Ban lifted, but bookstores want to wait and watch | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Ban lifted, but bookstores want to wait and watch

Those waiting to buy a copy of American author James W Laine's controversial book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India may have to wait longer. Parvathi Ramanathan reports.

mumbai Updated: Jul 12, 2010 03:16 IST
Parvathi Ramanathan

Those waiting to buy a copy of American author James W Laine's controversial book Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India may have to wait longer.

The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Bombay High Court's decision lifting the ban on the book but following threats from political parties because of allegedly derogatory remarks about the Maratha king in the book, bookstores are playing it safe.

"We have to see how the situation improves. Only depending on that we will stock it in our store," said the manager of one of the city's most popular bookstores.

"The high court lifted the ban two years ago but publishers were not printing the book. Now, the SC has lifted the ban. If publishers print it, we would definitely like to supply it to readers."

He said if the state government prohibits the sale of the book, bookstores will have to comply. Bookstores are also afraid of attacks from the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena who have threatened to burn copies of the book and warned bookstores against selling it.

"We are not stocking the book because of security concerns," the manager of a popular bookstore at Powai said requesting anonymity.

Bookstores are so scared of being dragged into the controversy that they did not want their stores or themselves to be identified in this report. Readers, however, have been asking bookstores for copies since the Supreme Court's decision.

"There have been quite a few people asking about the book and curiosity has definitely increased," said the manager of a bookstore in south Mumbai.

"But we are not stocking the book yet since the publisher also cannot supply it to us. We will consider the safety situation before we start selling it."

Another bookstore manager said the book has been in demand for the past many years.

"People wanted to know what he [Laine] has written about Shivaji. So many people have enquired about this book because they want to know the facts and why the ban was called for," he said. "After all, Shivaji was a great leader and we respect him."

Some bookstores are sticking to their political leanings.

"We will not stock this book. I am a Sainik and I believe in what Thackerayji has said. He called me and asked me not to sell the book," said the spokesperson of the popular Varsha Book Store at Vashi.