Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rohinton Mistry Petition

Pen Center US report:

Our latest petition is for Rohinton Mistry, whose novel Such a Long Journey has currently fallen pray to censorship in India. The book was removed from the English literature syllabus at the University of Mumbai. Vice-Chancellor Rajan Welukar’s decision to remove the novel from the second year reading list of the Bachelor of Arts program, under an emergency provision, without holding a review with members of the Department of Language, Linguistics and Literature, or with members of the Faculty of Arts, raises troubling questions.
It is a further cause for concern that the ban was apparently rushed through to appease members of the Shiv Sena party, following a book-burning protest organized by Aditya Thackeray, the new leader of Yuva Sena, the party’s youth wing.

Published twenty years ago, Such a Long Journey has a distinguished history. It received the 1991 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction in Canada, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, the W.H. Smith / Books in Canada First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It was first placed on the English Literature syllabus at the University of Mumbai four years ago. Until Mr. Thackeray criticized the novel’s “foul language against many things that we, in Mumbai, hold close to our hearts” most reviewers had emphasized the book’s “loving humour” towards the citizens of Mumbai, and its “sharp affectionate sketches of Indian family life.”

For more information, please see our RAN petition at

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