Banned, most famous & controvertial books in India
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25 Most controversial & famous Banned books in India List

We have a history of banning controversial & famous books by the government since British India. Books with the inflammatory viewpoint about a particular society/religion/race usually become the victim of such cases of the book-ban. Books that pose a threat to the contemporary government could easily invite them to ban them. These types of books may be a result of honest research in order to uncover the truth or such books may ride on baseless lies and be written to malign them. We have thoroughly researched the topic, in order to identify the list of the most controversial & famous banned books in India.

You may also read 10 Must-Read Inspiring Indian Biographies & Autobiographies.

We are enlisting the major controversial and famous banned books in India and all of these mentioned books are noteworthy.


Link of the source is being provided for every book mentioned below. And most of these books are not available at -commerce portals like Amazon India & Flipkart as still banned in India and due to this Amazon Global (US) link is also being provided for ready reference. So, enjoy reading & exploring these rarely available books!

Controversial & Famous Banned books in India

#1. The Hindus – Wendy Doniger

This book by Wendy Doniger is one of the leading famous banned books in India.

the hindus wendy dongier - the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned:  The content is offensive to Hindus. Book argues that there is no monolithic “Hinduism” – no “Sanatana Dharma” at all. Due to this reason, It is claimed that the book is misleading and at times gives false information. It also contains several unjustified judgments from someone with a distant perspective and incomplete understanding of Hindu culture.

Available at :

Amazon.in

Amazon.com

#2 & 3. ‘Some Blunders in Indian Historical Research’  and  The Taj Mahal Is A Temple Palace – P. N. Oak

pn oak - blunders of indian history - the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: Oak’s book “Some Blunders in Indian Historical Research” was banned from the Parliament’s library by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha (Lower House) as noted in news archives. There are also other claims of government suppression, e.g. “Allegedly, Indira Gandhi’s government tried to ban (The Taj Mahal is a Temple Place) and some would say the Indian government had been politically motivated in suppressing this theory” (Source – Wikipedia).

Available at :

Amazon.in (English)

Amazon.in (Hindi)

Amazon.com

pn oak taj mahal -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India

Available at:

Amazon.in

#4 & 5. ‘The Satanic Verses’ and ‘Midnight’s Children’ – Salman Rushdie 

satanic verses--  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon.com

Why banned: One of the most controversial books ‘The Satanic Verses was banned in India because Muslims protested that it was blasphemous and hurt their religious sentiments. Book – ‘The Satanic Verses is one of the most controversial books in India as it tried to mix magical realism with a description of the origins and various facets of Islam.

Available at: Amazon.com

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: For this 1981 novel, Salman Rushdie had received 1981’s Bookers Prize and 1993’s ‘Booker of Bookers’ on the 25th anniversary of the book and Best all-time winners in 2008 on 40th anniversary. This book received many other major accolades of English literature. 

The book was banned in India by then Congress govt. as it contains scathing criticisms of Indira Gandhi’s over-reach during the Emergency as well as a personal lust for power.

However, Rushdie didn’t name Indira in his book. 

Available at :

Amazon.in

Amazon.com

#6. ‘The Price of Power’ – Seymour Hersh

The Price of Power by Seymour M. Hersh -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: Banned for alleging the former Prime Minister of India – Morarji Desai to be a CIA informer by Pulitzer Prize-winner Seymour Hersh in his book. As a result, this book was temporarily banned in India.

Available at :

Amazon.in

Amazon.com

#7. ‘Unarmed Victory‘ – Bertrand Russell

Unarmed Victory -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: This book was banned from being imported into India. It was banned by Jawahar Lal Nehru, then PM because this book reveals the communication between Russel and Indian and Chinese state of heads & senior officials. The book provides insight into the discussion Russel had with Nehru and also makes a decisive judgment of the acts of conflict and the war between China and India. Book also states that India provided a steady impediment in the way of compromise which seriously inflated the crisis and the risk to mankind.  Bertrand Russel was awarded the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1950 in recognition of his extensive contributions to world literature.

The book covers the Sino-Indian conflict in the second part.

 Available at:

Amazon.in – Not available as of 19/09/2019

Amazon.com

#8. ‘Eminent Historian’ – Arun Shourie

eminent historians by Arun shourie -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: Unofficially banned on platforms like Flipkart/Amazon during UPA-II tenure, this book is a masterpiece on how Indian history was distorted through bodies like ICHR. Now it is available on all platforms.

In my opinion, it’s a must-read book for every Indian.

Available at  :

Amazon.in 

Amazon.com

#9.  Understanding Islam through Hadis – RamSwarup

understanding islam through Hadis by Ram Swarup
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: Published in 1982, this one of the most controversial books in India, was banned for its critique of Islam. The book was banned by Delhi Government in 1984 and its publisher was arrested by police.

Available at: Amazon.com

#10 & 11. ‘Lajja’ and ‘Dwikhandita’ – Taslima Nasrin

lajja by Taslima Nasrin -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Flipkart

Why banned: ‘Lajja’ contained the struggle of a patriotic Bangladeshi Hindu family in a Muslim environment, and was banned by Bangladesh and West Bengal citing reasons that it is offensive to Muslims and insults Islam. As per Taslima Nasreen -“‘Lajja’ can be seen as a symbol of protest. It is a protest against the violence, hatred, and killings that are going on all over the world in the name of religion,”.

‘Lajja’ highlights how Bangladesh failed miserably in protecting minority Hindus after the Babri Masjid demolition in India in 1992.

Available at :

Flipkart

Amazon.com

Dwikhandita by Taslima Nasrin -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: West Bengal Government had banned Dwikhandita, the autobiographical book by Taslima Nasreen, for saying it contained matter which could incite “enmity between different groups on grounds of religion”.

Available at :

Amazon.in – Not Available as of 19/09/2019

Amazon.com

#12. Rangila Rasul – Unknown Author

rangila rasul -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India

Why banned: Published during a period of confrontation between Arya Samaj and Muslims in Punjab during the 1920s. The controversial book concerned the marriages and sex life of Prophet Mohammed. Originally written in Urdu, it has been translated into Hindi. It remains banned in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. (Information source – Goodreads.com ) 

You may access or download the book from here, which is available on the internet, but not available on any e-commerce platform.

#13. Polyester Prince – Hamish McDonald

Polyester prince by Hamish McDonald -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India

Why banned: It got banned as the Ambani family was not shown in a favorable manner and also probably because Hamish McDonald has taken names of P. Chidambaram and other politicians by their name and shown how Dhirubhai tactfully tackled the bureaucrats, bribed the government officials.

Available at:

Amazon.com

#14. Five Past Midnight in Bhopal – Dominique Lapierre and Javier Moro

5 past midnight in bhopal by Dominique Lapierre -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: Book was banned because of a defamation suit filed by the then Commissioner of Police of Bhopal. The later ban was lifted by Madhya Pradesh High Court.

This book provides insight on how poor supervision and penny-pinching tactics by American Company Union Carbide eventually led to the world’s worst industrial disaster: on December 3, 1984, the plant sprung a leak during routine maintenance procedures. It is estimated that between 16,000 and 30,000 people were killed and left 500,000 permanently injured.

Available at:

Amazon.in

Flipkart

Amazon.com

#15. The Great Soul – Joseph Lelyveld

great soul by Joseph Lelyveld -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: Book was banned by Gujrat Govt. in 2011, as the book suggests that Mahatma Gandhi was homo-sexual, though this book is the result of the great research/study by Joseph Lelyveld.

Available at :

Flipkart

Amazon.com

#16. ‘Himalayan Blunder’ – Brigadier JP Dalvi

Himalayan Blunder by Brig J. P. Dalvi -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Flipkart

Why banned: The book was banned by the Indian Government immediately after its release because the term “Himalayan blunder” came to be used as a synonym for colossal failure in the context of Indian politics.

In this brilliant read – Dalvi narrates the manner in which India’s own political leadership traitorously worked against its cause. In no uncertain terms, he holds three men responsible for India’s defeat – Jawaharlal Nehru, Krishna Menon, and General Brij Mohan Kaul.

Brigadier Dalvi has given the first-person account of the war, who served the Indian Army. As per Dalvi, the sheer ineptitude of political leaders resulted in the sacrifice of hundreds of valuable lives. In this book Brig. Dalvi narrated how Indians were massacred in the 1962 Indo-china war.

It’s a must-read. 

Available at :

Flipkart – Not available as of 19/09/2019

Amazon.com

#17 . ‘What Congress and Gandhi have done to Untouchables’ – Bhimrao Ambedkar

ambedkar - what congress and gandhi done -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India

Why banned: ‘What Congress and Gandhi have done to Untouchables’ – published in 1945, was banned by the Congress Govt soon after independence from British rule, and subsequent generations of Indians have been denied of the facts and events which took place between 1920 and 1940

Available at:

Amazon.in

#18. Korkai : Joe D’Cruz (Tamil)

korkai by Joe D'cruz -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Flipkart

Why banned: Korkai, published in 2009 was challenged for the ban in 2015. As per the complaint filed in court, this book portrays Christianity, priests, and nuns in a bad light.

Joe D’Cruz supported Narendra Modi for his Prime Ministerial candidature in the 2014 Loksabha election, and due to this, he is alienated among the Tamil intelligentsia. His political position has isolated him. It is to be noted that Joe D’Cruz had received the Sahitya Academy Award for Korkai.

Available at :

Flipkart – Not available as of 19/09/2019

Amazon.com

#19. An Area of Darkness – VS Naipaul

an area of darkness - naipaul -  the most famous & controversial banned books in India
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: The book was immediately banned after its launch in India for its “negative portrayal of India and its people.

It is to be noted that V. S. Naipaul is a supporter of Indian culture & a critic of the Islamic invasion of India and due to this reason, Indian journalists/reviewers always oppose Naipaul.

Available at :

HIndi version

Amazon.in

Amazon.com

#20. Descent of Air India – Jitender Bhargava

the discent of air india

Why banned: Former UPA-II Aviation minister Praful Patel filed a defamation suit in a Mumbai court against this book, which is an account of how India’s national carrier was brought to its knees. The publisher agreed to withdraw all copies of the book and even issued a public apology.

Available at :

Amazon.in

#21. Reminiscences of the Nehru Age – M.O. Mathai 

Reminiscences of the Nehru Age By M.O. Mathai 
Image Courtesy: Amazon

Why banned: One of the most explosive and authentic books on Nehru/Gandhi Family and on post-independence Indian history. M.O. Mathai knew much about Nehru, Indira, and many other politicians, which he stated in the book, and due to this reason book was immediately banned.

As the grapevine says many things about Indira’s secret love life, something related to that was written in this book. It is said that the article was originally supposed to be a part of Mathai’s book, ‘Reminiscences of the Nehru Age’ but for obvious reasons, at the last moment, it was left out of the book and never published.

Very sensitive & extremely interesting topic ‘She’ of this book, which narrates the secret love/sex relationship between Mathai & Indira. The transcript of the “she” chapter is available on the internet, just google it. 

This book is available as a free download here.

Here is the PDF download of the book. 1 & 2 .

Available at :

Amazon.in

Amazon.com – Not available as of 19/09/2019

#22. Islam – R.V. Bhasin

Islam - A Concept of Political World Invasion
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned :

This book was banned in Maharashtra during the tenure of then Chief Minister, Maharashtra – Vilasrao Deshmukh on grounds that it promotes communal disharmony between Hindus and Muslims.

Presently book is not available on any online platform but by searching the title of the book, one can easily find the same on the internet as a pdf or HTML.

Available at :

( As of now, not available on any portal ).

#23. ‘Nine Hours to Rama’ – Stanley Wolpert 

Nine-Hours-Rama-Stanley
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned :

Because it exposed the poor security provided to Gandhi and hinted at possible incompetence and conspiracy. 

This book is a fictional account of the last day of Mahatma Gandhi’s life and highlights how Nathuram Godse planned Mahatma  Gandhi’s assassination.

Available at :

Amazon.com

#24. ‘Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence’ – Jaswant Singh

Jinnah India Partition
Image courtesy: Amazon

Why banned : 

The book was banned in Gujrat as it allegedly defame the image of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel.

Jaswant Singh had praised Jinnah and charged the Jawaharlal Nehru & Vallabhbhai Patel with being responsible for the partition of India.

Available at :

Amazon.com

#25. Nathuram Godse statement

In 1968, a ban on Nathuram Godse’s statement was revoked by Mumbai High Court. There are books that provide the transcript of Nathuram Godse’s statement. It is indeed a Speech to Court.

Please let us know, if we have missed out on any other important book in our list of most controversial & famous banned books in India, we also appreciate your input on a given list of books.

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10 Must-Read Inspiring Indian Biographies & Autobiographies.

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