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29 Aug, 2019 17:15

Indian judge brands War & Peace ‘objectionable,’ says he meant another book as mockery follows

Indian judge brands War & Peace ‘objectionable,’ says he meant another book as mockery follows

An Indian judge’s lack of literary appreciation has been roundly mocked online after he reportedly demanded a defendant explain why he had a copy of a book about a “war in another country,” in reference to ‘War and Peace’.

Activist Vernon Gonsalves was on trial in Bombay High Court for allegedly inciting violence back in December 2017, the PTI agency reports. Police presented the court with what they considered “highly incriminating evidence” seized from Gonsalves’ home, namely “books and CDs with objectionable titles.”

While the court agreed with the defense that mere possession of literature does not make one a terrorist, it demanded an explanation from the defendant about some of the works in question – chiefly, ‘War and Peace’.

As the court apparently referred to the Russian classic as “objectionable material,” a whole storm of online mockery followed, as the quotes promptly went viral. Netizens delighted in the opportunity to roll out their literary puns, with some coming up with witty explanations for keeping Tolstoy’s tome at home.

As the Twitter jokes flowed, Justice Sarang Kotwal responded on Thursday that he was “shocked” by the media reports and insisted that he actually knew that Tolstoy’s War and Peace was a classic book. The book he was referring to was apparently not that War and Peace but a completely different one – ‘War and Peace in Junglemahal’ by Biswajit Roy.

The judge also said that he was simply reading an evidence list, submitted by the police. Still, the lawyers of Gonsalves pointed out that actually none of the seized books is banned.

Following the clarification many rallied in support of the judge, demanding an apology from the media for peddling “fake news.”

Some, however, were still not convinced, pointing out that the judge’s excuses did not actually correspond with the originally reported quotes referring to a book on “war in another country,” given that Roy’s book by the same title concerns domestic Indian Maoist insurgency.

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