Shiksha Bachao Aandolan Samiti publicizes Aleph's response to its notice for withdrawing Doniger's 'On Hinduism'
After settling a civil suit against publisher Penguin Books India Pvt. Ltd and the American scholar Wendy Doniger over her book, The Hindus: An Alternative History, Dinanath Batra, the man leading the Shiksha Bachao Aandolan Samiti (SBAS), is spearheading another campaign against the same author, this time against her book On Hinduism published by Aleph Book Co.
SBAS served Aleph Book with a notice on 3 March, asking that the book be withdrawn from stores across the country by 10 March.
In a press conference held in Bangalore on Monday, Batra announced Aleph Book’s emailed response to SBAS. It states: “We need to inform you that as the book was published and printed way back in Jan-Feb, 2013 it is now out of stock and has not been in hand/print for quite some time as our stocks sold out much before your objections reached us; this was probably due to various statements made in public as well as the media coverage of your objections to the book published by Penguin."
Justifying his notice for withdrawal of the book, Batra said, “This book also is derogatory and exaggerates sex prevailing in Hinduism and suggests that the Mahabharata is nothing but fiction."
In its response, Aleph mentions that the book has been sent to “four scholars independently for review as this is common practice in such cases". The publisher expects a response from the scholars in a week. “The book, which is out of stock with us, shall not be reissued until the concerns are addressed for an acceptable resolution of the whole matter," says the letter, signed by R.K. Mehra, chairman of Aleph Book Company.
In an official statement after Batra’s press conference, Aleph confirmed that the book had been sent to their lawyers and “four independent writers and scholars" for review. “Once we have received their reports, we will discuss them with the author and the complainant in order to find a solution that satisfies all the concerned parties. The author concurs with our proposed course of action," the letter, signed by Mehra, says.
Meanwhile, SBAS says it will review the publisher’s response and take no action with regard to the book until further notice.