Malapalli, a Telugu novel, by Unnava Lakshminarayana, published in 1922-1923 was banned twice during the British regime, the second ban being lifted in 1937. It was proscribed in March 1923 based on the note prepared by the official Telugu translator to the Government who had opined that this socio-political novel not only “denounces unsparingly the system of Criminal Settlements, Police, Jails, Courts etc.,’" but also “zealously preaches at some length the principles of Bolshevism, and the creed of Non-Cooperation in such a manner and in such language as would assuredly bring Government into hatred and contempt in the country” (Bangorey 84). The Advocate General whose opinion was sought too agreed that the book was seditious and pointed out some passages that were objectionable and against some sections of the Indian Penal Code. With the intervention of C. R. Reddy, a renowned Telugu scholar and the members of the Legislative Council, the ban was lifted after the author had agreed to revise some portions of the novel even as he maintained that “it is not wrong to preach communism or to encourage the union of labour against capital” (Bangorey 69) and refused to delete a poem. It was proscribed for the second time when the revised edition was published in 1935 on the ground that there were still some objectionable portions wherein “[c]apitalists and bureaucrats are made out to be tyrants and [there were] libelous statements about the Police, Magistracy, and Jail departments” (Bangorey 100). The ban was finally lifted on the basis of a report by Alladi Krishnaswamy, the then Advocate General, who said that “[t]the main objective of the writer, as I gather, is not so much to bring the existing system of administration to contempt as to depict the evils of the present economic and social structure and of the modern body politic. The reference to the ‘British Flag being pulled down’ etc. is incidental to the fury which overtakes the gang. On the whole, taking all parts of the book into consideration, I cannot safely advise the Government to take proceedings to proscribe the book” (Bangorey 111).
Thursday, December 17, 2015
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