oppn parties Is It A Crime To Be Well-Read?

News Snippets

  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
  • Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress postpone meeting the governor of Maharashtra
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
oppn parties
Is It A Crime To Be Well-Read?

By A Special Correspondent

It is good that there were no judges like Justice Sarang Kotwal of the Bombay High Court when Leo Tolstoy wrote War and Peace about 150 years ago. Otherwise, that judge would have asked Tolstoy the reason for writing that book and would have suspected him to be an enemy of the nation.

It is extremely shameful that Justice Kotwal is not aware that War and Peace is not incendiary material but one of the greatest novels ever written. It is classic literature, taught in English courses in almost all colleges the world over and not a manual for urban Naxalites or terrorists.

The way he asked Vernon Gonsalves, an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Bhima Koregaon case, to explain why he kept "objectionable material" like the novel War and Peace at home just shows his ignorance about English literature. How can a book that is also taught in colleges in India and is allowed to be sold in the country be called "objectionable material"?

The outlook of the judge is in harmony with that of all such people who judge everything by the cover or the title without ever taking the trouble of going through the contents. In India, those who seek a ban on any work of art - be it a book, a film or a painting - do so without reading or seeing it. In any case, what books one has on one's bookshelf should not concern others as long as it is legal to purchase them in the country.

Justice Kotwal will be well advised to read War and Peace before making such comments. He will discover Tolstoy's moving description of war and the destruction it brings in its wake, his insights into human relationships as well as the relationship between nations and his ability to breathe life into fictional characters. Maybe, then, Justice Kotwal will acknowledge that being well-read is not a crime.