– Evelyn Beatrice Hall
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Bloomsbury India has withdrawn itself from publishing a book named “Delhi riots 2020”. The reason behind dismissal was the outrage created regarding its virtual pre-publication launch. The publishing house faced tremendous backlash after a poster of Kapil Mishra as a guest of honour at the online book launch did the rounds on Twitter.
The obstruction is merely based upon backlashes and coercion from some people and Bloomsbury UK. After this, people are calling out Bloomsbury for their remarkable hypocrisy. While the publishing house has refrained from associating themselves with Delhi riots book, they do have published Shaheen Bagh: From A Protest To A Movement” which is written by Ziya Us Salam and Uzma Ausaf.
Every idea should flourish, whether it’s left or right, you cannot suppress one side of any story. Publishing shaheen bagh and not publishing Delhi riots is a sign of remarkable dissembling. The book could have been good or bad, but if you have published Shaheen bagh, then how could you abstain yourself from publishing another side. Bloomsbury have drafted the book as per authors and then they left authors high and dry. They were aware of its content. This is fascism, a pure form of it. Books are meant to be published not suppressed.
People are slamming Bloomsbury and questioning their credibility. Some of the big fronts including writers, politicians and experts are also criticizing and threatening to boycott the publishing house for this decision.
Who will publish Delhi riots?
Well, we’re not living in an era where writers have to plead in front of a publishing house to get their book published. After this outrage, Eminent authors have decided to boycott Bloomsbury. After this incident, it’s crystal clear if anyone would ever try to seize freedom of speech, they should better be ready to face consequences of the havoc it will create. Refusing to publish a book due to pressure from anyone would dismantle the image of a publishing house. This is the 21st century, people have options beyond anybody’s imagination. People can cease the publication of the book, but what they cannot cease is the idea and words of the author. This is not acceptable in a democracy where we’re abiding with the right to freedom of speech and expression.
They cannot play with the basic tenet of democracy. They should have left it to their readers to decide whether the book is worthy or not, suppression isn’t the way. They had an opportunity which they just missed.
Written by advocate Monika Arora and Delhi University teachers Sonali Chitalkar and Prerna Malhotra, the book now will be published by Garuda Prakashan.
Article 10 of the human rights act: Freedom of expression states that each person has a right to hold their own opinions and to express them freely, with a restriction of giving adequate respect to other people’s rights and beliefs.
Let’s recall the time when Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavati has faced a lot of flack from society. People have demanded to ban it. Without even watching the content, people put pressure on filmmakers. After major changes, the film gets released. Question is why cannot we accept the fact that de-platforming will degrade our democracy.
Here, the problem is that the Publishing house was very much aware of the book content. They even agreed to publish it after knowing the content it had. It isn’t the case of social responsibility as what they mentioned in their rescue. If they didn’t want to publish it, they should have said it before agreeing to publish it. Every perspective, every idea matters, Not even the government can stop any publication until it threatens national security.