UP Oppn wants Periyar’s Ramayan banned, but not a copy to buy in state

Even as the Opposition in Uttar Pradesh rallies against the Sachchi Ramayan, the Hindi translation of Periyar E. V. Ramaswamy's 1959 book The Ramayana: A True Reading, demanding a complete ban on its sale in the state, the fact remains that it is virtually impossible to buy a copy of the book in the state. But with the Opposition finally uniting over an issue, the BSP, for whom Periyar is a Dalit icon whose cut-outs are erected at every party function, has been forced to clarify that it has "nothing to do with this book".

Even the head office of the BJP, which first raised the issue during a two-day executive meet on October 27 and 28, does not have a single copy of the book. The party now and then burns some pages of what is claims are excerpts from the Sachchi Ramayan.

Contrary to the BJP's claims, the book is out of stock even at the Bahujan Chetna Mandap and other stalls selling BSP publicity material. "Right now we do not have even a single copy of the book," claimed Yaad Karan Yaad of Bahujan Chetna Mandap. However, Yaad has kept handy photocopies of a 1971 Supreme Court order quashing a Government for forfeiting copies of the original English book and its Hindi translation by Sri Ram Adhar of Dulalnagar and published by Lalai Singh Yadav of Ashok Pustakalaya in Kanpur district.

But, BJP state chief Ramapati Ram Tripathi claimed the "BSP must have removed the book from its stalls after the BJP raised the issue". He claimed 4,000 copies of the book was sold during the massive BSP rally on October 9.

But the book is not available in any of the book stall in Lucknow either. "We have never sold the book, nor do we have a copy now," claimed Chander Prakash of Universal Book Sellers, the biggest bookstore chain in the city.

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