Penguin withdraws Doniger's 'The Hindus'

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 11, 2014 07:09 hrs

Chennai: Penguin Books India has decided to withdraw all editions of Wendy Doniger's contentious The Hindus.

The publishers will also destroy the remaining copies of the book. The book will now be taken out of publication in India.

A company document found on Scribd, read, that Penguin India will, ‘with immediate effect recall and withdraw all copies of the book, Wendy Doniger's The Hindus: An Alternative History, from Bharat (Indian territory)’. The agreement also states that Penguin will neither sell nor distribute the book and that it will recall all editions at the earliest.

The said agreement was reached with a group identified as Shiksha Bachao Andolan based in New Delhi, which had filed a case against the company over the book in the 2011.

Doniger’s book drew the ire of many and in one such online petition, it was alleged that the book analysed Hindu deities using flawed psychosexual Freudian theories that in modern-day psychology are seen as limited. The 2010 petition addressed to Penguin USA President Susan Kennedy read, "Doniger analyses revered Hindu Gods and Goddess using her widely discredited psychosexual Freudian theories that modern, humanistic psychology has deemed limiting.

"These interpretations are presented as hard facts and not as speculations. Doniger makes various faulty assumptions about the tradition in order to arrive at her particular spin. In the process, the beliefs, traditions and interpretations of practicing Hindus are simply ignored or bypassed without the unsuspecting reader knowing this to be the case. This kind of Western scholarship has been criticized as Orientalism and Eurocentrism. The non Judeo-Christian faith gets used to dish out voyeurism and the tradition gets eroticized."

Company agreement:

Online petition:

Meanwhile, expectedly, afternoon Twitter jumped to opinions backing freedom of speech.

Some of those include,

Seema Goswami : First it was Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. Now it is Wendi Doniger's The Hindus. At least u can't fault #penguinindia on consistency!

Sagarika Ghose : Shocking reports that Wendy Doniger's The Hindus to be withdrawn worldwide? Best way to critique a book: write another book! Why a ban?

Ramachandra Guha : This is deeply disappointing: … Penguin should have appealed in a higher court.
View summary

Swapan Dasgupta : Very uneasy about Penguin decision on Wendy Doniger book. Ideas & academic studies, howevercontentious, cannot be handled by censorship.

Rajiv Malhotra : Penguin has agreed to withdraw Wendy Doniger's book "The Hindus" from India & destroy all copies. See agreement below

One also provided the link to an alternative download location!

Ravish Sharma : Here is a download link for all those who wants to read controversial book "The Hindus" … !!! RT this to your followers

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