• The Indian Cultural Forum welcomes the Jharkhand government’s decision to lift the ban on Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book

    ICF Team

    December 13, 2017

    The Indian Cultural Forum welcomes the Jharkhand government’s decision to not ban Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book of short stories, The Adivasi Will Not Dance. The Telegraph has quoted Sarayu Roy, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, saying that the ban on the book should be lifted soon. "He is a well-known author and a Sahitya Akademi Award winner. We ordered an inquiry to ward off unwarranted controversies. Authors and artists do have the right to express their inner feelings in their own ways. During inquiries it was found that his expressions did not aim at hurting anyone and his writing could not be dubbed pornography. The ban on his book may be withdrawn soon," he said.

    After some groups had alleged that Shekhar’s short stories are pornographic in nature, the government formed an expert committee which has submitted its report. It clearly says that there is nothing objectionable in Shekhar’s depiction of adivasi life. Shekhar, who is a doctor based in Pakur district, was suspended from his job on August 13, 2017 following the controversy.

    The Indian Writers' Forum had released an appeal to stop the harassment of writers on social media. “Criticism of writing cannot be a matter of hurt sentiment, taking offense, or hounding a writer,” said writers such as Nayantara Sahgal, Ashok Vajpeyi, Githa Hariharan, K Satchidanandan, Kiran Nagarkar, Faustina Bama, Samik Bandyopadhyay, and T M Krishna. Several Adivasi scholars, as well as PEN International, had released a statement condemning the ban on Shekhar’s book.

    A member of the editorial collective of the Indian Cultural Forum had interviewed Shekhar in November where he expressed his desire to write more books. We hope that this decision in Shekhar’s favour will bolster his ambition as a writer.

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