Jitender Bhargava, author of ‘The Descent of Air India’ has been in for a rude shock. His publisher Bloomsbury Publishing India has withdrawn the book from the market and destroyed all available stock with them. Following a case filed by former Civil Aviation minister, Praful Patel who is now leader of Nationalist Congress Party and a union minister, that the contents of the book are defamatory, Bloomsbury decided to not only withdraw the book but also issue a newspaper apology to the Minister for the embarrassment caused.
Surprisingly, this was done without discussing with the author. Bhargava has chosen to go digital and release an e-book of the controversial book, and to communicate this, he has chosen Facebook. In a Facebook post dated Jan 15, 2014, Bhargava informs about the unfolding of events right from the formal release of the book on Oct 11, 2013.
As per the Facebook post, Praful Patel had been making several attempts to curb the distribution of ‘’The Descent of Air India’’ before filing a case in the court of the metropolitan magistrate, Mumbai. Though Bhargava told the judge that his statements on Praful were true, and offered to back it up by documented evidence, Bloomsbury chose not to pursue the case, but offer an apology to the Minister instead.
Further, Bhargava stated about his plans to reprint the book either on his own or through a new publisher, while simultaneous initiatives were being taken to bring it out as an ebook. Looking forward to understanding and support from his fans, he concluded, “I will be back soon because neither can I be bulldozed into submission nor can facts be allowed to be suppressed. In today’s environment, corrupt practices of all people, howsoever powerful, must be exposed.”
Indeed, corrupt practices of the high & mighty must be revealed! And releasing an ebook and communicating directly through social media is the way to go. This is one more case of a minister in power trying to muzzle a book that exposes him, but thanks to social media, his corrupt actions have already been exposed, thereby adding publicity to the book. Bhargava is already getting offers of help on the e-book, through his Twitter account.
Image credit: Jitender Bhargava Facebook