Policing the Writers of Fiction

In “State Pulse: Maharashtra: Books as crime

‘Writers’ Police’ gives details of the way in which greatest writers of late 18th century who were living in Paris at that time were kept under surveillance….

…the Parisian police had a very specific agenda.

It was clear to these protectors of internal security of a tottering regime that the renowned literati then viz Victor Hugo, Balzac or Charles Dickens, might be writing fiction, but their sharp focus on the hypocrisy of the aristocrats or the livelihood issues of ordinary people is adding to the growing turmoil in the country. They knew very well that they might be writing fiction for the masses but it is turning out to be a sharp political edge that hit the right target and is becoming a catalyst for change.

While the Parisian police was engaged in tracking down the daily movements of the writers, its present day counterparts in Maharashtra especially from the Chandrapur-Nagpur region have rather devised some ‘easier’ and ‘shortcut routes’ to curb the flow of ideas. And for them it is also immaterial whether the writer in question was alive or dead.

The recent happenings at a book stall put in by a well known publisher ‘Daanish Books’ at the Deeksha Bhoomi of Dr Ambedkar in Nagpur are a case in point. A random list of books which the police perceived to be ‘dangerous’ and which it duly confiscated from their book stall makes interesting reading….

Coming back to the ‘Writers Police’, it is clear to everyone how all those meticulous efforts put in by the police to curtail the free flow of ideas proved futile. And how French revolution of those times emerged as a beacon of hope for thinking people across the world. Rather it could be said that all those efforts at surveillance became a precursor to the storming of the Bastille.

Can it then be said that India is on the verge of similar transformatory changes and the Maharashtra polices’ efforts at ‘criminalising writing’ are an indication that ruling elite of our times is fast losing ground.

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