Modi effect: One publisher quits, other spikes

Ravi Singh of Aleph ‘quits’ over decision to put Doniger on hold, publish Modi verse.

Written by Anubhuti Vishnoi | New Delhi | Published:April 16, 2014 12:40 am

Ravi Singh, co-publisher of Aleph Book Company, has quit apparently in protest against the manner in which Aleph seemed to have yielded to those calling for a ban on Wendy Doniger’s On Hinduism. Sources said he also questioned the decision by Rupa — Aleph’s publishing partner — to publish a translation of BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi’s poetry during the election campaign.

Aleph was founded in May 2011 by David Davidar in partnership with R K Mehra and Kapish Mehra of Rupa Publications India.

Rupa Publications will launch the English translation of Modi’s 67 poems, A Journey, Poems by Narendra Modi, on April 20. Described as “the story of Mr Modi’s rise from humble beginnings to high political office” in verse, the translation is by Ravi Mantha.

While Dina Nath Batra of the RSS-backed Shiskha Bachao Andolan (SBA) had claimed that Rupa Publications had assured him the Doniger book would be withdrawn, Ravi Singh had then told The Indian Express: “We are not withdrawing the book and we are not terminating any contract.”

Days later, however, Aleph issued a statement that the Doniger book is out of stock and will not be reprinted until it is reviewed by four independent scholars in the light of objections raised by Batra. The Aleph episode had come within days of Penguin India agreeing to withdraw the other Doniger book — The Hindus — after Batra dragged them to court.

Sources confirmed that Singh was “uncomfortable” with the way the publishing house was proceeding with the Doniger controversy and felt that it would eventually move in a direction where he would have no say at all. But when asked about his resignation, Singh told The Indian Express: “I’m happy that together with David I set up and nurtured a wonderful company but it’s time to move on now.”

This was echoed by David Davidar, Aleph’s publisher. “It is with regret that I would like to announce the resignation of Ravi Singh… I would like to thank him for everything he has done for us and, on behalf of everyone at Aleph, wish him the very best for the future,” Davidar said in a statement emailed to this newspaper.

Neither Davidar nor Kapish Mehra replied to text messages asking them if Singh’s resignation was linked to the publication of Modi’s verse or the Doniger decision.

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  1. D
    Dave Makkar
    Apr 15, 2014 at 9:06 pm
    MODI: you don’t need aGovt to be POOR but you do need it to be RICH!For 1100 acres of land in Sanad in 2008 Tata Motors paid Rs 900/sqmto the Gujarat Government. The government acquired the land at Rs 1,200 persquare meter.Tata Motors only invested Rs 2000crores and got a government loan of Rs9,570 crore for 20 years at 0.1 per cent rate of interest. This loan was 23%of Gujarat’s budget for 2008. On top of othersubsidizes;100 acres of land at a highly subsidized rate near Ahmedabad for Tatatownship.Modi has lured away Nano plantusing huge amount of money directly from Gujaratgovernment’s coffers. What has the state gained till now, Nano has failed, sohave “cascading effects of the plant” Tata Motors’Sanand plant stays idle (April 2013 plant utilization was mere 4.5%).The attraction for corrupt Industrial Houses and MNC’s is not Modi but Free Money. Practically same story is for Ford, Suzuki, ADANI, Ambani etc. on top of this they all received various Incentives in other words poor Tax Payers are paying to the rich multi billion corporations. Total Subsidies to TATA Rs 30,000 Crore, Suzuki 20,000 Crore & Ford 20,000 Crore Under Modi Rule Adani GP revenue from $765 Million in 2002 rose to $8.8 Billion in March 2013 while net profits climbed even fastercome Tax Incentives10 year corporate tax holiday on export profit – 100% for initial 5 years and 50% Corporate Tax Holiday for the next 5 yearemption from dividend distribution taxIndirect Tax IncentivesZero customs dutyZero excise dutyExemption from central s taxExemption from service taxUnder Modi 60,000 small scale industries shut downOver 5,500 farmers in the last 10 years have committedsuicide in the state but police have been instructed by Modi govt not to register cases.CAG reports from 2001-2012/13 show corruption to the tune of Rs 1.5 lakh crore. The state took nine years to appoint a Lok Ayukta."Gujarat's budget increased from Rs 28,000 crore in 2001 toRs 1,20,000 crore in 2013-14, public debt during the same period increased fromRs 26,000 crore to Rs 1,76,000 crore."