The book Narendra Modi banned is a bestseller. Within hours of expelled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and author Jaswant Singh moving the Supreme Court against the ban, Bahri Sons, in central Delhi’s Khan Market, sold 59 copies of Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence between 4.30 pm and 5 pm.
The Modi government banned the book on August 19, two days after its launch, saying that its contents were “against tranquillity of public and national interest.”
The same day, Singh had been expelled at the BJP’s chintan baithak (introspection meeting) in Shimla for praising Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah and blaming Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Independent India’s first home minister, for the partition of the country.
Within 10 days of its launch, the 600-page tome has sold over 40,000 copies, publisher RK Mehra of Rupa, told HT.
What does Mehra attribute the book’s success to? “The subject of Partition, the interest sparked by Singh’s expulsion and of course, the BJP, the party that gave it a mukut (crown).”
Priced at Rs 695, riding on the Jinnah controversy, it is flying off the shelves not only in the City of Djinns (Delhi) but BJP-ruled states like Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh.
The demand has far outstripped its supply, said Asad Baig of Midland Book store, Aurobindo Place, South Delhi.
At Jaipur’s Crossword, it is among the hottest selling. “Fifteen of the 30 copies we received on Monday have been sold,” said manager Giridhar Goyal.
In Shimla, Minerva Book House has sold 90 out of the 110 copies it had procured.
In Pakistan, in four days, the book has sold 2,000 copies, despite being priced at a steep Rs 1,395 (around Indian
Narendra Modi may be surprised to know that even the Gujarat Association in London has written to Rupa with requests for distribution.
(Inputs from Kamal Siddiqi in Karachi, Moushumi Das Gupta in Delhi and Deepika Bugalia in Jaipur)