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Jharkhand: Govt finds nothing objectionable in Santhal writer’s book, ban could be lifted

The matter had been raised by the BJP alleging that content of a story in Hansda's book had passages which talked about Santhal women in derogatory terms.

Written by Prashant Pandey | Ranchi |
Updated: December 14, 2017 2:29:07 am
Sowvendra Shekhar Hansda's book The Adivasi Will Not Dance Sowvendra Shekhar Hansda (Source: Facebook)

Four months after the Jharkhand Assembly was informed that a book of Sahitya Akademi’s Yuva Puraskar winner Sowvendra Shekhar Hansda ‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance’, was banned because of objectionable content, it is now learnt that a government probe into the matter did not reveal anything objectionable in the book. This could lead to the lifting of the ban on the book.

Hansda could not be reached for his comment despite repeated attempts. While his supporters, friends and well-wishers congratulated him on the development on his Facebook page, Hansda has neither reacted to it nor posted anything on his behalf so far.

Jharkhand Parliamentary Affairs Minister Saryu Roy said, “As per available information, the probe report has found nothing objectionable in the book concerned.” Roy added that there was, as of now, no need to inform the House, which is currently in session — as nobody has raised the matter.

An official source said that the probe report by the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police of Pakur district, besides other administration officials, found nothing objectionable. Some tribal experts were also reportedly attached to the probe team in this regard. Repeated efforts to reach Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police for their versions proved futile.

When the matter was last raised in the House, in the month of August, Roy had informed the House that a ban has been ordered. However, he had also suggested that the matter be looked into by a committee which included experts from literature and culture to be sure that there was no confusion. With the report having been received, lifting the ban on the book was likely to be a foregone conclusion.

The matter had been raised by the BJP in the House on August 11 when, citing a newspaper report in a local daily, it was alleged that content of a story in Hansda’s book (published in 2015), had passages which talked about Santhal women in derogatory terms, suggesting that they would be ready to go with any person just for Rs 50 and some eats. Prior to the newspaper report, some organisations had held protest demonstrations in Pakur.

Hansda, who was a Santhali, and a doctor at the Additional PHC in Pakuria area of Pakur district, was suspended following the uproar.

However, despite criticism by some tribal activists, Hansda had stood by what he had written saying that he wrote with a clean heart and, had something been objectionable, the book itself would not have got published and liked by people. Hansda had got the Yuva Puraskar given by Sahitya Akademi in 2015 for his book  ‘The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey.’

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