List of books banned in India
This section lists books that are banned or once faced a nationwide ban in India (including in British India).
|1910||Aaril Oru Pangu||Subramania Bharati||In 1910 this short story was written by Subramania Bharati and published it himself at a price of three ‘anas'. It was the first short story of Tamil Language |
|1924||Rangila Rasul||Anonymous||In May 1924, this Urdu booklet was published in Lahore. The booklet purportedly described Prophet Muhammad's relationship with women. The publisher, Raj Pal, was charged under 153A of the Indian Penal Code for hate speech by the Punjab government. The final disposition came in May 1927. The court declared that law does not prohibit satirical writings about the deceased and the publisher was acquitted with a warning. On 6 April 1929, the publisher was murdered. The murderer, a Muslim youth named Ilm-ud-din, was sentenced to death and the sentenced was carried out on 31 October 1929.|
|1934||Hindu Heaven||Max Wylie||It cannot be brought into India. Max Wylie, the creator The Flying Nun TV show, researched this book while teaching in Lahore. The novel questioned the work of American missionaries in India. It also dealt with the harsh effects of the climate on the missionaries.|
|1933||Angaray||Various||This collection of stories by Sajjad Zaheer, Ahmed Ali, Rashid Jahan and Mahmud-uz-Zafar was published in 1932. It drew protests from Muslim religious leaders. In 1933, it was banned by the British colonial government.|
|1936||The Face of Mother India||Katherine Mayo||It cannot be imported into India. This illustrated book was famously called "the report of a drain inspector" by Mahatma Gandhi.|
|1936||Old Soldier Sahib||Frank Richards||The book cannot be imported into India. The book is a memoir of the author's time in British India as a veteran soldier.|
|1937||The Land of the Lingam||Arthur Miles||It cannot be imported into India. The book is about Hinduism, caste and phallicism.|
|1940||Mysterious India||Moki Singh||The book cannot be imported into India. The book purportedly contained stereotypes.|
|1945||The Scented Garden: Anthropology of the Sex Life in the Levant||Bernhard Stern||This book cannot be imported into India. This is a book about sexual practices and marriage rites of the people of Middle East (Levant). The book was allegedly sexually explicit.|
|1950||Pakistan-Pasmanzarwa Peshmanzar||Hameed Anwar||This book, originally in Urdu, cannot be imported into India.|
|1950||Cease-Fire||Agha Babar||This book, originally in Urdu, cannot be imported into India.|
|1950||Khak Aur Khoon||Nusseim Hajazi||This book, originally in Urdu, cannot be imported into India.|
|1952||Chadramohini||This book, originally in Urdu, cannot be imported into India.|
|1952||Marka-e-Somnath||Maulana Muhammad Sadiq Hussain Sahab Sadiq Siddiqui Sardanvi||This book, originally in Urdu, cannot be imported into India.|
|1954||Bhupat Singh||Kaluwank Ravatwank||This book, originally in Gujarati, cannot be imported into India.|
|1954||What has Religion done for Mankind||This book cannot be imported into India. This is a book published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society. This book tries to refute Eastern religions.|
|1955||Rama Retold||Aubrey Menen||This book cannot be imported into India. It was a play which was a spoof of the Ramayana. It was one of the first books to be banned in independent India. The American edition was simply called The Ramayana.|
|1955||Dark Urge||Robert W. Taylor||This book cannot be imported into India.|
|1958||Captive Kashmir||Aziz Beg||This book cannot be imported into India.|
|1959||The Heart of India||Alexander Campbell||This book cannot be imported into India. Alexander Campbell was Time magazine's New Delhi correspondent. The book is a fictionalized and humorous account of Indian bureaucracy and economic policies.|
|1960||The Lotus and the Robot||Arthur Koestler||This book contains the author's experiences in India and Japan. The book was highly critical of the cultures of both nations. The book was banned for its negative portrayal of Gandhi.|
|1962||Nine Hours to Rama||Stanley Wolpert||This book cannot be imported into India. The book and the movie based on it, both were banned in India. The book was thought to be justifying the actions of Nathuram Godse who murdered Gandhi. The book also points to the lapse in security.|
|1963||Nepal||Toni Hagen||This book cannot be imported into India.|
|1963||Ayesha||Kurt Frischler||This book cannot be imported into India. The original German title was Aischa: Mohammed's Lieblingfrau (Aischa: Mohammed's Favorite Wife).|
|1963||Unarmed Victory||Bertrand Russell||The book dealt with the Sino-Indian War which India lost.|
|1964||An Area of Darkness||V. S. Naipaul||Banned for its negative portrayal of India and its people.|
|1968||The Jewel in the Lotus||Allen Edwardes||This book cannot be imported into India. Allen Edwardes was the pen-name of a scholar who wrote on Middle East and Oriental erotica.|
|1969||The Evolution of the British Empire and Commonwealth from the American Revolution||Alfred LeRoy Burt||This book cannot be imported into India.|
|1969||A Struggle between two lines over the question of How to Deal with U.S. Imperialism||Hsiu-chu Fan||This book cannot be imported into India.|
|1970||Man from Moscow||Greville Wynne||This book cannot be imported into India. Greville Wynne was a courier for the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). The book is about his involvement with Oleg Penkovsky. The book was banned for purportedly misrepresenting Indian policies.|
|1975||Early Islam||Desmond Stewart||This book cannot be imported into India. The book purportedly contained grievous factual errors.|
|1975||Nehru: A Political Biography||Michael Edwards||This book cannot be imported into India. The book purportedly contained grievous factual errors.|
|1976||India Independent||Charles Bettelheim||This book cannot be imported into India. It was banned for criticising the policies of the Indian government.|
|1978||China’s Foreign Relations Since 1949||Alan Lawrence||This book cannot be imported into India.|
|1978||The Reminiscence Of The Nehru Age||MO Mathai||This book explosively describes almost all important personalities of the Nehru times|
|1979||Who killed Gandhi||Lourenço de Salvador||This book cannot be imported into India. The book was considered inflammatory and ill-researched.|
|1983||The Price of Power: Kissinger and Nixon in the White House||Seymour Hersh||Briefly banned for alleging Morarji Desai to be a CIA informer. The book claimed that Morarji Desai was paid 20,000 USD per year, starting from the time of Lyndon B. Johnson. Desai obtained an injunction from the Bombay High Court for a temporary ban and sued for damages worth 5 million USD in US.|
|1984||Smash and Grab: Annexation of Sikkim||Sunanda K. Datta-Ray||The book dealt with India's annexation of Sikkim. The Delhi High Court had stopped its publication after a political officer station in Gangtok at the time filed a defamation suit. The book was later allowed for release.|
|1988||The Satanic Verses||Salman Rushdie||This book cannot be imported into India. Import ban was imposed after Muslim groups protested that it was blasphemous and hurt their religious sentiments. India was the first country to ban this book.|
|1989||Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada||Zuhair Kashmeri
|The book claims that the Indian intelligence agencies penetrated the Canadian Sikh community, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in order to discredit the demand for a separate Sikh state.|
|1991||Understanding Islam through Hadis||Ram Swarup||The book, originally published in 1982, was banned for its critique of political Islam.|
|1995||The Moor's Last Sigh||Salman Rushdie||The book contained a character resembling Balasaheb Thackeray, the leader of the right-wing party Shiv Sena. The book faced protests from the party. The book also contained a dog named, Jawaharlal, named after India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao unofficially banned the book. In September 1995, the local publishers Rupa & Co. were asked to stop selling the book. Rupa & Co. decided to approach the Supreme Court of India in response. The court the declared the ban unconstitutional in February 1996. However, book sellers were reluctant to stock the book in Maharashtra, the home of Shiv Sena, due to the fear of vandalism.|
|2005||The True Furqan||Al Saffee, Al Mahdee||Banned for purportedly mocking Islam. The book has been allegedly written by a Christian evangelical group to proselytise Muslims. The import of this book is strictly prohibited.|
|Anand Yadav||A Pune court ordered the copies of the books to be destroyed in June 2014. The complaint Jaisingh More had claimed that the book was derogatory to Tukaram and Dnyaneshwar. The publishers defended the book. And the author's daughter stated that they will appeal in a higher court.|
|2017||22's Diary||P, Maîtresse||Banned for the humiliation and degradation of the male husbands role. Graphic sexual content of the wife and her lovers brutalizing her husband. The import of this book is strictly prohibited. |
Other challenged books
This section lists books that have been legally challenged to impose a ban or to exclude from a syllabus. Some books listed here are unavailable or were unavailable for some time in India or parts of it, due to pending court decisions or voluntary withdrawal by the publishers.
|1997||The God of Small Things||Arundhati Roy||A lawyer named Sabu Thomas from Kerala filed an obscenity case against the author, claiming that Chapter 21 contains obscene scenes.|
|1998||The Polyester Prince: The Rise of Dhirubhai Ambani||Hamish McDonald||This unofficial biography of Dhirubhai Ambani never went to print because Harper Collins anticipated legal action from the Ambani family.|
|2000||Towards Freedom||Sumit Sarkar
K. N. Panikkar
|The 10-volume history book project was halted by the Indian Council of Historical Research in early 2000, allegedly because it showed Hindu Mahasabha in a badlight. The project was revived in 2004.|
|2001||Holy Cow: Beef in Indian Dietary Traditions||Dwijendra Narayan Jha||A preview of the book was posted on a website initially which triggered the controversy. A spokesperson for the Vishwa Hindu Parishad stated that the book was an attempt to insult Hindus. The book allegedly said that beef was eaten by ancient Indians. The author received anonymous threat calls and had to be provided a police escort. A civil court in Andhra Pradesh put a temporary stay order on the book until verdict. Pushpesh Pant supported the book by stating that the evidence exists in historical and mythological texts. The book is also known as The Myth of the Holy Cow.|
|2002||Five Past Midnight in Bhopal||Dominique Lapierre
|The book is a dramatized account of the Bhopal disaster. In 2002, Swaraj Puri filed a defamation suit against the authors worth 10 million USD. Puri, who was the police commissioner of Bhopal during the disaster is mentioned in the book. In 2009, the court put an order to halt publication of the book. But, the Madhya Pradesh High Court revoked the order later.|
|2008||The Lives of Sri Aurobindo||Peter Heehs||On 5 November 2004, the Odisha High Court put a stay order on the release of the book, after a petition was filed. The petitioner alleged that the book is blasphemous in nature and defamatory regarding Sri Aurobindo's character.|
|2010||The Red Sari (El Sari Rojo)||Javier Moro||The book was originally published in October 2010 in Spanish. The book is a fictional novel allegedly based on Sonia Gandhi. Moro claimed that Congress lawyers and spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi had written to his publishers demanding them to withdraw the book from shops. Abhishek Singhvi claimed that the book violated a person's privacy for monetary gain. The book was finally released in India in January 2015.|
|2010||Such A Long Journey||Rohinton Mistry||On 4 October 2010, this 1990 Booker nominated book was removed from the Bachelor of Arts (English) syllabus of the Mumbai University, after Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena, the student-wing of the Shiv Sena protested. The book allegedly contained anti-Shiv Sena passages and remarks derogatory to Maharastrians. The protests were led by Aditya Thackeray. Mistry later expressed his dismay in an open letter to the university.|
|2013||Dhundi||Yogesh Master||The author of the Kannada novel was arrested on 29 August 2013, after several Hindu organisations accused the book of containing objectionable material against the god Ganesha. The author was charged under Section 295 A and 298 of the Indian Penal Code. The complaint was filed by Sri Ram Sene leader Pramod Muthalik, and others.|
|2014||Sahara: The Untold Story||Tamal Bandyopadhyay||Sahara India Pariwar moved Calcutta High Court in December 2013 seeking a stay and filed a Rs. 200 crore defamation suit against the author. In January 2014, a stay order was issued by the court. In April, both the parties reached an out of court settlement following which the book was published with a disclaimer given by Sahara.|
|2014||The Descent of Air India||Jitendra Bhargava||The publisher, Bloomsbury India, agreed to withdraw all copies of the book, after former Aviation Minister Praful Patel filed a defamation suit in a Mumbai court. The publisher also issued a public apology.|
(One Part Woman)
|Perumal Murugan||The writer asked publishers to withdraw all his books from the market and announced that he was giving up writing on 13 January 2015. The BJP, RSS and other Hindu groups had protested his book, and demanded its ban and his arrest. They had alleged that he had portrayed the Kailasanathar temple in Tiruchengode and its women devotees in bad light. The English translation of the book is known as One Part Woman.|
|2015||Korkai||Joe D'Cruz||A complaint was filed against the author in June 2015 in a Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu court alleging the novel had portrayed fishermen, Christianity, priests and nuns in bad light.|
- John W. Cell; John Whitson Cell (22 August 2002). Hailey: A Study in British Imperialism, 1872-1969. Cambridge University Press. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-521-52117-8. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Gene R. Thursby (1975). Hindu-Muslim Relations in British India: A Study of Controversy, Conflict, and Communal Movements in Northern India 1923-1928. BRILL. p. 42. ISBN 978-90-04-04380-0. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Girja Kumar (1 January 1997). The Book on Trial: Fundamentalism and Censorship in India. Har-Anand Publications. pp. 55, 58. ISBN 978-81-241-0525-2. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Ayesha Jalal (4 January 2002). Self and Sovereignty: Individual and Community in South Asian Islam Since 1850. Taylor & Francis. p. 295. ISBN 978-0-203-18624-4. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed. Rupa Publications. ISBN 978-81-291-2125-7. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Prohibition on Importations into India (Part 1)". Chennai Customs (Government of India). Archived from the original on April 13, 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "Class of 1927 Letter". Half-Century Annalist Letters. Hamilton College. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Sujit Mukherjee (1 January 1993). Forster and Further: The Tradition of Anglo-Indian Fiction. Orient Blackswan. p. 256. ISBN 978-0-86311-289-8. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction. John Wiley & Sons. 8 December 2010. p. 1003. ISBN 978-1-4051-9244-6. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Raj Kumar Gupta (1 January 1986). The Great Encounter: A Study of Indo-American Literature and Cultural Relations. Abhinav Publications. p. 179. ISBN 978-81-7017-211-6. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Department of English, University of Delhi (1 September 2005). The Individual and Society. Pearson Education India. p. 37. ISBN 978-81-317-0417-2. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- Katherine Mayo
- "The land of the lingam". Library Catalog. Yale University. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Nilanjana S. Roy (23 May 2006). "Banned in India: The 1930s-1960s". Business Standard. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Prohibition on Importations into India (Part 2)". Chennai Customs (Government of India). Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "The scented garden; anthropology of the sex life in the Levant". Library Catalog. Stony Brook University. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- "What has religion done for mankind". Library Catalog. University of Wisconsin-Madison. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Tony Wills (1 February 2007). A People for His Name: A History of Jehovah's Witnesses and an Evaluation. Lulu.com. p. 235. ISBN 978-1-4303-0100-4. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Arvind Krishna Mehrotra (January 2003). A History of Indian Literature in English. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-85065-681-4. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- P. Lal (1964). Great Sanskrit Plays. New Directions Publishing. p. 291. ISBN 978-0-8112-0079-0. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Prohibition on Importations into India (Part 3), Chennai Customs (Government of India), archived from the original on 21 September 2012, retrieved 7 August 2013
- Suroor, Hasan (3 March 2012). "You can't read this book". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
- Nilanjana S. Roy (30 May 2006). "Banned books in India: 1970s-2006". Business Standard. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Shoji Yamada (29 November 2011). Shots in the Dark: Japan, Zen, and the West. University of Chicago Press. p. 215. ISBN 978-0-226-94765-5. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Sujit Mukherjee (1 January 1993). Forster and Further: The Tradition of Anglo-Indian Fiction. Orient Blackswan. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-86311-289-8. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Ayesha". Open Library. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Publish and be banned". The Telegraph (India). 18 July 2010. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- Prohibition on Importations into India (Part 4), Chennai Customs (Government of India), archived from the original on 21 September 2012, retrieved 7 August 2013
- Nigel West (26 January 2007). Historical Dictionary of Cold War Counterintelligence. Scarecrow Press. p. 378. ISBN 978-0-8108-6463-4. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Desai Obtains Ban On Hersh Book in India". New York Times. 14 July 1983. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Booked but not read: When the law is used for a private agenda". The Telegraph (India). 15 February 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "Lifting the 'sacred veil' on Sikkim". Business Standard. 25 February 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- Manoj Mitta (25 January 2012). "Reading ‘Satanic Verses' legal". The Times Of India. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
- "Soft Target: How the Indian Intelligence Service Penetrated Canada, Zuhair Kashmeri and Brian McAndrew". Huffington Post (Canada). 28 November 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- "Another Rushdie Novel, Another Bitter Epilogue". The New York Times. 2 December 1995. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- Madelena Gonzalez (2005). Fiction After the Fatwa: Salman Rushdie and the Charm of Catastrophe. Rodopi. p. 12. ISBN 90-420-1962-X. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- Ralph J. Crane; Radhika Mohanram (2000). Shifting Continents/colliding Cultures: Diaspora Writing of the Indian Subcontinent. Rodopi. pp. 106, 115. ISBN 90-420-1271-4.
- Prakash, Anupam (7 September 2005). "Notification No. 78 /2005-Customs (N.T.)". Central Board of Excise and Customs. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "‘Destroy’ defamatory books on saints: Court". The Indian Express. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
- Prakash, Anupam (7 September 2017). "Notification No. 78 /2005-Customs (N.T.)". Central Board of Excise and Customs. Archived from the original on 24 April 2015. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "A Novelist Beginning With a Bang". The New York Times. 29 June 1997. Retrieved 16 December 2014.
- "The Prince made them wince". Mid Day. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "'Towards Freedom' project revived". The Hindu. 21 September 2004. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- Jyotsna Singh (9 August 2001). "Beef book sparks Hindu protest". BBC News. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- Emily Eakin (17 August 2002). "Holy Cow a Myth? An Indian Finds The Kick Is Real". New York Times. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Book on beef-eating runs into trouble". The Hindu. 8 August 2001. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Court stops sale of book on Bhopal gas tragedy". 9 August 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Court restrains publishing of book". The Hindu. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "MP HC stays ban on book 'Five Past Midnight in Bhopal'". IndLaw News. 10 October 2009. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "HC brakes on biography". The Telegraph (India). 5 November 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- "Orissa HC sets condition for release of Sri Aurobindo's biography". IndLaw News. 11 April 2008. Archived from the original on 9 January 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- Charmy Harikrishnan (2 June 2010). "Latest target for Congress censors: book on Sonia's life". Indian Express. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Spanish writer threatens to sue Singhvi on Sonia book". Indian Express. 6 June 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Congress hits back at Spanish author". Deccan Herald. 4 June 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Controversial Sonia Gandhi book 'Red Sari' now out in India". The Economic Times. 15 January 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2015.
- Vinaya Deshpande (20 October 2010). "Rohinton Mistry protests withdrawal of book". The Hindu. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Rohinton Mistry's novel removed from syllabus". Sify.com. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
- "Author of Kannada novel Dhundi arrested". The Hindu. 30 August 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "‘Dhundi’ author accused of sharing PDFs online". The Hindu. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 31 October 2013.
- "‘Sahara withdraws case against Mint journalist’s book’". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
- "Sahara gets stay on book release, files Rs 200-cr defamation suit against author". Business Standard. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- "Bloomsbury withdraws ex-AI official’s book to save Praful ‘embarrassment’". The Indian Express. 16 January 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- "Three-way tussle over ‘The Descent of Air India’". The Hindu Business Line. 17 January 2014. Retrieved 12 February 2014.
- "Perumal Murugan gives up writing". The Hindu. 13 January 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "BJP, RSS seek ban on Tamil novel, arrest of author". The Hindu. 27 December 2014. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "Summons to writer Joe D’ Cruz". The Hindu. 5 June 2015. Retrieved 6 June 2015.