Book lovers outraged at ban on Pak authors

Mumbai: A city book shop, the Oxford Bookstore, said it had been urged by the police to take Pakistan-authored books off its shelves. However, the policeman from the Marine Drive police station who visited the store said he had not advised anybody against stocking Pakistani literature, but had simply dropped in to “check that everything was all right.”
When this reporter persisted and asked the policeman what the problem was with Pakistani books, he asked her whether she was Pakistani. He then added that it was important that people took precautions, so that crimes were not committed.
“This is absolutely absurd! Is it anti-national to buy a book on Pakistan? I thought India was a democracy,” said Dilnaz Boga, a journalist who has made a documentary about the impact of violence on children in Kashmir. Boga, who recently went to Oxford Bookstore in search of books by Tariq Ali, was furious to find she couldn’t buy a single book by any Pakistani.
Let’s not turn Mumbai into a playground for parochial politics. This is an assault on the world of letters. Unless there’s a free exchange of thought between countries, how can we call ourselves a civilisation?” asks Rahul Dev, a former editor of Jansatta who received threats from the Shiv Sena in the early 1990s, after he criticized them.
“Instead of preventing people from breaking the law, why are the cops censoring the potential victims of crime?” asks Paromita Vora, who wrote the script for Khamosh Pani, an internationally acclaimed film that was directed by Sabiha Sumar, a Pakistani director. “We have chosen to be a democracy. If one doesn’t agree with a particular form of cultural expression, one can create one’s own works of art and culture,” she adds.
“It’s wrong to hold an entire nation responsible for what a few of its citizens do. After all, Dawood Ibrahim is an Indian citizen. Should he be used to judge all Indians?” asks sociologist Nandini Sardesai, adding that Raj Thackeray was probably casting about for causes after finding himself in the political wilderness following his anti-North Indian stance.
Thackeray’s “ban” on Pakistani artists came in the wake of innumerable SMS jokes at his expense after North Indian commandos rushed to Mumbai’s aid during the 26/11 attacks. Protesters had even hit the streets with signs bearing pictures of Raj Thackeray and the words “Missing: Aapan hyana pahilaat ka?” (have you seen this person?)
The store was attacked earlier for stocking James Laine’s Shivaji book


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