Well, we all know that religion is a very sensitive topic and there are a bunch of books that got banned in India for hurting the religious sentiments of a section of people.
Whenever we hear about banned books the first books that come to our mind are books like the Satanic Versers or Lajja. These books got banned in our country as some people claimed that these books hurt their religious sentiments. Mind you, in India religion is not the only thing that can get a book banned.
Here is a list of such books and the reason why they were banned.
1. Old Soldier Sahib (1934) – Frank Richards.
The book was banned for portraying the then military life in a bad light.
Of all the books that you would find in the list perhaps the most puzzling would be the ban that was placed on Frank Richards’ Old Soldier Sahib, an account of this veteran soldier’s pre-war army service in India. Old Soldier Sahib appears to have ruffled military feathers for its candid portrayal of life in the ranks.
The book cannot be imported into India. The book is a memoir of the author’s time in British India as a veteran soldier.
2.The Heart of India (1959) – Alexander Campbell
The book was banned for its remarks about the Congress Party and Nehru.
The most interesting thing that you should know about this book is that there is no obvious reason behind banning it. The book tried to give a true picture of Indian democracy and also questioned some of India’s social and economic policies. Though presented in a humorous way, the government just could not take the raw sarcasm of Campbell and got the book banned.
The book contained some nasty remarks about Congress Party and Nehru, and also comments about society in general. This book cannot be imported in India.
3. The Lotus and the Robot (1960) – Arthur Koestler
The book was banned as it criticized the Indian democracy.
This controversial book by Arthur Koestler also cannot be imported to India. This book deals with mysticism and Koestler understanding of the India and Japan. This book has often been criticized as ill-researched.
The book criticized the Indian democracy, as according to him India always wants a father figure. The government banned it, and reportedly the book is available in some bookstores in India, although the ban remains in effect.
4. Scented Garden: Anthropology of Sex Life in the Levant (1945) – Bernhard Stern
It was banned as it was considered to be too sexually explicit.
If you like the Kamasutra or Erotica then this one is for you. This book presents in great details about the sexual practices and perversions of peoples and cultures throughout the world. The Scented Garden was banned because it was considered to be too sexually explicit or maybe it would have provided competition to the local Kamasutra.
5. The Man from Moscow(1970) – Greville Wynne
The misrepresentation of Indian Policies was the reason that got the book banned.
The book was actually Wynne memoirs. The book created a huge controversy as the Indian Government claimed that the book misrepresented its policies. He wrote about how he felt used and undervalued by the Spy agencies. He also criticized the policies of the MI5. The book was banned in India.
6. Nine hours to Rama (1962) – Stanley Wolpert
It talked about the security lapses that lead to the assassination of Gandhi.
The title of the book might mislead you into thinking of this book as some book that talks about Rama and Ramayana but actually it’s not. This book gives a fictional account of the last day of Gandhi’s life. Though fictional, the book actually talks about the security lapses that lead to the assassination of Gandhi.
The book was banned because it criticized the government and the government’s security when it came to protecting a man like Gandhi.
7. Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1964) – D.H. Lawrence
It was banned in India on grounds of “obscenity”.
Well, this D.H.Lawrence classic was banned in India and Britain. The book was banned because it was thought to be indecent and illicit. Though Britain lifted the ban, the book is till date banned in India.
Although you can easily get a copy of this book from your local vendor. As it stands most people don’t know that it is banned and the rest don’t pay much heed.
8. Polyster Pince (1998) – Hamish McDonalds.
The book was banned as it made controversial claims about Ambani.
This Mcdonalds was not so welcomed by the Government. The book was an unofficial biography of India’s Polyester Prince, Dhirubhai Ambani. The book was accused of showing the business tycoon in a bad light.
Well, you know what will happen to the fate of a book that tries to tarnish the image of the richest family in the country. This book soon got banned.
9. Jinnah:India-Partition-Independence (2009) – Jaswant Singh
The book was banned for showing Jinnah in an objective manner and criticizing Nehru and Patel.
Well, you should know two important things about this book. First, it tried to paint an honest picture of Jinnah and talked about the policies of Patel and Nehru in an objective manner and second, it was written by a BJP man. This book created a lot of controversy and conflict within the BJP party itself. It was thought safe to just ban the book.
10. Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada (1989) – Zuhair Kashmeri and Brian McAndrew
It was banned as it criticized the Goverment policies.
The term Soft Target in this book specifically refers to the Sikh community. The book talks in detail how the Sikhs were made soft target by the Government especially in the 1980s. Well, you know what happens to any book that tries to criticize the Government’s policies. This book too got banned.
The one thing that you might find common in most of these banned books is that it was generally those books that “misrepresented” India that were targeted. But if you still want to read these books, then you might just find an e-copy of them on the internet.