Booker Prize Winner Geetanjali Shree Forced to Cancel Agra Event After Complaint of Hurting Religious Sentiments

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Clarion India

NEW DELHI – Author Geetanjali Shree, who won International Booker Prize this year, has been forced to cancel her event scheduled to be held in Agra, UP on Saturday following a police complaint against her novel Ret Samadhi.

Ret Samadhi is Shree’s award-winning novel which was translated into English by Daisy Rockwell as Tomb of Sand.

The complaint was lodged by a Hathras resident named Sandeep Kumar Pathak who alleges that the book written by Shree hurts the sentiments of Hindu Gods.

In a tweet tagging the chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Uttar Pradesh police, Pathak asked the authorities to take action against the book and its author.

Reacting to Pathak’s request, the state police said that they will read the book first to see if his complaint is valid or not.

According to an article by Scroll. in, Rangleela and Agra Theatre Club, the event organisers who decided to facilitate the author said that Shree was very disturbed by the current happenings and requested them to cancel the event.

“My novel is forcefully being dragged into a political controversy,” the author told the organisers. “The references made in the novel are an integral part of Indian mythology. Those who have objections to these descriptions should challenge the Hindu mythological texts in the court,” Shree said.

A spokesperson of Rangleela, Rambharat Upadhyay, said that the chief minister could have stopped all this if he wanted to.

“Uttar Pradesh is her birthplace,” Upadhyay said. “The government…the chief minister should have felicitated her. Instead, we are having to cancel this event. It’s a matter of shame,” he added.

Tomb of Sand’, originally Ret Samadhi’, is set in northern India and follows an 80-year-old woman’s journey back to her roots in Pakistan. It was described by the Booker judges as a “joyous cacophony” and an “irresistible novel”.

Originally published in Hindi in 2018, Tomb of Sand is the first of her books to be published in the UK in English by Tilted Axis Press in August 2021.

The 64-year-old New Delhi-based writer had never imagined winning the prestigious award. “I never dreamt of the Booker, I never thought I could. What a huge recognition, I’m amazed, delighted, honoured, and humbled, Shree said in her acceptance speech”.

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