As a new year begins

For the publishing world the new year is always eventful. In Washington, the Michael Wolff book snowed down USA, where anyways, the freak bomb hurricane also played its role to bring cities in north America to a standstill and the senate too with no budget for spending. In India it didn’t rain this winter, but the World Book Fair was a disappointment. Meanwhile, the Raja book on 2G has hit the stands, a political bomb that will possibly carry on ticking to 2019, the election year. Before that, writer-lyricist Prasoon Joshi, as the man who has cleared the screening of the film Padmavati (now as Padmavat) as Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification has to be guarded by Z category security, thanks to fringe group politics of violence. However, the film is so very communal, it should be prescribed for that reason and not for the queen’s clothing. They so wish, bullying could stop films, songs, poems, cartoons, writing, exposes. With Gauri Lankesh’s killing the year-end also saw a book of her writings published.

India and USA are so similar in many ways. The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prevents Congress from making any law respecting an establishment of religion, prohibiting the free exercise of religion, or abridging the freedom of speech, the freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, or to petition for a governmental redressal of grievances. India too has a law on the freedom of expression. It allows a television channel to promote Baba Ramdev’s life story as Swami Ramdev but it does not let a book to be published on him, unless laudatory. However, the upgradation of Baba to Swamy is not going to fool anyone, unless by choice. For the USA too Trump was a choice. A few more expose books in 2018 will only make people think harder about the choices they will make in 2019. Happy reading and dreaming about Freedom.