Kushwant Singh’s books have been banned in the book stalls of railway stations in central India on the orders of an Indian Railways advisor. Indian reacted with shock at the ban, but that they were not "surprised" judging by the present trends in the country.
A top advisor of Indian Railways, Ramesh Chandra Ratn found the late Singh’s books objectionable and banned them from book stalls at the Bhopal Railway Station in central India, claiming such “obscene” literature might spoil future generations.
“Prem Chand’s stories were removed from the school curriculum. There is no value for education and intellect now. It is very shameful. I am not surprised because such things are done openly now and those who do it celebrate their actions", Professor Shamim Hanfi, critic, dramatist and a proponent of modernist movement in Urdu literature told Sputnik.
Munshi Prem Chand was one of the most celebrated writers on the Indian subcontinent in the 20th century. He is known for his works in Hindi and Urdu. His short story "Godaan" (Cow Donation), considered a classic in Indian literature was removed from the curriculum of the school-network directly controlled by the federal government.
“I think any kind of ban is invasive and suffocating and reeks of bigotry. It’s a reader’s prerogative to read what’s on offer. The more you put a stop to anything. The more inflammatory and sensational it becomes", Sreemoyi Piyu Kundu, a celebrated author told Sputnik.
Kundu’s erotic novels like "Sita’s Curse" and "You’ve Got the Wrong Girl" were best sellers in recent times.
Ramesh Chandra Ratn felt such books “spoil the future generation” and should not be sold in a public place like railway stations.
"Look, whosoever may be the writer...I want to inform you all that according to the by-laws, it is not permissible here. This is a stall of the Railways which runs according to a system", he said.
Ratn, a leader of the ruling nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, is the Chairman of Indian Railway’s Passenger Service Committee, with a mandate to “look into various aspects of catering/book stalls/tourist information centres” at railway stations.