In light of the recent arrests of activists who have been working around tribal rights, Delhi University banned two books, which were prescribed as History readings, for ‘glorifying Naxals’ and ‘legitimising conversion of tribals to Christians’.

Subalterns and Sovereigns: An Anthropological History of Bastar, by Nalini Sundar and Against Ecological Romanticism: Verrier Elwin and the Making of an Anti-modern Tribal Identity, by Archana Prasad are the books which are being removed from the course based on the logic that they are ‘not fit’ for DU students.

Against Ecological Romanticism: Verrier Elwin and the Making of an Anti-modern Tribal Identity is a set of essays which aim to challenge the preconceived notions about tribal life, economy and identity while stating the reality if their lives. Subalterns and Sovereigns: An Anthropological History of Bastar talks about the political changes taking places in Bastar which in turn affected the socio-economic status. It traces these developments from colonial India to postcolonial India.

Both the authors have been highly appreciated for their work in their respective books and have won prestigious awards like Ester Boserup Prize for Research on Development from Copenhagen in 2016 and the Malcolm Adiseshiah Award for Distinguished Contributions to Development Studies in 2017. Sundar points out how it was a couple of BJP leaders’ objection which led to this unjustified decision. She was backed by historian Ramachandra Guha who emphasised on the scholarly importance of the book for academic purposes. 

Feature Image Credits: Culture Trip

Oishee Roy

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With inputs from Times of India

The world may have moved on to Kindles and iPads, but all the eBooks cannot replicate the feeling of nostalgia one gets in a book. However, India’s reputation for having a narrow public mindset has always been a point of discussion. From being deemed to being harmful to the nation’s integrity, to just being subtly offensive, books are banned in India for all kinds of reasons.

Here is a compilation of banned books along with a list of places where they could be found in Delhi:

1. Understanding Islam through Hadis by Ram Swarup
Banned for being harsh towards Islam, this book had also gotten its publisher arrested. Despite having invoked the wrath of the Muslim community, a tawny copy of this book will be found in a small kiosk, left of Golcha Cinema, on Netaji Subhash Marg in Daryaganj.

2. The Price of Power by Seymour Hersh
Morarji Desai, the early Indian Prime Minister was accused of supplying secrets to the CIA in this book. He launched a case and got the book banned in India. However, second hand copy of this book was last spotted by the correspondent in a lesser known kiosk opposite Bhandari House in Nehru Place.

3. The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger
This book, banned for portraying Indian Gods in an unlikely manner, saw a major backlash from the Shiksha Bachao Aandolan Samiti and uncles and aunties alike. However, unbeknownst to the moral police, a source had spotted a copy of this book in a book store, simply called Book Shop, which is tucked in a corner of Lajpat Bhawan’s Sisters of the People NGO building, near the Moolchand Metro Station.

4. Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence by Jaswant Singh
This book was banned for portraying Jinnah in an objective manner rather than as a demonised nation breaker, and for criticising the policies of Nehru and Sardar Patel. Inspite of this, an old and rusty copy of the same was unearthed from under a pile of books by our correspondent in Ber Sarai of Delhi, located between Jawaharlal Nehru University and IIT Delhi, last June.

5. India Independent by Charles Bettelheim
Despite being banned in India, a copy of this book with bright, unmarked pages and firm binding can be found in Arora Book Shop in Hauz Khas Market. It is bound in a jacket which shows minor shelf rubbing and minor edge wear only. The owners will allow you to borrow it, if not buy it, and you can return the book after you’re done reading.

6. Old Soldier Sahib by Frank Richards
In the narrow by-lanes of old Delhi, a more than two-decade-old library, popularly called the Shah Waliullah library, contains ‘extinct’ or rare publications, including dictionaries and poems compiled in numerous languages. Situated a few steps away from Jama Masjid, in Imli gali of Chandni Chowk, it has over 15,000 books in Hindi, English, Sanskrit, Urdu, Persian, and Arabic languages including the banned book ‘Old Soldier Sahib’ by Frank Richard.

7. The Land of Lingam by Arthur Miles
One of the very few Indie bookstores in the city,we hear the owner of May Day book store refuses to stock books by Chetan Bhagat and writers of the similar clan, even though they generate maximum profits. Amongst its selection of second-hand books is ‘The land of Lingam’ by Arthur Miles, which is banned in India.


Feature Image Credits: Pixabay

Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak
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