Arundhati Roy (*1960 in India)
Is her latest novel 'The God of Small Things' going to be censored ?
There has always been censorship in literature, but is it even practised today in democracies ?
J.D. Salinger, A. Miller or Mark Twain, they all had once suffered from their works being removed
from the library shelves.
Even today authors are affected. The latest example is taking place in India where Arundhati Roy
is even facing court trial. In her latest novel she describes passages of lovemaking between a
Christian businesswoman and an outcast Hindu handyman. Such a liaison is taboo in India where
the morality code emphasises the strictures against mixing below your caste. The lovemaking
scenes are the stumbling block for the Indian authorities.
The caste system:
||servants and labourers
||the worst work,
refused by others
A man is born into a jati (a division of a caste) and this is the only way of acquiring
membership. The hindu doctrine of karma teaches the young Hindu that he is born into
a particular subcaste because that is where he deserves to be born. His life is governed by principles
of pollution which rigidly enforce the separation of castes. If a Brahmin, for example, ate food cooked by
an untouchable, the resulting pollution would be thought to be so great that he would be thrown out of this caste.
Each caste is traditionally associated with a particular occupation.
Caste membership is linked to status: not only houses, but clothes, customs and manners become symbols of status for
those who share a common culture.
Adapted from J Nobbs, Sociology in Context (Macmillan Education, 1983)