Ram Puniyani : Save Shivaji is a great icon in Maharashtra. Different sections of society have given him very high status, though for diverse reasons. Folklores about him abound in the state. His statues, popular songs on him are very prevalent. Various leaders from Maharashtra were furious.
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The book continued to be listed in the OUP India catalogue until mid-January, but has since been removed. The book remains in print and available outside India. Sanskrit scholar Shrikant Bahulkar was physically assaulted and his face blackened an act meant to shame him. When none was forthcoming he destroyed several hundred manuscript pages of his own unpublished biographical study of Shivaji. The Times of India reported 29 December that: Raj assured Bahulkar that such incidents would not be repeated and that Sena activists would have to get a "clearance" from the toprung leaders before embarking on such "aggressive campaigns" in the future.
The Times of India reported Laine says sorry for hurting sentiments 30 December , quoting: "It was never my intention to defame the great Maharashtrian hero. I had no desire to upset those for whom he is an emblem of regional and national pride, and I apologise for inadvertently doing so," he said in a faxed message to some city scholars.
Again I apologise," the American author said. The extent of the damage is not clear at this time -- especially regarding the irreplaceable manuscripts and historical artefacts -- but appears to be considerable. Seventy-two of the hooligans were arrested. In so doing, I suggest that there might be other ways of reading the historical evidence, but in making such a suggestion, I have elicited a storm of criticism.
I am astonished. Patil is quoted as saying: We condemn the attack and also distorting of the history of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
The government is seeking legal opinion to ascertain if any action can be taken against the author and also whether the book can be banned. Kokate said that the brigade was "most unhappy" that scholars who had helped Laine were "still alive" and demanded that they face an inquiry or be handed over to the Brigade. Kokate expressed his displeasure about the fact that the media had labelled them as goons. In another report Express News Service he is quoted as saying: Those who fed him [Laine] with the offensive information should be hanged by the government.
If the government is unable to do so they should be handed over to us. Kokate was apparently not arrested for these inflammatory remarks. These sections read : Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc. In it he describes his interest in Shivaji, his book, early reactions to it, and then the events that unfolded.
And yet no one has stepped forward to defend my book and no one has called for it to be distributed again. Few will read it for themselves. Instead, many will live with the knowledge that India is a country where many thoughts are unthinkable or, if thought, best kept quiet. As the article explains: Maratha organsisations supporting Sambhaji Brigade have now forced the Oxford University Press showroom in Pune to down shutters.
They told the employees there that No arrests were reported. The Express New Service report, PM flags off Mumbai campaign, opposes ban on Shivaji book , had it a bit differently, quoting the PM as saying: "If you do not like anything in a particular book, then sit and discuss it.
Banning a book is not a solution, we have to tackle it ideologically If differences of opinion remain after a issue is discussed, the best way would be to come out with another good book on the subject" As the Times of India report also notes: "Ironically, the PM made this observation at a function to unveil a majestic statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji in the Sahar airport precincts. Indifferent to principles, at least one person shifted the focus to what is really at issue: "He should have kept mum, especially since elections are round the corner," a senior Sena leader present at the function told TNN.
See also PM not happy with ban on book on Shivaji in Mid-Day Updated - 29 March : Unfortunately, once election time rolled around, Vajpayee began singing a different tune; see entry of 20 March. January Politicians continued to seek to outdo one another in their defence of Shivaji. Antulay attacked Laine, "urging the government to take all necessary legal steps to punish him.
He said Shivaji was the pride of India and Indians should not tolerate any humiliation of their heroes. Maratha Vikas Sangh has apparently set its sights even higher, having: filed a petition in the Bombay high court demanding that all documents at BORI be seized by the union government.
Refusing the let the James Laine controversy die down, MVS has also demanded censorship on all books that would be written on historical figures. This demand for a quasi-Soviet approach to ensure that the historical record is kept This, despite a police warning against gathering at the institute on R-Day. Every protestor dropped a rupee coin in specially placed urns, as a token contribution towards the restoration of the institute. It is unclear whether this is a move to remove the book from the market entirely including the US and the UK , or merely a defensive legal maneuver to preclude any liability claims.
Not only that: he also felt it necessary to assure his listeners: "We are prepared to take action against the foreign author", and that this was "a warning to all foreign authors that they do not play with our national pride".
Jadhav: told reporters today that he was writing to Laine to summon him to India for questioning. If Laine refuses the "request," the police chief plans to move court. In fact, it is clear that Laine has not been charged with any extraditable offense. What reactions there have been in the academic community do not appear to have made any impact or found any resonance outside those limited circles. The destruction of property, especially that which is unique and of historical significance, and the threats against scholars have been denounced in the press and in public.
Disturbingly, a significant minority has been willing to excuse even the attacks on BORI as justifiable under the circumstances, and while 72 of those responsible were arrested and charged, there have been continued threats both legal and physical against BORI, scholars associated with it, and against author James Laine.
The banning of the book and the attacks on BORI and various scholars were thus clearly aimed not only at this specific case, but at the whole enterprise of scholarship, and of freedom of expression.
There have been numerous opinion pieces regarding these incidents. Among the disturbing trends they make note of is the uneven use of Section A of the Indian Penal Code to limit expression, and the politicising of what should be academic debates.
Among the opinion pieces are: Dileep Padgaonkar on Myth against history Times of India, 25 January , who finds these events: "drive home the point yet again that in this country it is myth, not history, that ignites popular imagination. It is part of a practice, connived at and condoned, during the past decade and more. Every time we compromise on this principle, every time a publishing house allows itself to recall a book, every time the authorities fail to punish the vandals, every time politicians seize such issues for narrow political gains, every time the barbarian at the gate is accommodated, we fail not just our academics but our historical legacy of open scholarship.
It will not be won by bans on offensive texts or McCarthy-ite purges of the infuriatingly perverse. It has to be fought with civility, argument, rigour and a sense of strategy. The Statesman , noting: "Our country has time and again failed to stay true to its credential of tolerance. Sekhar finding: Historians rue attack on freedom of expression The Times of India, 24 March , noting that: "The casualty of cultural censorship may be scholarship".
Note that in considering reactions in India we are limited to English-language material that is freely accessible via the Internet. It should be clear that this material may well not be representative of broader opinion, or even of media opinion.
The Hindu and Marathi language press may well have responded entirely differently. Bhalchandrarao C.
Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India
Laine Read preview Synopsis Shivaji is a well-known hero in western India. He defied Mughal power in the seventeenth century, established an independent kingdom, and had himself crowned in an orthodox Hindu ceremony. James Laine traces the origin and development if the Shivaji legend from the earliest sources to the contemporary accounts of the tale. In the process, he paints a new and more complex picture of Hindu-Muslim relations from the seventeenth century to the present. He argues that this relationship involved a variety of compromises and strategies, from conflict to accommodation to nuanced collaboration. Neither Muslims nor Hindus formed clearly defined communities, says Laine, and they did not relate to each other as opposed monolithic groups. Different sub-groups, representing a range of religious persuasions, found it in their advantage to accentuate or diminish the importance of Hindu and Muslim identity and the ideologies that supported the construction of such identities.
Shivaji: Hindu King In Islamic India
May 17, Devavrat rated it it was amazing I was gleefully surprised to find this book freely available online. It is a short paged book that can be read in single sitting. After reading it becomes quite obvious as to why the establishment does not want the people to read this gem. Shivaji is often shown to be a disciple of either ramdas or tukaram. However, the historic records and evidence presented in this book suggests that let alone shivaji being a disciple of either , it is highly unlikely that shivaji ever met tukaram or ramdas in his entire lifetime!