Mistrys Invisible Journey: Canadian author censored in India

by Jaclyn Nardone

Published in 1991, filmed in 1998, banned in 2010.

Given the OK by vice-chancellor Rajan Welukar, the University of Mumbai recently removed the award-winning novel ‘Such a Long Journey”, written by Indian-born Canadian author Rohinton Mistry, from its course of study.

The story
, told through a Mumbai bank clerk, is about India’s 1970s political turmoils. Shiv Sena, an ultra-nationalist group in India — allegedly portrayed as violent in the book — was upset over the way Mistry’s character criticizes the organization. Aditya Thackeray, 20-year-old grandson of Shiv Sena’s founder, and leader of the party’s youth wing Yuva Sena, is at the centre of the book’s ban.

“Such a Long Journey” was publicly burned by students — and at the same time — its ban led professors to protest in opposition.

PEN Canada
and the Writers Union of Canada — both advocates for freedom of expression — are calling upon the university to lift its ban of the book.
Alan Cumyn, Chair of the Writers’ Union of Canada, said: “It is unacceptable for an institution of higher learning such as the University of Mumbai to practice censorship of this nature.” Cumyn continues “Freedom of expression must be a cornerstone of any democracy, especially the world’s largest.”

“Such a Long Journey aside”, do you know of any other Canadian authors who have been banned in countries far and wide? Or on the other hand, do you know of any titles unable to be found on public bookshelves in Canada?