Indian Academics Object to Treatment of American Historian

A group of Indian historians is objecting to the treatment of the American scholar Peter Heehs, who is under growing pressure from Hindu conservatives to leave the country, reports the Hindustan Times. Mr. Heehs has written extensively on modern Indian history and religion, but some Hindu fundamentalists have objected to his book about Sri Aurobindo, a freedom fighter and spiritual leader who died in 1950. They say the book, which was published by Columbia University Press in 2008, misrepresents the historical figure’s relationship with a female collaborator.

Court filings have prevented the book’s distribution in India, and now reportedly Mr. Heehs may have his visa revoked. Indian academics sent a letter last month to the prime minister and home minister to raise concerns about the situation. A similar controversy erupted last year, when the The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan was criticized for offending Hindu sensibilities.

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