JK Rowling, the British author of the popular Harry Potter series of children's books, has been attacked for her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, by angry Indian Sikhs.
The Casual Vacancy is facing protests in India over its portrayal of a Sikh girl as “mustachioed yet large-mammaried”.Ever heard of Jesus Christ, JK? Did you think that Islam is the only religion?
Sikh leaders said they were investigating complaints about the “provocative” language and would demand a nationwide ban on the book if Rowling was deemed to have insulted the faith.
...The Sikh character in The Casual Vacancy is Sukhvinder, the daughter of a surgeon and his parish councillor wife. She is teased for her hairy skin and referred to as “the Great Hermaphrodite” and a “hairy man-woman”.
India’s Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, which manages places of worship including the Golden Temple in Amritsar, said yesterday that it had received several complaints. Avtar Singh Makkar, the head of the committee, said the descriptions of Sukhvinder were “a slur on the Sikh community”. He said: “Even if the author had chosen to describe the female Sikh character’s physical traits, there was no need for her to use provocative language, questioning her gender. This is condemnable.”
A spokesman for the group added that its leaders would read the book carefully. “If deemed derogatory to the Sikh faith, we will demand a ban on it. We will make sure it doesn’t sell in India,” he said.
“Reputed authors like JK Rowling need to show respect to all faiths and communities as they are read by millions of people. Sikh believers, including women, are refrained from shaving and trimming their hair. This is a part of our faith and anyone making offensive remarks about it is directly hurting the sentiments of Sikh community.”
The spokesman also claimed that “media bias” against the Sikh faith was partly to blame for incidents such as the shooting of six worshippers at a temple in the US state of Wisconsin in August. An American Sikh student suffered abuse online last month after pictures of her with a beard and sideburns were posted on a social networking website.
Rowling has said she included Sukhvinder’s experiences as an example of “corrosive racism”. She has spoken of her admiration for the Sikh faith and said she was fascinated by a religion in which men and women are “explicitly described as equal in the holy book”.
A spokesman for Hachette, Rowling’s publisher, said the remarks were made by a character bullying Sukhvinder. “It is quite clear in the text of the book that negative thoughts, actions and remarks made by a character, Fats, who is bullying Sukhvinder, are his alone. When described in the narrative voice, the depiction of Sukhvinder is quite different to this,” the spokesman said.