We as a country have been averse to criticism. Frankly, you could be forgiven for thinking we are referring to the last seven years. Sure, it’s been dialled to 11 but we have always been scared of people calling us out. Hence, the ban on books!
1. The Land of the Lingam by Arthur Miles
The 1937 book aimed to help Westerners understand Hinduism. In doing so, he stated that the worship of the lingam (phallus) was an important aspect of Hinduism. He was also critical of India’s caste system and wrote about how Hindu priests had brought it upon society solely for the purpose of dominating the society.
2. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Unarguably the most popular book on this list, Verses describes Islam as a faith with way too many regulations and doesn’t hesitate to paint unflattering pictures of Islamic figures. The Indian Finance Ministry had the book banned just 9 days after its release.
3. The Face of Mother India by Katherine Mayo
In 1926, an American researcher Katherine Mayo published the book based on her travels in India. The book is highly critical of the many harmful traditions of Hinduism, like the marriage of children, the treatment of women an Dalits, as opposed to the sanitised version of the religion.
That said, the book also advocated for British colonialism in India. Go figure.
4. Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India by Joseph Lelyveld
In 2011, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Joseph Lelyveld published a book on MK Gandhi, suggesting that he had an affair with a German-Jewish architect, Hermann Kallenbach. Many believe that Lelyveld was implying a homosexual relationship there. Naturally, the book was banned in India.
5. The Polyester Prince by Hamish McDonald
The book is an unauthorised biography of the founder of Reliance Industries Limited Dhirubhai Ambani. The book was released in Australia but was banned here after Ambani filed a defamation case.
6. Godman to Tycoon: The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev by Priyanka Pathak
The book by Priyanka Pathak, chronicling the meteoric rise of godman Ramdev was banned on the ground that it was too derogatory in nature while speaking about the protagonist.
7. Santsurya Tukaram and Loksakha Dnyaneshwar by Anand Yadav
A magistrate in Pune ordered to destroy the copies of these two novels as he found them to be derogatory in nature. The books were based on the lives of Sant Dnyaneshwar and Sant Tukaram.
Find them, read them. That’s the beauty of the internet. Nothing is ever truly inaccessible.