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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Penguin's withdrawal of The Hindus, An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger won't make it disappear Note: Book recalls are certainly nothing new, and it has been all over.What is very next to impossible to accomplish is total/virtual book disappearance. For e.g, Penguin and its associated agencies will stop selling remove the relevant info from the catalog or their website. Book wholesalers/distributors, such as, Amazon, Barnes, Books a Million... etc., may comply with recall. How about retailers, libraries, second hand book dealers, used books at Amazon and many online stores that are in the market? How difficult is the process can be seen in this article: How to Make a Book Disappear

What happens when a book is banned, see the examples, (and really, they didn't realize a ban would make this book a bestseller?):
"The US ban on James Joyce's Ulysses was lifted. (1933) The book had been banned on grounds of indecency since 1921, and several magazine publishers were fined for attempting to publish serial versions of the book, including one who tried to publish it as erotica. The ban only served to make the book more desirable to American readers, and visitors to Paris regularly brought copies back for their friends. The first authorized copy of Ulysses was published in the US the year after the ban was lifted." (source: wiseGEEK)
"Authors and academics have taken to Twitter to voice their disgust at the apparent decision of Penguin to recall and destroy a book on the history of Hinduism, which campaigners have called offensive."
 'As one author commenting on Penguin’s surrender said: “Once we give up on the right to offend in the name of ‘tolerance’ or ‘respect,’ we constrain our ability to challenge those in power, and therefore to challenge injustice.” The book banners win in India, again.' Tarek Fatah
"After a controversy broke out over the withdrawal of American Indologist Wendy Doniger’s book The Hindus: An Alternative History, novelist Vikram Seth has backed her “scholarly” work and cautioned against yielding to extremism of any kind. “The idiotic group, by the name of Shiksha Bachao Andolan, is saying this is only one battle. It wants to win a war. We must not put up with extremism of any kind. We are one country, and we must not allow that to happen. We are free-minded. We must not allow ourselves to be crushed,” Mr. Seth said at a session of the Patna Literature Festival, which opened on Friday." Let’s not put up with extremism, says Vikram Seth

Here is a link to Doniger's book, as of now at Amazon: The Hindus: An Alternative History  Wendy Doniger, Penguin Books (2010) 
From one of the world's foremost scholars of Hinduism, a vivid reinterpretation of its history.
An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth, The Hindus offers a new way of understanding one of the world's oldest major religions. Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account. Many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated within a century; its central tenets arise at particular moments in Indian history and often differ according to gender or caste; and the differences between groups of Hindus far outnumber the commonalities. Yet the greatness of Hinduism lies precisely in many of these idiosyncratic qualities that continue to inspire debate today. This groundbreaking work elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds, the inner life and the social history of Hindus.
What reviewers sayWendy Doniger's erudite "alternative history" shouldn't be anyone's introduction to Hinduism. But once you've learned the basics about this most spiritual of cultures, don't miss this equivalent of a brilliant graduate course from a feisty and exhilarating teacher. —The Washington Post; See also: On Wendy Doniger's "The Hindus" by Amardeep Singh; "
Wendy Doniger's book "The Hindus, an Alternative History", published and distributed by Penguin has been a phenomenal sales success. Already (in February 2010), more than 600 libraries in North America have acquired a copy of the book, in less than one year since its publication. The Indian division of Penguin has brought out an Indian reprint as well. Doniger claims that her book is about Hindu women, low castes, dogs and horses. -- Review by Vishal Agarwal 
"Yet it is impossible not to admire a book that strides so intrepidly into a polemical arena almost as treacherous as Israel-­Arab relations. During a lecture in London in 2003, Doniger escaped being hit by an egg thrown by a Hindu nationalist apparently angry at the “sexual thrust” of her interpretation of the “sacred” “Ramayana.” This book will no doubt further expose her to the fury of the modern-day Indian heirs of the British imperialists who invented “Hinduism.” Happily, it will also serve as a salutary antidote to the fanatics who perceive — correctly — the fluid existential identities and commodious metaphysic of practiced Indian religions as a threat to their project of a culturally homogenous and militant nation-state. " Pankaj Mishra,
Table of Contents:  
Table of Contents
1 Introduction: Working with Available Light 17
2 Time and Space in India: 50 Million to 50,000 BCE 50
3 Civilization in the Indus Valley: 50,000 to 1500 BCE 65
4 Between the Ruins and the Text: 2000 to 1500 BCE 85
5 Humans, Animals, and Gods in the Rig Veda: 1500 to 1000 BCE 103
6 Sacrifice in the Brahmanas: 800 to 500 BCE 135
7 Renunciation in the Upanishads: 600 to 200 BCE 164
8 The Three (or Is It Four?) Aims of Life in the Hindu Imaginary 199
9 Women and Ogresses in the Ramayana: 400 BCE to 200 CE 212
10 Violence in the Mahabharata: 300 BCE to 300 CE 252
11 Dharma in the Mahabharata: 300 BCE to 300 CE 277
12 Escape Clauses in the Shastras: 100 BCE to 400 CE 304
13 Bhakti in South India: 100 BCE to 900 CE 338
14 Goddesses and Gods in the Early Puranas: 300 to 600 CE 370
15 Sects and Sex in the Tantric Puranas and the Tantras: 600 to 900 CE 406
16 Fusion and Rivalry Under the Delhi Sultanate: 650 to 1500 CE 445
17 Avatar and Accidental Grace in the Later Puranas: 800 to 1500 CE 473
18 Philosophical Feuds in South India and Kashmir: 800 to 1300 CE 503
19 Dialogue and Tolerance Under the Mughals: 1500 to 1700 CE 527
20 Hinduism Under the Mughals: 1500 to 1700 CE 551
21 Caste, Class, and Conversion Under the British Raj: 1600 to 1900 CE 574
22 Suttee and Reform in the Twilight of the Raj: 1800 to 1947 CE 610
23 Hindus in America: 1900- 636
24 The Past in the Present: 1950- 654
25 In conclusion, or, the Abuse of History 687 
News about withdrawal of the book:

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