Following demands for the withdrawal of scholar Wendy Doniger’s second book, On Hinduism, Aleph Book Company has said it will not re-print the book “until the concerns are addressed for an acceptable resolution of the whole matter”.
For the moment, the publisher has decided to consult independent experts on the book, which is currently out of stock.
Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, whose legal challenge to Penguin Books led to the publisher withdrawing Doniger’s The Hindus: An Alternative History, had sent a legal letter to Aleph. Claiming On Hinduism “offended the sensitivities of Hindus”, it threatened legal action if the book was not withdrawn.
In a written reply, Aleph’s chairman RK Mehra told Samiti convener Dinanath Batra the company “respects” his “concerns and objections”. The book was published last year and has been “out of stock”, he added. The stocks sold out “before your objections reached us”, Mehra wrote, noting it could be because of the coverage to Batra’s objections to the Penguin book.
Batra was told Aleph has now sent the “objections” to four independent scholars “for review, as this is the common practice in such cases”. A response is expected next week. The book “shall not be re-issued” until concerns are addressed.
In a statement, Aleph said they would discuss the experts’ reports with both the author and the complainant “in order to find a solution that satisfies all parties concerned”. The author “concurs” with the proposed course of action, the statement added.