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Bloomsbury gives in to propaganda: Has it blemished its own reputation?

  • Divyam Shah | Team PresentMirror | Updated: Aug. 26, 2020, 5:37 p.m.

The cabal of left lib intelligentsia has again used its power to block a book. The banning and blocking of books opposing a particular school of thought reeks of well-built conspiracy aimed at curbing the freedom of speech and expression in the country. Bloomsbury's attempt to stop Delhi Riots 2020 from publishing is yet another feather in the cap of the intolerant Left.


An estimable publishing house, Bloomsbury India reneged on its word to launch a book under its banner named “Delhi Riots 2020: The untold Story” on Saturday, 22nd August, after facing a peremptory uproar from a caucus.

One would reckon that an obvious reason behind this could be the obscure content of the book. Astonishingly, there was none. In fact, the publishing house had once applauded the authors for providing a thorough and an all-round legal perspective on the riots.

Then, what went wrong?

Bloomsbury issued a statement saying, “Bloomsbury India had planned to release Delhi Riots 2020: The Untold Story in September, a book purportedly giving a factual report on the riots in Delhi in February 2020, based on investigations and interviews conducted by the authors. However, in view of very recent events including a virtual pre-publication launch organised without our knowledge by the authors, with participation by parties of whom the Publishers would not have approved, we have decided to withdraw publication of the book. Bloomsbury India strongly supports freedom of speech but also has a deep sense of responsibility towards society.”

It seems, the very fact that BJP leader Kapil Mishra was invited to the pre-launch event by the authors without informing the house irked the “intellectuals” which subsequently led to the move. Moreover, Bloomsbury faced a massive backlash when it published a book justifying the stupid Shaheen Bagh protests called “Shaheen Bagh: From a Protest to a Movement” but declined to publish “Delhi Riots 2020: The untold Story” just over a futile ego tussle.

Hypocrisy… huh!


The cabal, headed by an American citizen Aatish Taseer and a left leaning historian William Dalrymple left no stone unturned in browbeating and finally triumphing over their agenda. These people, who regularly use the term “fascists” to denigrate right wingers eventually ended up falling prey to the same ideology of authoritarianism which they staunchly opposed.

Never the less, such events are not new. Prohibiting factual literature has always been an easy way to subvert Freedom of Expression since the pre-independence era.

Rangila Rasul, an Urdu book was barred from getting published in 1927 as it allegedly contained objectionable content on Prophet Muhammad following which, the book’s publisher was harassed, prosecuted and finally murdered in cold blood by fanatics in April, 1929.

In 1988, another work by the name “The Satanic Verses” was forbidden in India due to allegations of blasphemy. A fatwa was issued against its author, Salman Rushdie and vicious attempts were made on his life.

A book “The Moor's Last Sigh” too was initially blocked in 1995 as some characters in the book resembled political figures in India. However, Supreme Court’s timely intervention in the matter made the book launch possible but was shadow banned by the then government in the due course of time.

Besides these, numerous critically acclaimed works containing factual data have been prohibited from reaching the masses like Angaray by Rasid Jahan, Ayesha by Kurt Flischer, Hindu View of Christianity and Islam by Ram Swarup and the list is endless.

Coming back to the current episode; though a publisher red flagging a particular book cannot be considered a blanket ban as seen in the above cases, but such events can definitely make other publishers think twice about publishing the same book.

As, widespread and unparalleled outrage was witnessed on social media and online media portals following Bloomsbury’s controversial decision, major rejigging took place in the literary circles.

Bestselling authors like Anand Ranganathan and Sanjay Dixit lambasted the publishing house for showcasing selective freedom of expression and immediately quashed their existing contracts with the publishing house resulting in a mammoth revenue loss for the latter.

Bloomsbury’s move faced severe criticism from the Principal Economic Advisor, Sanjeev Sanyal too, who fired a series of tweets reminiscing his past experience and alleging the involvement of a clique in Indian Publishing Houses that imposes ideological censorship.


Such furious reactions from the masses indirectly helped the controversial book get unmatched popularity which it wouldn’t have garnered otherwise. As a matter of fact, after Garuda Prakashan agreed to publish the book, a record fifteen thousand copies had been pre-booked in less than twenty-four hours sending a massive jolt to Bloomsbury.

Evidently, the bunkum revolving around the pseudo-liberals eventually became more like a self-goal rather than an intellectual campaign.

This gang, which has exposed itself repeatedly for its narrow mindedness created a new low as it does always; this time sabotaging Bloomsbury’s hard-earned prestige too along with it.

Order the book and prebook here

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