The Jharkhand government told the state Assembly on Tuesday that it has found nothing objectionable in Sahitya Akademi award winning writer Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar’s book, The Adivasi Will Not Dance, The Telegraph reported.
In August, the government had banned the book alleging that it hurt the dignity of women of the Santhal tribe. The book, published in November 2015, is a collection of short stories. The author is a doctor based in Pakur district of Jharkhand.
The government had constituted a team of tribal experts and authors to conduct an inquiry, and the report was tabled in the Assembly on Tuesday. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Saryu Roy said on Tuesday that the ban on Hansda’s collection of short stories was likely to be withdrawn soon.
Roy said that the experts reported that the author had not denigrated tribal life or Santhali women in his book. “We ordered an inquiry to ward off unwarranted controversies,” Roy said. “Authors and artists do have the right to express their inner feelings in their own ways. During inquiries it was found that his expressions did not aim at hurting anyone and his writing could not be dubbed pornography.”
Shekhar, who had been suspended from service on August 13 for writing The Adivasi Will Not Dance without taking permission from the Jharkhand government, had said that he would not make any changes in the book. “If I do so, then where is my freedom of expression?” he said.
He had added: “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 effigies of him and copies of two of his books – The Adivasi Will Not Dance and The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey (Sahitya Akademi Award winner, 2014).