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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Salman Rushdie and the Jaipur Literature Festival

So I read the Times of India a lot. We were asked to look for a news article from a local newspaper/source. The past few weeks there has been some drama building around Salman Rushdie's attendance of the Jaipur Literature Festival. (I am so mad it is not when I am going to be there. I will have to see if there might possibly be any while I am there. Although the summer probably means that there won't be.) (Although I suppose if it might be for the best because I think I am technically not supposed to visit the state of Rajasthan. Technically of course...<.<...>.>...) Recently things came to a head resulting in Salman Rushdie choosing to not attend the Festival. Basically there was a rumor that some Mumbai mafia dons were going to assassinate him if he came to India. So to for his own safety as well as to not disrupt the festival, he did not attend.

That was a terrible summary. I am interested in the implications for my project. Currently in the United States there are no officially banned books. At least not by the federal government, and I am 97% sure there are no books banned by state governments. I have been looking around online for a coherent list of books that are currently banned in India. Like most things with my research on India so far, reports are far and few between, and almost always conflict with each other. Anyhow, I am pretty sure at least these five are banned currently (although a few websites noted that even though they are banned, on a couple of them the government doesn't bother to enforce the ban):

The Satanic Verses
Mother India
The Lotus and the Robot
Rangila Rasool
Lady Chatterley's Lover

In almost every case that I have found, the reason for banning a book in India is that it in someway offends someone's religious sentiments, usually Hindu or Muslim sentiments. Usually it is not for specific obscenity, such as in the case of Lady Chatterley's Lover (which still seems kind of random to me). Most cases were instances where authors challenged popularly accepted dogma or portrayed religious figures or ideas in a more realistic or negative light. I think I am going to have to find a complete and accurate list of the books banned in India. I think individual states can have their own bans on books. This could be difficult.

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