The ugly truth, even when it is fictionalized is not allowed to reach the readers, at least not in India. The Indian government has always argued to have banned books for the maintenance of law and order in the country, but it has never really tried to make its citizens more tolerant to the idea of unusual. So, if some writer writes about the lost Sino-China war, or levies allegations against the business lords of the country; their work is going to be banned. In past this many books have escaped this wrath, but many others got clutched for an eternity. Here’s the list of the top 10 banned books in India.
1. The Satanic Verses – Salman Rushdie:
The Satanic Verse, fourth novel by Salman Rushdie earned him a fatwa issued by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the supreme leader of Iran. Muslims of the world consider the book replete with insults to the legend of Prophet Mohammad. According to them the contents of the book are blasphemous and a violation of freedom of speech. The book is not only banned in India, but countries like Bangladesh, Sudan, South Africa, Kenya, Singapore, etc. have also imposed a ban on it.
2. Mother India – Katherine Mayo:
Katherine Mayo’s book Mother India was first published in 1927 and soon after attracted negative reviews by Indians all over the world. Disgustingly, she attacked the Indian society at large, along with various tenets of Hinduism. She vehemently talked about the dirty Indian politics, the unjust treatment given to women, dalits and animals in the country. She even went ahead to blame the weakening of Indian men’s sexuality as the reason for all social problems. The book was condemned by Gandhi too. It is regarded to be the most derogatory text that influenced America’s negative view about India.
3. The Ramayana as told by Aubrey Menen:
Aubrey Menen a satirist of Indian and Irish origins has re-told the Indian classic Epic, Ramayana in a funny and totally readable way. Although his text in no manner underpins his love for India, but his way of narration did horrify the orthodox Hindu Devout who refused to accept the liberties he took with the sacred nature of the epic. Except for reaching a few homes in India, the book was banned by the Government of India in 1956, on the grounds that it could potentially hurt religious sentiments of people.
4. Nine Hours to Rama – Stanley Wolpert:
Nine hours to Rama written by Stanley Wolpert was banned by the Indian Government in the year 1962. The book gives a fictional account about the assassination of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi. In his narration, Stanley brings to light an imaginary account of the last day of Gandhi, and how nationalist conspirators had planned his murder at a prayer meeting. It implicitly blames the Indian government for failing to provide such an important leader of the country with proper security highlighting their incompetency.
5. Rangila Rasul:
Rangila Rasool literally means the Colorful Prophet. This book has been mired in controversy since it was first published in 1927, and described the marital and sex life of the Muhammad. Its author was an Arya Samaji, but no one knows his name was Pandit M. A. Chamupati or Krishna Prashaad Prataab. His publisher, a Lahore based fellow called Rajpal, never revealed the identity of the writer. He was sent of 5 years of prison and was stabbed to death by Ilm-ud-din. The book still remains banned in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
6. The Polyester Prince – Hamish McDonalds:
The Polyester Prince is an untold account of how Dhirubai Ambani, the man who created India’s biggest business house, had risen to power. Hamish’s book alleges that many rules had to be amended to suit Dhirubais business prospects. Several controversial allegations are levied against the business tycoon, who at times is referred to have risen above the government and law, and started to decide to the fate of people. The book was eventually banned in India, and even if it were not, chances of Hamish getting clutched into a legal battle would been high.
7. Understanding Islam through Hadis – Ram Swarup:
Ram Swarup’s Understanding Islam through Haids was published in 1982 with its Hindi version banned in 1990, followed by the ban of the Hindi version in 1991. The book is supposedly a study based on the English Translation of the Sahih Muslim, one of the sixth major adhiyats of the Sunni Muslims. It was condemned for its harsh critique on political Islam. Ram Swarup’s friend Sita Ram Goel got the book republished in 1983, and also got it translated into Hindi. Soon a furor rose among the Muslim community, and Goel was arrested and all Hindu edition books ceased and banned.
8. Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada:
The book written by two Canadian reports, Zuhair Kashmiri and Brain McAndrew was apparently banned in India for obvious reasons. The term Soft Target is euphemism for people and communities that can be easily penetrated for subversive purposes, and here it refers to the Sikhs, who were a soft target of the government, during the 1980s. The book underwent many trails, but eventually it was remained a piece of unsubstantiated allegations, which was better left banned in the country.
9. Unarmed Victory- Bertrand Russell:
A philosopher and peace activist, Bertrand Russell’s book, Unarmed Victory was banned in India because it dealt with the 1962 Sino-India was, which unfortunately India lost. The book details his conversation with Nehru over the Sino-India war, and also makes a critical judgment of the acts of war, and the war between India and China, which could had lead to an almost holocaust. He also talks about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Russell has always been an advocate of a peaceful existence of nations without war.
10. Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim:
A non-fiction about the account of the annexation of Sikkim, during the 1970s, Smash and Grab was written by Sunanda K. Dutta-Ray. The book was the outcome of the writer’s friendship with the then king of Sikkim, Chogyal Palden Thondup Namgyal. It’s about the struggle of his empire, during the times when India and China were in a constant state of conflict over the Himalayan Territory, the invasion of the Hindu peasants of Nepal to Sikkim, and his kingdom’s annexation by the Indian government of Indira Gandhi. The last part obviously brought about the ban.