigay-slur-unitescongbjp/1/133886.html

"It is the most un-Gandhian This article puts forth the Political thing to do!" Tushar Gandhi views of the citizens of a issues said of the ban. "If you have a problem with the claims mature and developed society and the tolerance of

made in the book, then you those who are part of a have to counter them democratic civilization. This

intellectually. Banning the article is tacitly a question on ?cp, accessed on book, in fact, will give it a the validity of the ban on August 30, 2011. halo, the status of a martyr. Joseph Lelyvelds book on (Great Soul: Banning anything is simply Gandhi an easy way out for the Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle). government."


Same as above

Apart from the Mahatma's

The historian has rightly Social Issues

or hinted family, prominent historian characterized Romila Thapar, who has had towards the fact that book to face the charge of being a banning is like an evil in the "deeply mendacious enemy free society. of the Hindus", has spoken out against the Gujarat ban. "Banning of books is not associated with a free

country," Thapar says.


Politics of a Ban, http://www.hindu. com/fline/fl2303/s tories/2006022400

The ban was enforced after This article in an explicit Political Udhayanraje Bhonsle, the manner explains the political Issues 13th descendent of Shivaji game behind the violent and a former Bharatiya agitations against James

2609300.htm, , accessed on August 30, 2011.

Janata Party legislator, filed Lainess book on Shivaji and a case in the Satara court the political agenda behind against Laine for an banning article this also book. This a

allegedly offensive remark.


question Is book banning a political advantage tool by to garner arousing

religious sentiments among the people?


Same as above

It is believed that Bhonsle, The instance of banning the Political who considers himself to be book of Laine was a pure Issues the original protector of political drama in order to Shivaji's legend by virtue of uplift the image of a

his lineage, is going through politically defeated person. a political slump. He lost the last Assembly elections to a cousin and got a bad image after he was arrested in connection with the murder of an NCP activist in 1999.


Same as above

At least the previous time

The coincidence of mass Political

elections were around the mobilization against Laines Issues corner and in an issueless book and the election in the controversy near future was a situation of benefit for the was useful. Of course, the utter government has a politicians. In that state the responsibility to ensure government had a duty to election this peace and prevent a law and maintain peace and order but order situation, he says. But it failed to do so. to ban a book is an extreme step and they have to use this authority carefully. In this case they have not used their discretion well,

Palshikar adds.


India must move beyond BookBurning, http://www.guardi an.co.uk/comment isfree/libertycentra l/2010/oct/21/indi a-rohinton-mistrybook, accessed on August 30, 2011.

But what has rattled civil This article has been written Political society this time is the in context of ban of Rohinton issues manner in which the vice- Mistrys novel Such a Long chancellor, who is expected Journey in the University of to be the guardian of Mumbai after the protests by Sena. This the of article pathetic freedom of


freedom, Shiv

buckled so swiftly, dropping unravels the text without even the fig condition

leaf of "due process". The speech in India. In this issue has focused attention article, the author has

on how political appointees depicted how ignorantly and are being of elevated to politically the book was


academic struck down from the course

authority, thereby putting in of the university. peril the very future of education. Few will contest that the University of

Mumbai is on such a wrong journey.


Same as above

The 1971 canvas of Such a The excerpt show the social Social Issues Long Journey evokes a aspect of Bombay, which has

Bombay of mutton samosas, been depicted in the book in prostitutes and convent a way that it outrages the ill-

schools, spies who use lines image of the city in the from Othello to pass on minds of the readers and thus messages and public walls the book has been

which need god-photos to condemned. keep them clean. Mistry bends his ear to the city's slang and salty Parsi humour to capture the lives of people encircled by a corrupting political darkness.


Same as above

Liberal groups campaigning The reaction of the chief Political for the text to be restored minister were further disheartened politically is purely a Issues


when the state's Congress reaction. chief minister




announced minister adopted a liberal outlook, he would have to

that he too had found some

paragraphs to be "highly face the loss of a massive objectionable". Disheartened vote bank, thats why the perhaps, but scarcely chief minister refrained from

surprised. The politics of a liberal outlook. competitive parochialism

has always been far more lucrative to politicians than what they dismiss as a salon conversational freedom of speech. subject:


http://www.telegra ph.co.uk/news/wo rldnews/asia/india/ 8073240/AuthorRohinton-Mistryslams-MumbaiUniversity-afterbook-ban.html, accessed on August 30, 2011

Samar Halarnkar, a leading This article also depicts the Political Indian commentator, said he irrationality behind the ban Issues believed the protests were a on Rohinton Mistrys novel cynical ploy to raise the and profile of the the political with the play ban

youngest associated

member of the Shiv Sena's ruling Thackeray

which is to garner public

family, attention for the heir of

Aditya, who is currently a Thackeray family. student University. According to the Sena This excerpt briefly points Political and at Mumbai


Same as above

group, Such a Long Journey out the political as well as Social Issues. makes disparaging the social reasons behind the comments about Shiv Sena university ban on Mistrys and the Marathis, Mumbai's famous "Dabbawalahs", who deliver millions of "tiffin" lunch tins to office workers. novel.

ANALYSIS & RESULTS Precedence of Issues on the Basis of Keyword Classification

18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 Political Issues Social Issues Judicial Historical Religious Issues Issues Issues

Precedence of Issues on the Basis of Keyword Classification

Objective Analysis The research is not completely objective as it includes the element of bias on the part of researcher whilst selecting the articles and finding their observation. The objectivity of the analysis lies in the fact that the process of classification of the sample observation is completely objective as it is predefined and alien to prejudices. The bar graph shows that political and social issues are the most observed reasons for book banning. The rationality of political issues being the dominant reason for book banning is justified by the fact that in most of the cases, being discussed in the observation table and in the discussion section, there is some sort of political lineage to every instance of book banning. The social issues are also dominant reasons attributable to book banning considering the fact that the society (specifically Indian) is less tolerant to the dissenting literatures, which questions the existing norms, system or notions. Judicial issues are not reasons for book banning, as it is clear by the explanation of judicial issues in methodology. The frequency of the judicial issues in the graph depicts the judicial activism with regards to the issue of book banning. The less frequency of religious issue is attributable to the fact that mostly the religious issues are canvassed by the political issues. The historical issues are very less as the evolution of the historical facts has somewhat reached to its zenith and thus there are little chances that anyone will dissent from the existing facts.

The researcher, in his concluding remark, attributes political and social issues as predominant reasons for banning books. Subjective Analysis From the different articles mentioned in the observation table, the researcher came across different aspects of the book banning and the legality of book banning. These different aspects have been analyzed and presented in the later paragraphs. Indeed, a large portion of our intellectual heritage comes from books, art, movies, artifacts, and word-of-mouth stories and anecdotes. They provide shades to our concepts, outlines to our ideas, and color to our thoughts. Yet, countries, states and governments exercise censorship, some more violently than others. In most of the cases of book banning, the groups, who demand such bans, themselves had not even read the book and they protest against that book solely on the basis of hearsay evidences, like- reviews, opinions etc. In case of the ban on The Satanic Verses, the parliament had a debate over the content of the book and unfortunately no member of the parliament had read the book being debated. All the supporters of the ban were arguing only on the basis of their limited knowledge about the book, however, they may be right but still it shows the pathetic level of the intellectual understanding of the public and the politicians. Before banning a book, the government and the people should judge the books or the dissenting literature from an empirical and logical view and then frame an opinion about the book. For the development of literature, the outlook of the society has to be liberal and rational. It should not be like if any fact, however, based on logical evidences, is inconsistent to the emotions and sentiments of a group shall be protested. It hampers the intellectual growth of the society. Thus, before banning any dissenting literature, a due course of logical understanding shall be applied in those instances. The governments have been using the law arbitrarily to ban books, which are rational and logical in its content (like- Shivaji: Hindu king in Islamic India). The governments ban such books to serve its political ends, like gaining support of a particular concerned group. On the other hand the higher Judiciary has played a pro-active role in rationalizing the process and provisions of law of banning a book. The judiciary has quashed many such bans, which were instigated out of political and irrational motives of certain political powers and which were

inconsistent with the interpretation of law. The judiciary has carried out a significant role in determining the legality of book banning. In case of Joseph Levyvelds book, Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle, the ban poses a serious question on the state of freedom of expression in India. The book seemed to be derogatory to the character of Mahatma Gandhi to the Gujarat government on the basis of its review and was thus banned. The government had not even gone through the copy of book and it framed a baseless opinion of the book in advance. This ban was enforced under section 295-A of the Indian Penal Code, which is applicable only if a book insults the religious feelings and the criticism of historical figures do not come in the purview of this section. Book banning has been practiced since the inception of book. From that time, book banning has had some political lineage besides the much important moral and social grounds. In recent past, the book banning has been politicized and on the other hand with the intellectual development of the societies, it seems to be losing its significance. However, in India, taking into the consideration the violent agitations against the books like- Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, The Satanic Verses, etc., the society doesnt seem to be intellectually developing and the level of tolerance is not considerate. Book-banning is inspired by the same mentality which promotes book-burning. It is no function of the state to prescribe a select bibliography to its citizens and undermine the fundamentals of democracy. Before pursuing this theme, however, one must reckon with a certain trend in the West which justifies wilful intentional insult as an exercise of free speech; specifically insult to the faith of Islam and to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In truth, the trend has only accentuated in recent months; for, as James Carrol recalled, in an article in The New York Times earlier this month, Contempt towards the religion of Muhammad is a foundational pillar of western civilisation. That it is unacknowledged only makes it more pernicious. Thus, if this form of exercise of free speech is recognized which is straight away derogatory to a certain religion then it demands a review of whole of the banned literature, which is not intentional hatred towards any specific community. The legality of book banning can be determined, only if one is free from any prejudice or attachments towards the debated book. The law governing the bans has been widely interpreted and applied by the judiciary. The issue of banning a book has to be decided on the basis of rational, liberal, logical and empirical analysis.

In this chapter, specific instances of book banning have been discussed with their social, legal and political analysis. 1. SHIVAJI: HINDU KING IN ISLAMIC INDIA This book has been written by James W. Laine and published in India in 2004. This book is an an historical analysis of the various narratives folklore and official surrounding the Maharashtrian hero, Shivaji. In the course of his book, Laine had noted that Shivajis parents lived apart for most if not all of Shivajis life[p91], adding that Maharashtrians tell jokes naughtily suggesting that his guardian Dadaji Konddev was his biological father [p93]. This was interpreted as Laine suggesting that Shivaji was illegitimate, and after a horrified review was published in a Marathi weekly magazine, a succession of protests began. In October an elderly Sanskrit scholar whom Laine had thanked in his acknowledgements, was roughed up and had his face smeared with tar. To forestall further violence, in November the book was withdrawn from the Indian market by the Oxford University Press, and an apology for causing offence was issued by the author.(Guha, 2011)

Legal Background Subsequently, the Gujarat government had to ban the book, considering the wide spread agitation and it issued an official notification banning the book. The notification was issued by the government under section 95 of Cr.P.C., which declared forfeiture of every copy of the book and publication of the book is punishable under section 153A of Indian Penal Code. Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, requires that the words must promote or attempt to promote on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities. The book, however arouse feeling of insult among one group but it doesnt promote or attempt to promote ill-will, enmity or hatred between different groups. Thus, the honourable High Court of Bombay, in its judgment on April 26 2007, quashed the notification banning the book and ordered to release all the forfeited copies of the book. Subsequently, the Gujarat government filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of India against the judgment of Bombay High Court.

The Supreme Court in its judgment on July 9 2010 upheld the decision of Bombay high court. Thus, the ban on the book exists quashed. By this ruling, the judiciary has proved itself as the champion of free expression in an intolerant system.

Social Background The controversial paragraph in the book outraged the feeling of insult for their hero in the followers the Shivaji. Mob (the Sambhaji Brigade) outrage was not confined to demands for suppression of Laines book; it extended to scholars who had extended help with his research work, and the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute and Library at Pune from where he got a major part of his material. The library was vandalised and precious manuscripts destroyed. As mentioned, Shivaji is considered a hero among the Marathis and in other parts of India, thus, it followed an outrageous agitation spread throughout the Maharastra. However, Laine just quoted the folklore prevalent in the Maharastrian society without any intention to hurt the feelings of anybody and later he apologised for the same but the followers considered it as derogatory to the life of their hero. The protest against the book aroused out of the emotional attachment to the content of the book. It aroused a feeling of insult in one group but didnt promote feeling of hatred between different groups.

Political Background The ban was enforced after Udhayanraje Bhonsle, the 13th descendent of Shivaji and a former Bharatiya Janata Party legislator, filed a case in the Satara court against Laine for an allegedly offensive remark the scholar made on Shivaji's parentage. Laine uses the term "Oedipal rebel" in the context of Shivaji's relationship with his father. It is believed that Bhonsle, who considers himself to be the original protector of Shivaji's legend by virtue of his lineage, was going through a political slump. He lost the then last Assembly elections to a cousin and got a bad image after he was arrested in connection with the murder of an NCP activist in 1999. It is believed that he used this issue to revamp his political image. (Politics Of a Ban, The Hindu article) The ban was supported by all the political parties so as to gain the support of the whole of the community of followers of the Shivaji.


This book was written by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Joseph Lelyveld. It was published in United States and due to be launched in India. The book is a biography of Mahatma Gandhi and had to face the ban imposed by Gujarat government before being launched in India. Objectionable Content After early reviews were published in British and American newspapers, articles began to circulate within India stating that Joseph Lelyveld had portrayed Gandhi as a bisexual, racist and often ruthless politician. The most controversial aspect of the book emerges in excerpts from previously released letters that Gandhi wrote to a German architect named Hermann Kallenbach. The two men became close confidants during Gandhi's early years as a lawyer in a South Africa, sharing ideas about politics and society in a series of deeply intimate exchanges. In one of these letters, Gandhi writes to Kallenbach, "...how completely you have taken possession of my body. This is slavery with a vengeance." As soon as early reviews of the book featuring that excerpt became public, critics in India lashed out, calling the inclusion vicious and insulting. Authors Contention Lelyveld never uses the term "bisexual" in the book and doesn't describe the relationship between Gandhi and Kallenbach as a romantic or sexual one. He asserted that he didn't push it to that conclusion because who knows what had happened between two people almost a hundred years ago? Lelyveld says he was inspired to write the book out of admiration for a more underemphasized aspect of Gandhi's story: his lifelong commitment to domestic politics of equality and justice, ideals informed by the injustice he saw as a young man in British South Africa. His intention to write the book was never to portray such a character of Gandhiji and it is the result of the misreading of the book, as he said in an interview to Bilal Qureshi.(Completereview.com) Stand of Gujarat Government: The Political Background The Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, denounced the book, stating, The perversion shown in the writings not only deserves to be condemned in the strongest possible terms but cannot be tolerated. I know that the members of this august house share my feelings. He was

referring to the Gujarat State Assembly, which summarily banned the publication, printing and publication of the book in Gujarat, even though the book had not been released in India as yet and had most likely not been read by its denouncers. Ramchandra Guha in one of his articles has given the political reason of banning this book before it is available. He believes that it may be an attempt of Narendra Modi to dissuade his image of stern leaning towards a sect by asserting the idea of pluralism of Mahatma Gandhi. He wanted to disguise his leanings by projecting himself as the follower of the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Legal Background This book was banned by an order of the Gujarat assembly. This notification has not been challenged yet in the court of law and it stands banned in the state of Gujarat although free to be published in any other part of India. Comments This instance of book banning is in itself self-contradicting. The book which is banned is a biography of a historical hero, who himself is an advocate of freedom of expression. Had this book been published in the time of Gandhi, he may have criticized the content of the book but would not have recommended banning the book, which may amount to curtailment of ones right to freedom of expression. His grand sons Rajmohan and Gopalkrishna shared the same view and at their appeal only the government of India refrained from banning this book in the whole of India.


The research project has discussed the legality of book banning by discussing and analysing the articles on book banning and the researcher has also discussed the case of banning of two books viz. Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India and Great soul: Mahatma Gandhi and his struggle with India, in order to see the application of general findings from the analysis of observation table. The general findings from the analysis of observation table can be concluded as below: 1. Behind banning of every book, there exists a social cause. The social cause may be that the book arouse religious ill-will or hatred between two religious groups and that the writer insults the religious feelings of any group of citizens with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of that class. If the writer doesnt have any intention or the intention is not proved, the book cant be banned.(As section 153A of IPC interpreted in the Sangharaj Damodar Rupwate and ors. V Nitin Gadre, Joint Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra and ors.). The social cause may also be that the content of the book promotes the feeling of disloyalty towards the country or the content is obscene in the societal perspective. 2. In certain cases, books have been banned by the government to serve its political motives. As it has been discussed in the project as to how political motives were served at the instance of banning the books like Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India. 3. The practise of book banning hampers the growth of society as it hampers the intellectual development of the society that can only be achieved if one thinks from a rational, logical and empirical point of view and judgment without prejudices towards any topic or issue.

In light of these findings, the researcher has critically analysed the ban of those two above mentioned books. The finding of that analysis has been that the mere banning of book cant destroy the idea enshrined in the book. If the idea or the message through that book is wrong then it has to be justified on the basis of logic and rationality. And the legality of book banning can be attributed to the outlook of the society, prevailing law in the society, political maturity and the intellectual understanding of the society, towards the dissenting literatures. If a society has liberal outlook, the law in that society is not authoritative, the political system is mature and developed and the society is intellectually developed, that would be a Utopian

stage, where the practise of banning the dissenting literature would be alien. Every society should strive to achieve that utopian stage. No society in the world has been able to achieve such a stage, thats why, the practices like book banning are still prevalent in every society around the globe.

Banerjee, Sumanta, Fahrenheit 451: Empty Bookshelves and Closed Minds, Economic and Political Weekly, January 24, 2004, pp. 318-319. Vjpeyi, Ananya, Rejecting Politics of Injury, Economic and Political Weekly, January 31, 2004, p. 412 Chandran, Mini, The Democratization of Censorship: Books and the Indian Public, Economic and Political Weekly, October 2, 2010, pp. 27-31 Noorani, A.G., Book Banning, Economic and Political Weekly, December 1, 2007, pp. 1011. Rossuck, Jennifer, Banned Books: A Study Of Censorship, The English Journal, Vol. 86, No. 2, Censorship (Feb., 1997), pp. 67-70. Sanders, Mark, J.M. Coetzee on Censorship and Apartheid, Law and Literature, Vol. 18, No. 1 (Spring 2006), pp. 101-114. Blume, Judy, Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers., in Winkler, Lisa K., Celebrate Democracy! Teach about Censorship, The English Journal, Vol. 94, No. 5 (May, 2005), pp. 48-51. Jenkins, Iredell, The Legal Basis of Literary Censorship, Virginia Law Review, Vol. 31, No. 1 (Dec., 1944), pp. 83-118. Sangharaj Damodar Rupwate and ors. V Nitin Gadre, Joint Secretary to the Government of Maharashtra and ors., MANU/MH/0813/2007, www.manupatra.com State of Maharashtra and ors. V Sangharaj Damodar Rupwate and ors., (2010)7SCC398 www.scconline.com www.epw.in www.india-seminar.com www.jstor.org

www.heinonline.com Guha Ramchandra, BAN THE BAN- The republic of India bans books with a depressing frequency, http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110730/jsp/opinion/story_14295812.jsp, accessed on August 31 2011. Qureshi Bilal, A Books Banning Sparks a Struggle Over Gandhis Legacy, http://www.nhpr.org/books-banning-sparks-struggle-over-gandhis-legacy, accessed on August 31 2011. India: The War Over History By William Dalrymple, www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/.../txt_dalrymple_review.doc, accessed on August 30 2011. James Laines Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India and the attack on the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, http://www.complete review.com/quarterly/vol5/issue1/laine0.htm, accessed on August 30 2011. India must move beyond Book-Burning, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2010/oct/21/india-rohinton-mistrybook, accessed on August 30, 2011. Politics of a Ban, http://www.hindu.com/fline/fl2303/stories/20060224002609300.htm, , accessed on August 30, 2011. Sethi, Harsh, http://www.india-seminar.com/2004/534/534%20backpage.htm, , accessed on August 31, 2011. Banning Books, http://www.indiacurrents.com/articles/2011/06/02/banning-books, accessed on August 31, 2011.

http://www.complete-review.com/quarterly/vol5/issue1/laine0.htm, accessed on August 31, 2011.