Sahitya Award-winning writer Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, who is also a doctor by profession, was suspended from service on Saturday allegedly for writing the book The Adivasi Will Not Dance without taking permission from the Jharkhand government, The Telegraph reported on Sunday. The state government had banned Shekhar’s book on Friday, claiming that it hurt the dignity of women of the Santhal tribe.
“He was on deputation in Pakur for offering his services at the Sadar Hospital and district jail,” Pakur Civil Surgeon NK Mehra told The Telegraph. He said he had received Shekhar’s suspension order by email on Saturday and sent an emissary to deliver it to the writer on Sunday.
Shekhar, however, said he had not received the order till Saturday evening. “I am a doctor and have to meet several people daily to treat them,” he said. “I cannot afford to take pressure. I am not under any pressure. I am absolutely okay.”
The book, published in November 2015, is a collection of short stories. Shekhar said he will not make any changes to it.
“If I do so, then where is my freedom of expression?” he said. “If I change anything, then there will be a problem for me. I will feel my liberties as a writer are hurt and lost. Let me put it this way – if there is a problem with my book, don’t read it. Simple.”
Critics and online trolls had accused Shekhar of objectifying and exploiting Adivasi women and alleged that his writing is “pure porn”. On August 4, his detractors had burnt his effigy and copies of two of his books – The Adivasi Will Not Dance and The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey (Sahitya Akademi Award winner, 2014).