A pretty disturbing incident of censorship is taking place right now in India. A retired school teacher has been campaigning for the banning of a book, and Penguin is relenting, pulping its remaining copies. You can read the whole sorry story at The New York Times here. The incident may signal, in upcoming elections, a shift toward the fundamentalist and nationalist Hindu right. Already there are campaigns afoot to go after the school textbooks, evaluating them on conservative Hindu grounds, and violence lurks over liberals who publish books that offend literalist Hindu sensibilities. The center, alas, is not holding in India.
It’s already bad enough that Pakistan is destabilized with fundamentalist religion; if India trends that way as well, it’s not too hard to imagine, a decade from now, the two nations, both led by religious conservatives beholden to fundamentalists to maintain their power, engaging in a war fueled by religion. And both countries have nuclear weapons. Not a pleasant thought.