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Freedom of Expression has to be limited: 84-year-old Dinanath Batra

Thursday, 13 February 2014 - 6:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

For 84-year-old Dinanath Batra, a retired school principal, freedom of expression has to have a limit, as he plans to launch a fresh campaign against another book of Wendy Doniger - On Hindusim published by Aleph and Oxford University Press and NCERT text book, for presenting distorted versions of history.

Batra, founder member of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, refers prominent historians of India including 'Romila Thapar, Satish Chandra and Irfan Habib as manasputra of German phillospher Karl Marx and Italian historian Niccolò Machiavelli.'

The octagenerian crusader against perceived 'anti-India publications' was bouyed by the decision of Penguin Book India Private Limited, that chose to settle a civil suit he filed in 2011 against the publisher and the American scholar Wendy Doniger author of The Hindus: An Alternative History.
"All our educational and policy institutions including JNU, DU, IGNOU are infested by fellow travellers of Marx and Machiavelli, who have no concern for the nation," Batra told dna.

"Freedom of expression cannot trample our identity, culture, religion and tradition. It has to have a limit. We cannot allow anti-national writings," says Batra while reffering to map of India in Donigers book, not including Jammu and Kashmir.

Meanwhile, in a statement issued to dna, author and indologist Wendy Doniger has expressed "anger and disappointment" at the withdrawal of her book The Hindu. Stating that the episode augurs badly for free speech in India, Doniger said the true villain in the story is the Indian law that makes it a criminal rather than civil offense to publish a book that offends any Hindu. — With inputs from Manisha Pande


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