Fire & Fury: When China banned 'Alice in Wonderland' & India stopped Naipaul's book
Banning of books is not a new phenomenon, several governments in the world have banned books due to some reason or the other
As President Trump raged against the book "Fire and Fury" threatening legal action, the publishers quickly published it days ahead of schedule. However, this is not a new phenomenon, several governments the world over have banned books due to some reason or the other.
China bans book for 'insult' to humans
Alice in Wonderland was banned in China’s Hunan province by the Governor as far back as 1931.
The primary reason for the ban was because the censor general believed attribution of animals acting like humans with the same complexity was an “insult”. The Chinese believed teaching children to have animals and humans on the same level could prove to be disastrous.
India bans Naipaul’s book
India hasn’t been too far behind while banning books, it is surely not a recent phenomenon, Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie came much later.
VS Naipaul's 1964 book “An Area of Darkness” was banned in 1964 for "negatively portraying India". The book is still on the “banned list” 60 years later.
The book which is in the form of a travelogue looks at India through the eyes of an “outsider”. The book looked at India’s caste system, poverty and nostalgia for the British Raj which did not go well with Indian authorities in the 60s. (Image source: books.google.com)
Pakistan bans book on Jinnah
The book written by Professor Stanley Wolpert was banned in Pakistan in 1984 by general Zia’s government.
The Pakistan government requested Wolpert to delete a few pages but the author rejected it. Benazir’s government however allowed the book to brought back and it went on sale after 1989.
The book was banned in Pakistan for “misinterpreting” the Jinnah. (Image source: amazon.com)
Soviet Union bans Dr Zhivago
The iconic novel written by Boris Pasternak was banned by Soviet Union in the 1950s. It was smuggled to Italy and then published in Milan.
Pasternak won the Noble Prize for literature
Some passages were declared “anti-Soviet” as authorities believed it portrayed individualism over socialist ideas and was critical towards communism.
The book was later adapted into a Hollywood film starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie and became even more famous.
The Soviet government, however, lifted the ban after 1988 and it became freely available after the fall of the Soviet Union.(Image source: amazon.com)
The Bangladesh government banned “Lajja”(shame) written by Taslima Nasreen in 1993. The book was published later but Taslima was forced to flee Bangladesh after receiving death threats.
The Bangladeshi writer still hasn’t returned home living in India and elsewhere in Europe since then.
The book has been translated into several languages. The book talked about the plight of Hindus in aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolitions in 1992.(Image source:Amazon)
All Quiet on the Western Front
The book was written by Erich Maria Remarque who was a German veteran of World War I.
Adolf Hitler’s Germany banned the book as it felt it could demoralise troops. The book published in 1928 was openly burned after the Nazis came to power in 1933. It was deemed “anti-German”.
The “anti-war” book was attacked by the Nazis for pushing a “pacifist agenda”.
It became a Hollywood classic after it was adapted into a movie in 1930.( Image source: amazon.com)
Shivaji – Hindu King in Islamic India
The Maharashtra government banned the book written by James Laine in 2004 after Hindu nationalist groups namely the Maratha Mahasangh stormed an acclaimed research archive in Pune and destroyed several manuscripts.
Although India’s then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee condemned the violence, the state government went ahead and banned it.(Image source: amazon.com)