In the wake of the Penguin's decision to withdraw US scholar Wendy Doniger's book in India, publishers today rallied for the need to make collective efforts against the issue of censorship.
"The withdrawal of Doniger's book is not an issue of a CEO or an editor. As publishers we need to collectively address the issue of censorship," Urvashi Butalia, Director, Zubaan Books said today.
She was speaking at the event "CEO Speak - a Forum for Publishing" organised by National Book Trust in collaboration with FICCI here today. Doniger's book "The Hindus- An Alternative History" was withdrawn by Penguin India which agreed to an out-of-court settlement, to recall and pulp all copies of the book within six months.
Many other publishers also pointed the lack of a cogent response from the publishing industry on withdrawal of Doniger's book. "There has been no cogent response by the Indian publishing industry on the withdrawal of Wendy Doniger's book.
As an industry we should have a say and be public about this. There are bigger issues of censorship here," Karthika V K, publisher, HarperCollins India said. She also pointed that censorship is a matter of concern for the entire publishing industry. "We let our fellow publisher down when we say it is not our business," she said.
Shireen Quadri, Manager, Media and Marketing, Simon and Schuster India said publishers must come together against banning on books and freedom of speech. "Withdrawing books is a call of a publisher and depends from publisher to publisher but we should not succumb to such pressures. In future, everyone in the industry must come together against banning of freedom of speech so that one publisher does not get chickened out," Quadri said.
She further stressed on the need for collective action by the publishing industry so that one does not have to succumb to any pressure.