A fictional narrative set in the 1980s in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), “Up Campus Down Campus”, by Delhi-based journalist Avijit Ghosh was denied permission to be read at the ongoing World Book Fair here on Monday.Published by Speaking Tiger, the book is an exuberant celebration of JNU’s uniqueness and was released last year, soon after several students were charged with “anti-national” activities.
National Book Trust (NBT) officials had reportedly informed the publishers that its director wanted to read the book. At the last moment, permission was denied without giving any reason.The author took to social media to voice his concern.
“The book was one of the three that my publishers wanted to organise a discussion and reading on. NBT asked only for ‘Up Campus Down Campus’. Within a hour or two, they said, no. No explanation was given by NBT to the publisher,” he said.
“The present NBT chairman is a former editor of (RSS publication) Panchjanya. In the absence of explanation, I can only speculate on their act,” he added.
“First, the organisers didn’t want to give a platform to a novel on JNU for some reason in their mind. Second, AAP leader Ashutosh, my hostel mate then at Periyar, was the fellow discussant. We — the book and us — seem to be guilty by suspicion,” Ghosh wrote in a Facebook post.
The NBT has denied any foul play, saying it was all “programme based” and was not directed against anybody.