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The Writer, the Reader and the State

The Writer, the Reader and the State
Literary Censorship in India

First Edition
  • Mini Chandran - Professor of English literature, Humanities and Social Sciences department, IIT Kanpur.

May 2017 | 232 pages | SAGE India

This book offers a comprehensive account of the censorship of literature in India since Independence and the recent trends in literature banning

The author recalls the literary censorship of books in India, both in English and in regional languages, and the impact of Emergency on banned books.  The book highlights recent trends and current challenges to free literary expression in the country and attempts to locate it in the tradition of Indian literary history.

The term ‘censorship’, used in the book, is a rubric that includes various repressive measures, both governmental and non-governmental, in banning a book after publication, withdrawing a book using coercive tactics or suppression of a work on other grounds. It adds a literary perspective to the process of reception of these books by the reader.

Introduction: Besieged Words and Strategies of Control
The Writer and the State: The Indian Literary Tradition
Censorship Laws and Colonial Roots
Banned in India: Books Denied to Indian Readers
The Bhasha Fights: Censorship in Regional Languages
Of Shame and Silence: The Emergency 1975–77
The ‘Democratization’ of Censorship: Books and the Indian Public

The book is well-balance as Chandran also picks holes in the discourses against each case of censorship she talks about.

The Telegraph, 15 September 2017

Chandran examines in six chapters India’s literary tradition from the ancient period to contemporary times, censorship laws and rules, books banned in India, the Emergency and, lastly, why censorship has become so democratic. [It] is a timely book, readable and insightful.


Civil Society, January 2018

Mini Chandran

Mini Chandran is Professor of English literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences Department, IIT Kanpur. She writes occasionally for The Indian Express. A practising translator, she translates from Malayalam to English and back, and has published translations of fiction and non-fiction titles, besides academic papers in national and international journals. Her translations include A Revolutionary Life, biography of Lakshmi Sahgal (from English to Malayalam) and Autumnal Memories, biography of prominent Malayalam critic Joseph Mundassery (from Malayalam to English). She has also co-edited Textual Travels: Theory and Practice of... More About Author

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