Writers can’t just write anything

Shiv Sena complains to Bombay University about Rohinton Mistry’s novel Such a Long Journey, which is on a university reading list. Bombay University says “oh I do beg your pardon” and cuts Mistry’s novel from the list. Shiv Sena hugs itself in glee at this easy victory.

Mistry is not so chuffed. Mistry says a few words.

“The Shiv Sena has followed its depressingly familiar script of threats and intimidation that Mumbai has endured since the organisation’s founding in 1966,” the author said. “More bobbing, weaving, and slippery behaviour is no doubt in the offing. But one thing remains: a political party demanded an immediate change in syllabus, and Mumbai University [made] the book disappear the very next day.”

But Shiv Sena explained.

Mohan Rawale, a Shiv Sena official, said the book was full of “very bad, very insulting words”, especially about Bal Thackeray, 83, the group’s founder and leader.

“It is our culture that anything with insulting language should be deleted. Writers can’t just write anything. They can’t write wrong things,” said Rawale, who admitted not having read the book.

Well there you are. The book has insulting words in it. It is Shiv Sena’s culture that all insulting words should be deleted…unless they’re directed at Shiv Sena’s enemies, one imagines. There is of course no need to find the insulting words by reading them first; revelation and hunches are perfectly valid ways to detect the presense of insulting words.

In a pig’s eye.

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