An English version of a dramatized but accurate biography of Sonia Gandhi’s life, The Red Sari, is out in the Indian market – despite Congress objecting to its publication some years ago.
Originally published in Spanish in 2008, The Red Sari, written by author Javier Moro, had created a controversy when Congress spokesperson and lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi had said it contained ‘untruths, half-truths, falsehoods and defamatory statements’ and threatened legal action.
Roli Books has now published the book in India.
Pramod Kapoor, founder publisher of Roli, confirmed the publication to HT. He said that they had never been approached or threatened regarding the book.
“What happened was between the Spanish publisher, the author and Singhvi. They could not come to an agreement, and the publisher and author asked us not to publish it for the time being.” For seven years, the book’s fate was hanging. Legally, there was neither a case nor an official ban – but it could not be brought out either.
But Kapoor said he had kept pursuing it and 3-4 months ago, Roli got the green signal from Moro and his publisher to go ahead. “It is a riveting read. This is a completely accurate biography – but it is dramatized, which is a genre often used in the west, where certain conversations and dialogues are constructed.” Those who have read the book said that Congress concerns were surprising, for parts of the book read like a hagiography.
Asked if he saw it as the victory of free expression, Kapoor said that this was not an act of activism for him. “We are very pleased that we have been able to publish it. Books should not be stopped from publication.”