The day a cute picture book gets shelved can only lead to a dark, sleepless night.
Here’s a little brief to get you up to date:
Natasha Sharma is a Sikh and grew up in Amritsar. The idea behind this story came from childhood memories of seeing her father tie his turban every morning. She teamed up with Priya Kuriyan over a period of two years, where she would send videos of her father tying a turban in order to get the details right in the illustrations.
But, is this really the point?
I believe there's a larger concern at hand. According to Wikipedia, Freedom of Speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. Everyone involved in the making of this book has had their freedom of speech stripped away from them.
This episode has elicited fear within the Indian children's writing industry. I am worried about what this means for authors, illustrators, publishers and the kinds of books we will release going forward. When other countries are advocating more the need for diversity, we will be taking several steps backwards.
I wonder, isn’t a sentiment that forces the publisher to remove the book from their catalog only going to lead to more intolerance?
I stand with #bringbackthepug and hope you do to!