Right from time immemorial written word has been often censored. In the modern age books have often courted controversy and even been subjected to bans for excessive use of expletive language, sexual content,racism, extreme religious or political views and violence.Following is our pick of six such works of prose that were mired in controversy for a long period and got banned.
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War was a novel released in 1974 targeted at young adults and teenagers. However, the book was banned when several parents complained that the book had violence and more than two hundred words that were unsuitable for the youth. That the book featured a graphic description of a masturbation scene, did not help Cormier’s cause either.
The Repudiation by Rashid Boudjedra
The main focus of the book was on a patriarchal state, sexual orientation, rights and plight of women. The book written in Arabic talked about the life of people from home to nation state. It was however, banned by the Algerian government for explicit sexual description and soon a fatwa was issued on the author for his controversial subject matter.
Jinnah: India Partition Independence by Jaswant Singh
This book is banned in India because it portrayed Jinnah in a different perspective irrespective. It looked beyond Jinnah’s nation breaking tactics and simultaneously criticized the policies ofJawahar Lal Nehru and Sardar Patel that were formulated leading up to Indian independence.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Several readers valued Lolita as a satisfying thriller but there were others who were disappointed to read this satire on the American values prevalent in the twentieth century. Appearing to be a direct attack on the Christian moral values, the book was banned in the United Kingdom.
The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
This book by William has some extremely dangerous content that went as far as explaining methods to create a bomb and other illegal substances. William wrote this book when the Vietnam War was at its peak and he himself was a youth. The book was banned due to its terroristic themes and anti-government material.
The Man Died by Wole Soyinka
Wole Soyinka is an African Nobel Prize winner who was arrested by the federal authorities and convicted without a trial during the Nigerian Civil War. In this book, Woledescribes his arrest, interrogation and how the authorities forcibly tried to bring out charges against him. He also disclosed his mental agony because of the solitary confinement. However, the Nigerian government banned the book for libel.
Many books have been banned after courting several controversies related to religion, violence, sex, political issues etc. Moreover, some books were burnt, some were stuck in the court cases and for some even fatwas were issued in the name of the author. Literature and controversy go hand in hand it seems.