Hindu nationalists are gaining power in India – and silencing enemies along the way
When Penguin abruptly accepted defeat in an Indian court and withdrew a controversial book a fortnight ago, the backlash was so ferocious it took almost everyone by surprise.
A small, hardline Hindu group said it had found the book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, by the academic Wendy Doniger offensive towards their religion, forcing the mighty conglomerate to retreat in the face of a lawsuit. Two authors subsequently asked the publisher to cancel contracts and pulp their books, too, a move called “unprecedented” by one Indian newspaper.
Other famous writers in its stable protested at Penguin, including the activist Arundhati Roy, who accused it of succumbing to “fascists”. On Twitter, images of the Penguin logo circulated with its name replaced by “Chicken”.
In the same week, the United States ended its decade-long boycott of the controversial politician Narendra Modi after its envoy met him to discuss bilateral relations. Modi is the Prime Ministerial candidate of the opposition party, the BJP, and favourite to win the elections in April. The State Department had cancelled his visa in 2005 on grounds of “severe violations of religious freedom” and had repeatedly refused to review its policy until pragmatism forced it hand.
Full article by Sunny Hundal here -