Oxford University Press (OUP) has decided not to print the Indian edition of Killing a Democracy: India’s Transition to Despotism, said the authors of the book.
“OUP has ceded the rights to the paperback to us and we hope to find an Indian publisher who will properly print and market our book here and make it widely available at an affordable price,” John Keane and Debasish Roy Chowdhury said in a joint statement to The telegraph.
The book and one of the authors, Roy Chowdhury, had been criticized in an article in Organizer magazine which generally echoed the views of the Sangh.
OUP India Publicity Manager Iti Khurana said, “We recently came to an agreement with the authors that we will release the publishing rights for this paperback book in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. , Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.
Khurana did not answer this newspaper’s question why OUP decided not to publish the book in India after making a detailed plan in April for its release here in the first week of July, a week after the launch of the world edition.
There was no sign of the book until mid-September when the authors sounded the alarm. Keane, co-author and professor of political science at the University of Sydney, publicly asked OUP about the delay on Twitter.
As of last weekend, the book has been offered on Amazon and Flipkart but the authors argue that it is the global edition that is imported.
“Yesterday, after an eerily long delay, To Kill A Democracy appeared in India – stillborn,” Keane tweeted on Saturday. Earlier, while making the unexplained delay public, he wondered if OUP intended to censor the book.
On Tuesday, the authors said in their joint statement: “When we inquired from OUP about the status of the Indian edition, after waiting for it for almost three months after the global launch, we learned that OUP India had decided not to print the book. in India. The original agreement was to have a locally printed and low cost edition so that it could be read widely. Instead, OUP India chose to import a very limited number of bound copies of the book for sale in India.
“This explains the long delays, the lack of publicity and the high price of Rs 995 instead of the Rs 695 initially agreed. Since we don’t think this is an appropriate mass price, we have taken back the rights to the paperback. and translations. OUP has handed over the rights to the paperback to us and we hope to find an Indian publisher who will print and market our book properly here and make it widely available at an affordable price.
Last week, a spokesperson for OUP India said that “the sales team felt the content was provocative” and therefore sent the book – already rated favorably by OUP Oxford – for a second review. The spokesperson denied that the Organizer’s article had anything to do with OUP India sending the book for a second review, saying it was standard policy.
To date, the authors have not been made aware of the reasons why OUP decided not to publish the Indian edition. The delay in publication was initially attributed to the second wave of the pandemic in India and the relocation of warehouses. They also did not receive a satisfactory response to the need for a second review.
The Organizer’s article widely criticized Roy Chowdhury – a Hong Kong-based journalist – for his articles in Time magazine about the Modi government’s handling of the second wave of the pandemic.
The Organizer’s article alleged that the book was written with a nefarious agenda, although the OUP’s description of To Kill A Democracy states that “it rejects the belief that India was once a beacon of democracy but is now ruined by the destructive forces of Modi-style populism. The book details the much deeper historical roots of the current attacks on civil liberties and democratic institutions. “