Concerning O.U.P.'s shocking apology

Jean-Luc Chevillard jean-luc.chevillard at UNIV-PARIS-DIDEROT.FR
Thu Nov 24 21:10:29 UTC 2011


-- jlc (Paris)


-------- Original Message --------
Subject:     Fwd: Absolutely crucial
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Paula Richman
>> To: Paula Richman
>> Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2011 1:50 AM
>> Subject: crucial
>> Dear Friends:
>>   If you would like to add your name to the long list of signatures
>> for this letter, drafted by Sheldon Pollock, in protest against
>> OUP's withdrawl of A.K. Ramanujan's writings from its
>> publications, in relation to the Supreme Court Decision about
>> Ramanujan's essay "Many Ramayanas," please email your name, title,
>> and affiliation to Andrew Ollett at this email.
>> <andrew.ollett at>
>> Thanks,
>> Paula Richman
>> Subject: Letter to the Chief Executive, OUP, regarding the Ramanujan
>> affair
>> Dear friends,
>> If you are willing to sign the letter below, please send a note with
>> your name, title, and affiliation to
>> Andrew Ollett <andrew.ollett at>
>> who will be compiling the list.
>> Please circulate this letter widely (I'm running out of steam!)
>> We'll be collecting signatures until Sunday Nov. 28, in time to
>> deliver the list to colleagues in the UK who are holding a protest
>> meeting in Oxford on Nov. 30.
>> Thanks
>> shelly
>> * * *
>> Mr. Nigel Portwood
>> Chief Executive
>> Oxford University Press
>> Oxford, UK
>> Dear Mr. Portwood,
>> We have learned with shock and dismay that Oxford University Press
>> India has formally apologized to the individual who brought suit
>> against OUP for publishing A. K. Ramanujan's "Many Ramayanas." OUP
>> India's lawyers have stated in court, "We are instructed to intimate
>> to our client through you and state that our client have long
>> earlier stopped selling the book, "Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of
>> A Narrative Tradition in South Asia", nor have they any plans to
>> reissue/re-publish the book." And further: "Our client further wish
>> to assure your client that as publishers of long standing and
>> repute, it has been their conscious endeavour to respect the
>> plurality of Indian culture in all publishing activities which they
>> undertake and very much regret that the essay in question has
>> inadvertently caused your client distress and concern." In addition,
>> OUP India has, it appears, subsequently withdrawn from the market
>> Ramanujan's Collected Essays, in which "Many Ramayanas" also
>> appears, and has assured Delhi University that it will not keep the
>> book in print, a pledge that enabled the university's vice-
>> chancellor to overrule his own committee who had argued for
>> retaining Ramanujan's essay on the syllabus of the History department.
>> The scholars who have signed this letter to you, many of us former
>> colleagues or students of Ramanujan, but also authors who have
>> published with OUP Oxford, New York, or Delhi, want to express our
>> deep consternation at OUP India's self-abasement in court. We are
>> also fully aware that the Ramanujan case is only the most recent in
>> a series of shocking acts on the part of OUP India--including the
>> suppressing or pre-censoring of scholarly books--that are inimical
>> to the open exchange of ideas, the lifeblood of scholarship.
>> This situation cannot go unchallenged.
>> We ask that OUP withdraw its court apology, publicly state that it
>> is committed to the right of scholars to publish their work without
>> fear of suppression or censorship, and demonstrate this commitment
>> by reprinting at once Ramanujan's Collected Essays.
>> If you unwilling to do these things, and thereby effectively attempt
>> to bury Ramanujan's book, we demand that you publicly relinquish all
>> rights to his work and return them to the original copyright
>> holders, so that this scholarship can be published by another press
>> that understands the importance of freedom of expression, to say
>> nothing of courage in the face of fanaticism.
>> Sincerely yours,
>> --
>> Paula Richman
>> William H. Danforth Professor of South Asian Religions
>> Department of Religion
>> Rice Hall
>> 10 N. Professor St.
>> Oberlin College
>> Oberlin, OH 44074
>> fax: 440-775-6910

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