'Indecent': Bajrang Dal Burns Copy of 'Kama Sutra' in Ahmedabad

Workers of the organisation are heard saying "Jai Shri Ram" and "Har Har Mahadev" in videos showing the burning incident in Ahmedabad.

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New Delhi: Members of the Hindutva group Bajrang Dal burned a copy of the ancient Sanskrit text Kama Sutra, outside the bookstore it was being sold at in Ahmedabad, alleging that pictures inside depicted Hindu deities indecently.

Videos of the incident were shared multiple times on social media. In it, workers of the organisation are heard saying “Jai Shri Ram” and “Har Har Mahadev.”

The book was written by the Vedic philosopher Vatsyayana in the third or fourth century CE. It is a unique text, not least because of its exploration of love, sex and fulfilment, but also because as scholar Wendy Doniger put it in her book, “In contrast with almost all other shastras of this period (including the Arthashastra), the Kamasutra largely ignores caste and class.”

In the video, a Bajrang Dal functionary is seen saying that they are at the Latitude bookstore. Indian Express has reported that the outlet is located near the Sarkhej-Gandhinagar highway in the city and that the incident took place on the night of Saturday, August 28.

The head of the North Gujarat wing of the Bajrang Dal told the newspaper that the outfit had “received a complaint” on Krishna having been depicted in an “objectionable manner” in the book.

“This is also a warning to bookstore owners in Ahmedabad that if they keep objectionable material that hurt Hindu sentiments, next time we will set fire to their shops,” Jwalit Mehta also said.

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While reports say that a dozen Bajrang Dal workers entered the bookstore and participated in the book burning activity, it has not been reported if they used force.

Some on social media have pointed out the irony of a Hindutva organisation destroying an old Sanskrit text.

In 2017, members of the Bajrang Sena had complained to Chhatarpur police against the sale of Kama Sutra books at the Khajuraho Temples’ premises.

Manash Firaq Bhattacharjee had written for The Wire then, that the claim had been strange considering that there is cultural correspondence between the Kama Sutra and the Khajuraho sculptures, “where dharma, kama and earthly moksha (bliss) intricately intersect.”