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I am a tribal, will never insult my brethren: Hansda Showvendra Shekhar on book ban

Hansda, author of the controversial book ‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’, says his book highlights the curse of migration of tribal women and requests critics to focus on the this theme.

books Updated: Aug 12, 2017 21:29 IST
The Adivasi Will Not Dance,Hansda Showvendra Shekhar,Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar
Hansda Showvendra Shekhar, the author of ‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’.

Hansda Showvendra Shekhar, the author of ‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’ is in the eye of a storm in Jharkhand for the book, which allegedly puts the Jharkhand tribal populace in bad light. The state government has banned the book and is mooting legal action against him. The 34-year old author, also a tribal from Jharkhand’s East Singhbhum district and winner of the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2015, is worried and petrified. HT spoke to him about the book and the controversy plaguing it. Following are the excerpts of the interview.

Why has your book run into controversy?

People, who are criticising my book, would be the best ones to reply.

Does your book put tribals in bad light?

I am a tribal myself and know very well how to treat my own brethren. When I write, I keep all pros and cons in my mind.

In one of the stories in your book, have you defamed tribal women by saying that when they migrate they do not hesitate sleeping with strangers?

Look, the story revolves around migration and its curse on the tribal women. I see thousands of tribal women in Pakur, where I am posted, migrating for work to other states and hear innumerable stories about their sexual exploitation. This is a well accepted fact and I stand by what I had written. Those protesting should focus on the theme rather than the content. I have a basis for writing it.

Who is the publisher and when was the book released?

New Delhi-based Speaking Tiger Publishing Pvt. Ltd is the publisher and the book was released in October 2015. This is what surprises me that after two years people are raising a controversy out of it.

The government has banned your book. Do you have anything to say?

I don’t want to comment on this.

The government is also mulling legal action. Are you aware?

No comments (he breaks down on the phone).

Since how long have you been writing?

I have been writing for the last 19 years from the time I was only 15.

Do you sense a political conspiracy behind the protest?

I am a government servant and have no connection with politics.

Is your family into politics?

My family would reply better on this. Please ask them.

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First Published: Aug 12, 2017 15:53 IST