ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Mini ChandranSubscribe to Mini Chandran

To Write Was to Cense

Poetics is always thought of as pertaining to the art of literary composition. However, by laying down the rules of composition, it can also condition the writer to produce socially acceptable works of art. The paper argues that kāvyaśāstra in ancient India functioned like a conditioning mechanism and persuaded the writer to voluntarily confine themself within the hegemonic limits set by the prevalent ethical and moral codes, making external controls redundant. This can perhaps explain why, unlike the different forms of restrictive forces, we have been accustomed to, at various points of history across different cultures, premodern Indian literature that is unmarked by any overt cases of censorship.

Reclaiming Lost Territory

The dominant figures in the study of Sanskrit language and literature are non-Indians. Yet their research is marked by the patience and dedication of meticulous scholars, and they interrogate classical theorists in a confi dent manner that we find missing in Indian approaches to ancient criticism. Admirable though these traits are, this article observes that their work sometimes lacks the judicious touch of a nuanced understanding that some Indian scholars have. So it is time that we assimilated the systematic and thorough scholarship of western scholars to reclaim our cultural heritage and intellectual territory.

The Democratisation of Censorship: Books and the Indian Public

The alarming trend in India today is censorship by the mob, or in other words, the true democratisation of censorship, where it has ceased to be a punitive measure wielded by the government. The trajectory of literary censorship from the days of the British Raj to the present shows that even as the courts have increasingly stood for free expression, the mob demands the suppression of material antithetical to its views. The public outcry over James Laine's book on Shivaji is a case in point.

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