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Old 02-13-2014, 09:58 AM   #1
Tom Swift
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Penguin India to destroy all copies of "The Hindus" due to religious pressure

Ridiculous. Penguin should be ashamed.

Penguin's withdrawal of The Hindus causes international outcry

Pirate copies are immediately being posted online in protest of this action.

I find blasphemy laws hilarious. The strength of their beliefs must be so tenuous that they are unable to stand the slightest criticism.

"One man's religion is another man's belly laugh"
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:31 AM   #2
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:34 AM   #3
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Ridiculous. Penguin should be ashamed.
From your link:

Quote:
the author expressly said she did not blame Penguin Books India, saying they took the title on "knowing that it would stir anger in the Hindutva ranks, and they defended it in the courts for four years, both as a civil and as a criminal suit".

"They were finally defeated by the true villain of this piece – the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offence to publish a book that offends any Hindu
Most countries have at least a little less freedom of speech, and the press, than I would like. India included.

It seems just a little strange for you to start this thread coming from a country with a good deal less freedom of speech than India.

EDIT: I guess my last sentence is too snarky, but I'll keep it for now. If you are a PRC citizen, I should apologize, but maybe you are an expat.
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:35 AM   #4
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:37 AM   #5
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There was an episode of Night Court where an author hired a minister to protest against his book in order to drum up sales. The Last Temptation of Christ would have quickly faded into obscurity had it not been for protests. Few would know of the existence of The Satanic Verses had it not been for protests. I would never have heard of The Hindus had it not been for this. Taking this book off the market in India won't make it go away, it will still be available outside of India, and even in India it will be available to anyone who wants to download it. Many more people will be aware of this book because of this who would not have heard of it otherwise. That's one great thing about e-books, it makes it harder than ever to tell people they can't have a book. I downloaded a sample of it to see what the fuss is about it, and I won't be alone.
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Old 02-13-2014, 10:58 AM   #6
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Taking this book off the market in India won't make it go away, it will still be available outside of India, and even in India it will be available to anyone who wants to download it.
Yes. Plus the author can still visit India with little likelihood of imprisonment. (If I'm wrong -- and I sure hope not -- someone from India can perhaps correct me.)

India is subject to communal violence killing large numbers of people. Their blasphemy law probably tamps down some of the dangerous anger while still being loose enough for ideas to get through. So, although, we should oppose such freedom restrictions everywhere, we also should avoid putting India in the same boat with dictatorships.

It is a damn shame that this author, and Penguin, will no longer get revenue from India, as people instead download her book for free.

Last edited by SteveEisenberg; 02-13-2014 at 11:01 AM.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:21 PM   #7
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It should be noted that the paper books aren't being destroyed world-wide, but just in India. The book isn't available in paper or e-book format in India, but it is available for sale outside of India in both formats.

I don't live in India, it's not my call what laws India has, and people in India will have access to the book, so I'm not going to get to disturbed by this. It's self-defeating, the author will lose sales, but gain a lot of publicity. Instead of suppressing the book, it unintentionally promotes it. I can't blame Penguin, I don't see that they had any real choice.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:34 PM   #8
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Shameful.

Fahrenheit 451 anyone?

Last edited by afv011; 02-13-2014 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
There was an episode of Night Court where an author hired a minister to protest against his book in order to drum up sales. The Last Temptation of Christ would have quickly faded into obscurity had it not been for protests. Few would know of the existence of The Satanic Verses had it not been for protests. I would never have heard of The Hindus had it not been for this. Taking this book off the market in India won't make it go away, it will still be available outside of India, and even in India it will be available to anyone who wants to download it. Many more people will be aware of this book because of this who would not have heard of it otherwise. That's one great thing about e-books, it makes it harder than ever to tell people they can't have a book. I downloaded a sample of it to see what the fuss is about it, and I won't be alone.
Stephen King mentioned a book "Steelwork" I think was the title that a teen checked out of his local school library. His mother saw the text and was offended and after a big fuss it was pulled from the school library. What was interesting was that while the teen was the 1st one to check the book out by the time it was pulled a good number of people had checked it out. By making a stink about the book the mother who protested it accidentally promoted it.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:38 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
There was an episode of Night Court where an author hired a minister to protest against his book in order to drum up sales. The Last Temptation of Christ would have quickly faded into obscurity had it not been for protests. Few would know of the existence of The Satanic Verses had it not been for protests. I would never have heard of The Hindus had it not been for this. Taking this book off the market in India won't make it go away, it will still be available outside of India, and even in India it will be available to anyone who wants to download it. Many more people will be aware of this book because of this who would not have heard of it otherwise. That's one great thing about e-books, it makes it harder than ever to tell people they can't have a book. I downloaded a sample of it to see what the fuss is about it, and I won't be alone.
Critics like this seldom think about the author profits.

It's about fulfilling their religious responsibilities and having enforced what they see as their rights as citizens.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:42 PM   #11
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Melville House discusses this here: http://www.mhpbooks.com/penguin-pull...hurt-feelings/. The author is quoted, in the article:

Quote:
I do not blame Penguin Books, India. Other publishers have just quietly withdrawn other books without making the effort that Penguin made to save this book. Penguin, India, took this book on knowing that it would stir anger in the Hindutva ranks, and they defended it in the courts for four years, both as a civil and as a criminal suit.

They were finally defeated by the true villain of this piece—the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offense to publish a book that offends any Hindu, a law that jeopardizes the physical safety of any publisher, no matter how ludicrous the accusation brought against a book.
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:03 PM   #12
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Here's what for me is the central passage in Arundhati Roy's open letter:

Quote:
And now, even though there was no fatwa, no ban, not even a court order, you have not only caved in, you have humiliated yourself abjectly before a fly-by-night outfit by signing settlement. Why? You have all the resources anybody could possibly need to fight a legal battle.
That's what is scary to me. It's bloody Penguin. It's as monster big and multinational as it gets, not some small independent publisher whose existence may be jeopardised by a long lawsuit and harrassment by nutjobs. So if Penguin caves in - who won't in the future?
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Old 02-13-2014, 02:44 PM   #13
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Critics like this seldom think about the author profits.

It's about fulfilling their religious responsibilities and having enforced what they see as their rights as citizens.
The point is that these protests are failures. Their goal is to suppress the book, and instead they do the opposite. It is like attempting to put out a fire by pouring kerosene on it. They promote the book more effectively than someone could if they were actively trying to promote it.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post
There was an episode of Night Court where an author hired a minister to protest against his book in order to drum up sales. The Last Temptation of Christ would have quickly faded into obscurity had it not been for protests. Few would know of the existence of The Satanic Verses had it not been for protests. I would never have heard of The Hindus had it not been for this. Taking this book off the market in India won't make it go away, it will still be available outside of India, and even in India it will be available to anyone who wants to download it. Many more people will be aware of this book because of this who would not have heard of it otherwise. That's one great thing about e-books, it makes it harder than ever to tell people they can't have a book. I downloaded a sample of it to see what the fuss is about it, and I won't be alone.
I must disagree with you about the Last Temptation of Christ, or any of Kazantzakis' books. But your points are accurate. At least only the book will be banned in India. Some places on Earth still take it much further, back centuries.

Iranian poet executed for 'waging war on God'

Last edited by Hamlet53; 02-13-2014 at 03:54 PM.
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:52 PM   #15
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I just looked at Amazon and see this book has 55 one star reviews to only 22 five star reviews.

Maybe Penguin had low sales and that was their major reason to stop publishing it in India.
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