Bloomsbury India withdraws publication of book advertised by Kapil Mishra


Sudhanva Deshpande, who runs Leftword Books, said, “this book has blood on its hand”. 

By Hasan Akram

New Delhi: Following widespread criticism, Bloomsbury India has decided not to publish a book on Delhi violence purportedly written to further Hindutva propaganda on the issue. In a statement the publishing house said it “strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society”.

Ever since the poster of the event mentioned above was out, scores of individuals strongly criticised Bloomsbury. That followed the decision to withdraw publication of the book. Several persons have welcomed the step while some of them have questioned why it accepted the proposal for publication of such a book.

In a tweet, Denmark-based writer Tabish Khair said, “It should not have been accepted for publication, as it is not a scholarly work, being biased, one-sided and too hasty. But having accepted it, Bloomsbury India should publish it. Why should you accept a book and then drop it?”

Bloomsbury India raised concern over a virtual pre-publication launch organised without our knowledge by the authors, with participation by parties of whom the Publishers would not have approved. It apparently referred to the online book launch event participated by Kapil Mishra.

Sudhanva Deshpande, who runs Leftword Books, released a statement saying that the book itself, and not just the event involving Mishra, was the problem.

“I’m asking Bloomsbury, as a leading publisher, to ask itself what editorial protocols permit such a book to be published in such a short time? Are you as publisher not responsible for at least elementary fact checking? Are you as publisher not culpable in playing a part in the architecture of terror being created and deployed by the State and non-State actors to punish the victims of violence, and those who stand up for them?

Make no mistake about it. This book has nothing to do with the pursuit of knowledge, in which differences of opinion and interpretation are not just desirable, but essential. This book is part of a multi-pronged attack on India’s secular fabric, on the idea of natural justice, on ethics, on rationality, on humanity, and, because we are talking in a publishing context, on knowledge itself.

This book has blood on its hands.”

Author of the book Sonali Malhotra said ‘Jihadist-Naxal’ conspiracy was behind the riots.

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