The controversy over books on Hinduism by American scholar Wendy Doniger has added a new chapter. Her The Hindus: An Alternative History was recalled and pulped by Penguin Books India in November following a four-year legal battle. The Indian penal code criminalizes speech that offends religious sensibilities, and the conservative Hindu political group Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti had pressed for the removal of the book from the Indian market. The group has objected to Doniger's portrayal of Hinduism as sex-obsessed.
After The Hindus was withdrawn, the American Academy of Religion weighed in to express concern about political interference with free inquiry.
Now, in a statement posted Monday on its Facebook page, Aleph Book Company said it would not reprint Doniger's On Hinduism until an independent scholarly review is conducted in response to objections raised last week by the group. Aleph chairman R.K. Mehra wrote to Dinanath Batra, convener of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, that the book was currently out of stock and would only be reprinted after the company examined the group's objections. Mehra added that the book had sold out "due to various statements made in public as well as the media coverage of your objections to the book published by Penguin [The Hindus: An Alternative History]." He said he expected a response from scholars examining On Hinduism next week.