June 14, 2014
Jyeshtha Krushna Paksha Dwitiya, Kaliyug Varsha 5116
SBAS had objected to the book On Hinduism
Three months after Aleph Book Company decided that American Indologist Wendy Doniger’s book On Hinduism would be reprinted only after issues raised by the Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti (SBAS) were resolved, a new reprint of the book is now out.
Over the past week, copies of the book were spotted in a couple of book shops in the Capital. One bookseller in South Delhi told The Hindu that fresh copies of the book arrived about a week ago. That Aleph Book Company has decided to reprint the book was also confirmed by Ms. Doniger.
The professor of History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School told The Hindu that she had been informed by Aleph Book Company about a month ago that a fresh reprint had been ordered. The publishers, she said, had despatched copies of the new reprint but they had not reached her yet.
Asked whether the issues raised by the SBAS, which had charged Ms. Doniger with distorting facts to denigrate Hinduism, had been resolved amicably, the author said she was not aware of the fate of the complaint.
According to her, the publishers handled the case on their own and reported to her “in a general sort of way what they intended to do,” adding she did not know who they had consulted to assess the book in the light of the SBAS’ complaints.
On March 10, Aleph Book Company had said that in view of the complaints raised by the SBAS and its convener Dinanath Batra, the book — which “is now out of stock with us” — would “only be reprinted after the objections are examined by our lawyers and four independent writers and scholars so we are able to properly assess them and determine how best to resolve the situation.” Ms. Doniger was not told who these writers and scholars were.
Aleph Book Company did not respond to an email sent by The Hindu enquiring about the status of the assessment and whether the matter had been resolved to the satisfaction of all concerned. Mr. Batra told The Hindu that he had not heard from the publishers since their March statement and the “chapter is closed as they had agreed not to reprint the book without my consent.”
On Hinduism is the second Doniger book that caught Mr. Batra’s attention. Earlier, Penguin India decided to withdraw from India and pulp all remaining copies of her book The Hindus: An Alternative History after the SBAS took the publishing house to court.