[INDOLOGY] Withdrawing my book from Penguin Random House India

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Tue Nov 25 18:54:52 UTC 2014

Dear colleagues,

As will be well known to all of you, in February this year, Penguin Random
House India settled terms with Dinanath Batra, rather than continue
fightning in court, and agreed to stop publishing the book *The Hindus: An
Alternative History* written by our academic colleague Wendy Doniger, and
pulp all remaining copies.

Penguin Books India (as it was then) also published a book of mine, *The
Roots of India*, in their Penguin Classics series.  My book was handled,
back in the day, by David Davidar and his staff, who did a fabulous job of
editing and publishing the book. (I did the typesetting.)

In 1998, I was thrilled to have a book in the Penguin Classics series.  But
I was correspondingly dismayed when my publisher prematurely capitulated in
a patently winnable law case, and publicly cooperated with those who oppose
free speech and promote a view of Indian history, culture and public life
with which I profoundly disagree.

I therefore wrote to Random House Penguin India, saying that I was now
ashamed to be associated with them, and that I would like to stop my book
being published and distributed by them.  They wrote back (within five
minutes) saying that they would let my book go, since they did not wish to
hold on to an author who was unwilling to be published by them.  It has
taken some time, but I have now signed the final papers severing my
publication contract with Random House Penguin India.  All rights relating
to the book have now reverted to me.  The negotiations were civil, even

There's a twist.  In 2002, Penguin Books India sold Penguin UK a license to
publish my *Roots* book (they're different companies).  That resulted in a
new, revised, re-typeset and freshly indexed third edition that appeared in
2003.  As I understand it, that 2003 UK edition (with Dhanvantari on the
cover) remains available

I see that the USA edition of Wendy's *The Hindus* is currently being
sold through
the Penguin India website
<http://www.uread.com/book/hindus-wendy-doniger/9780143116691>.  There's
even a 21% discount.  That renders Batra's victory hollow.

Dominik Wujastyk

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