I received an e-mail from some Sonal Gill, pointing out the controversy over the book “When Heaven Falls Down”. In an e-mail, she praised my fair and daring attitude towards today’s journalism. Here comes the responsibility to reach the truth. Author Satyapal Chandra’s house in Bihar is allegedly attacked by some troublemakers who even threatened to kill him for his recently released book “When Heaven Falls Down”. Some of the TV channels had covered the story but no one noticed the event. I called some of my sources to find out the truth behind the entire saga.
Chandra’s romantic novel ‘When Heaven Falls Down’ has enough ‘masala’ contents based on communal blaze, rape by religious leaders, love-jihad and various other issues which caused disagreement. Somewhere, the author is biased towards his own religion while attacking other religion. I personally don’t endorse or recommend such books, which hampers social fabric. Author has every liberty to express his views or opinions, but intentionally attacking others is nothing but creating controversy for publicity.
He has portrayed disrespectful representation of Maulvi. The content of this book is punitive and the language is full of hate against Muslims. The story revolves around a girl who was raped by four Maulvies tend to criticism, as this entire story is fictitious and holds no substance. The book is not thought provoking but ill intended. The entire book is lacking facts. The author has claimed that all incidents described in the book are based on real incidents. As a journalist, it not much difficult for me to locate or trace any such incidence described by author ever happened, even if it has happened I am sure law must have taken its own course. If the truth is hidden then author holds much bigger responsibility of exposing the people with actual names, facts and figures. More than the controversy, author and his pals are planning to make this issue bigger so that they can gain some publicity. I think, author has forgotten that there are many Hindu spiritual leaders accused of rape and molestation and many are still in jail. Picking up a character of a Maulvi just to put the community in a bad light, is not at all a step towards good writing. Author has just begun his journey. If you read his Wiki page then you will know that how he has tried to make his image larger than life, ignoring the flaws of writing English.
Anyway, if someone is aiming to create controversy then there has to be some noise about it. So, he was attacked by some unknown people as usual. The author’s father has filed a complaint in Imamganj Police Station and alleged that attackers have affixed posters all around the house against the author. Now the question here is, when the posters were getting pasted around his house where was author and his family? Why would someone stick posters to answer a low profile writer? Author thinks, a rape scene in book which depicts four Maulavis raping a girl has drawn sharp reaction from fundamentalists. However, no one knows who actually attacked his house or who pasted those posters, accusing anyone without reason is wrong. I am staunch Hindu by living and by birth, but I equally respect all the religions. Being a journalist, it’s my responsibility to do justice to the news/subject and incidences.
Naturally when someone criticises Islam, Muslims protest and indulge in violence. They threaten the peace and security. At times, their protests turn violent and they even damage public property. They hurl stones at the police which is being deployed to control the mob. In the same fashion, if M.F Hussein draws the nude pictures of Indian gods and goddesses, that was also communal act. But still many advocated that he must be allowed to paint those paintings, similarly if Salman Rushdie wants to write Satanic Verses, he must not be targeted by the religious zealots. There are people who invited violence by their communal expressions in the name of freedom of speech. What we have to notice is intent and standards of those pieces. Critics of Hindu religion and its spiritual leaders, too do the equal brutal attempt of creating chaos.
Criticism of Islam has existed since its foundational stages. Hindus and Zoroastrians made notable criticism as well. Nowadays, it’s become fashion to write on communal topics, some attack Hinduism and some writes on Muslims. An object of criticism contains the morality of the life of Muhammad, to the issues relating to the authenticity and morality of the Quran, which are time and again discussed by various writers, social media groups and communal think tanks.
In the recent days, Ghar wapsi, Love Jihad, madarsa terrorism, everything is criticized in the name of Muslim religion. It’s sad to see, even small time naïve writers baking their bread on communal writings. Such writing tends to create rift among different communities. It also promotes and preaches hatred. It encourages communities to indulge in violence against each other. It draws a picture as if communities are pitted against each other and always vying to establish domination over each other.
In a country like India, communal writing can lead to rioting, loss of lives and properties. India has seen many communal brushfires. In 1984 riots, many Sikhs were killed by the supporters of Congress party after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was murdered by her Sikh bodyguards. In the ensuing riots after the demolition of controversial Babri Mosque in 1992, thousands of Hindus and Muslims killed each other brutally. In 2002 Gujarat riots, many Muslims were killed. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are very sensitive for communal clashes. Communal writing is a wicked thing, but at times even debate around the social notions of right and wrong, religious myths, evil cultural practices and loose comments on prevalent moral codes of theists can lead to demonstrations and violence. I am not saying that writers should stop writing. My point is that writer should work on its progressive agenda to bring change and promote secularism in society, rather than creating discomfort and hate.
I have no sympathy with such writers who create plot for gaining publicity than publishing the sensitive script.