The National Book Critics Circle wishes to voice its support for author and distinguished scholar Wendy Doniger and to register its concern and disappointment over the decision of Penguin Books India, the publishers of the lauded The Hindus: An Alternative History, to withdraw and pulp all remaining copies of Professor Doniger’s award-winning book for sale in India. The NBCC, which honored Professor Doniger’s substantial and compelling work by naming it a finalist for the 2009 award in nonfiction, urges Penguin Books India to reconsider its deplorable decision to remove The Hindus from circulation in the country, a de facto act of self-censorship that will only contribute to a further rolling back of free speech in India. Such an action, accompanied by Penguin Books India’s plan to cease distribution of the book in the face of legal and other threats from Hindu nationalists, is incompatible with the traditions of free inquiry that are necessary for democratic institutions to function. The NBCC appeals to Penguin Books India to support Professor Doniger and her important work and to reverse its decision immediately.
News reports in Time, the New York Times, the Times of India.