Sunday, 30 August, 2009

Ban Unbanned


The Federation of Indian Publishers is organising events everyday at the Delhi Book Fair. The events include book releases, panel discussions, copyright symposium, seminars and programs. On 29 August 2009, the federation organised a panel discussion on ban on Jaswant Singh’s book – Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence.

The event was attended by Jaswant Singh, the author of the much talked about book, Salman Khurshid, Union Minister of State (IC) for Corporate Affairs and Minority Affairs; TN Chaturvedi, former Governor of Karnataka; Justice CM Nayar, Judge, retd., Delhi High Court; Ramesh C Govil, President, The Federation of Indian Publishers; DN Malhotra, President Emeritus and Chairman, Freedom to Publish Committee and Tushar Gandhi, Head, Mahatma Gandhi Foundation.

It was a very lively discussion and all the panelists criticised the ban. Chaturvedi said, “No one can create history and make facts. One can collect facts, collate and re-assemble them.” Khurshid said that people are talking of the book being against national interest but what is the national interest, nobody knows. He said, “Maulana Azad banned his autobiography for thirty years because he felt that his book had some very straightforward comments which he probably thought would create uproar or upset his colleagues. Area of intellectual disclosure cannot be banned. This book comes nowhere near the ban zone.” Khurshid opined, “We all are against the ban and all sensible people should be against it. It is not a very exciting thing to worry about. We have faith in honorary Supreme Court and right decision will be taken.”

Jaswant Singh was invited to speak but he said that he had no intention to speak about his book at a panel discussion because it may seem like a self promotion which he felt was not right. But he continued and reflected on some historical events. Singh after the event went to the stand of Rupa & Sons, publisher and distributor of the English version of Singh’s Jinnah: India – Partition – Independence. He diligently signed copies of his title, making sure not to give an autograph to anybody who would come to him without a copy of his book.

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