In the past two weeks, I have realized the enormous power of the literature to influence people’s minds. Literature has both constructive and destructive effects on the society. Biographies of great people belong to the former category where people could mimic the attributes of those great men and women. Jihadi and Maoist literature belongs to the latter category which has the power of creating extremists. The national movement of India also saw the birth of such extremism through literature in the form of journals like Yugantar. Of course, whether such an extremism was warranted or not during the freedom movement is debatable.
Being aware of such effects of literature, the process of how literary works are added needs immediate overhaul because literature is also an important source through which our future generations will know about us. Any tom, dick and harry can write a book and say that Nehru had an affair with Mrs. Mountbatten or Gandhi had a homosexual relationship with some architect. We need an autonomous organization, something like the ‘Writer’s society of the World’ which should be given the power to screen the published literature.
All said and done, even if some book is written based on verifiable facts, the State will always have the power to ban such literature if such a literature has the potential to incite or hurt the sentiments of a section of its population. You cannot speak truth always because speaking the truth has to take the context and other repercussions on the society (not personal) into consideration.