In the wake of protests by Sikh radical organisations, including the Dal Khalsa, against Sahitya Akademi award winner Baldev Singh Sadaknama’s historical novel ‘Suraj di Akh ‘(Eye of the Sun) on the life of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the book has been taken off the shelves in the state.
The Dal Khalsa recently demanded a ban on the novel and the arrest of its Moga-based author, saying the Sikh emperor has been portrayed in a poor light in the book.
HT’s efforts to purchase a copy of the novel proved futile as most of the booksellers across the state said that all copies of the book have been returned to its publisher.
‘Suraj Di Akh’, a 578-page novel was published by ‘Lok Geet’ early this year.
Sadaknama has written more than 60 books and got Sahitya Akademi award for ‘Dhavan Delhi De Kingre’ based on Dhulla Bhatti in 2011, but he returned the award in 2015 in protest against the murder of noted rationalist and writer MM Kalburgi and increasing incidents of tolerance.
Sadaknama also reportedly received threats from some organisations. A message on social media against him read: “If you see him roaming on the road, treat him with shoes”.
Well-known Punjabi poet Surjit Patar, who called for a public debate on the novel rather than a malicious attack on him, was also decried by the radicals.
When contacted, Sadaknama said the allegations are baseless and his novel is based on facts. “I have cited a lot of books and read a lot of literature before writing this novel,” he said.
The novelist also alleged that some people with fake ID’s are continuously using abusive language against him on social media.
READY FOR PUBLIC DEBATE, SAYS AUTHOR
However, Sadaknama does not seem interested in lodging a complaint with the cyber cell of the police. “I am ready for a debate on a public platform,” he said.
Harish Jain, publisher of the novel, said: “The novel is the result of Baldev Singh Sadaknama’s hard work and people should welcome such books.”
He regretted that very few Punjabi writers had come out in the support of the wtriter.
The Kendri Punjabi Lekhak Sabha recently issued a statement in favour of Sadaknama, but a majority of writers have maintained a silence on the issue.