Corrections and clarifications: The judge clarified on Thursday that he knew Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace was a classic, PTI reported. He said he had merely sought a clarification while reading out the list of books seized from accused Maoist Vernon Gonsalves. A lawyer told the judge that the book in question was actually War and Peace in Junglemahal: People, State and Maoists by Biswajit Roy.
On August 28, the Bombay High Court asked activist Vernon Gonsalves to explain why the 19th century classic by Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, was found among his possessions. “War and Peace is about a war in another country. You will have to explain this to the court,” Justice Sarang Kotwal had said.
Even as there was a flurry of incredulous reactions, Pratik Sinha, who runs the fact-checking website Altnews, posted an old video, tipped off by Twitter user Advaidism, of Prime Minister Narendra Modi flipping through the pages of the very same book in what appears to be a library. According to Advaidism, the video is from 2013.
While the video has become a source of much amusement, it also underlines the strangeness of Justice Kotwal’s question to Gonsalves.