Monday, June 24, 2019

Sethi on censorship in India

Devika Sethi, Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi has published War over Words: Censorship in India, 1930-1960 with Cambridge University Press. From the publisher: 
War over WordsCensorship has been a universal phenomenon through history. However, its rationale and implementation has varied, and public reaction to it has differed across societies and times. This book recovers, narrates, and interrogates the history of censorship of publications in India over three crucial decades - encompassing the Gandhian anti-colonial movement, the Second World War, Partition, and the early years of Independent India. In doing so, it examines state policy and practice, and also its subversion, in a tumultuous period of transition from colonial to self-rule in India. Populated with an array of powerful and powerless individuals, the story of Indians grappling with free speech and (in)tolerance is a fascinating one, and deserves to be widely known. It will help readers make sense of global present-day debates over free speech and hate speech, illustrate historical trends that change - and those that don't - and help them appreciate how the past inevitably informs the present.
 Table of Contents after the jump:

Part I. Guarding the State, Protecting the Public: Censorship Policies and Practices in the 1930s:

1. The power of print
2. Provincial autonomy (1937–1939) and free speech controversies

Part II. Protests and Publicity: Banning Non-Indian Authors:

3. Critiques of Indian society: Katherine Mayo's Long Shadow
4. 'Hurt' or 'hatred'? Publications by non-Indians offensive to Indian Muslims

Part III. Political or Military? Censorship in India during the Second World War:

5. Blue pencils, red pencils: censoring the news in wartime
6. A contradiction in terms? 'Voluntary censorship'

Part IV. The Censored Turn Censors: Freedom and Free Speech:

7. Free speech or hate speech? Partition and censorship
8. 'An education in realism': The first amendment to the Indian Constitution
9. The living biographies of religious leaders controversy (1956)

Further information is available here.

--Mitra Sharafi