J.K. Rowling’s novel upsets Sikhs

J.K. Rowling’s latest novel, The Casual Vacancy, arrived in bookstores last Friday and appears to be rubbing some people the wrong way. Rowling — now the 12th richest woman in the U.K. due to the success of her epic wizard Harry Potter book series — already offended many of the small Tutshill, Gloucestershire village residents where she was raised because she reportedly used the pretension and snootiness she experienced there as source material for the fictional town of Pragford in her new book.

Now it appears Rowling’s description of Sikh character Sukhvinder as “moustachioed yet large-mammaried” has landed her in hot water with those of the Sikh faith as well. Sukhvinder is called “the Great Hermaphrodite” and “hairy man-woman” by a bully in the book. A spokesperson for India’s Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee calls the terms offensive and claims that “if deemed derogatory to the Sikh faith, we will demand a ban on it. We will make sure it doesn’t sell in India.”

This criticism comes as a surprising blow to Rowling’s image as an author whose past writings strive to empower people of all different cultures and appearances. A spokesperson for Rowling’s publisher, Hachette, stated, “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.” ~ Brandon Bastaldo

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Comments & Discussion

  1. Rick • October 5, 2012 @ 9:52 AM

    Didn’t read the article, not because of lack of interest but because there are flashing gifs beside it.

    So royally annoying to have things flashing at you beside what you are trying to read.

  2. Cait • October 5, 2012 @ 1:31 PM

    It is a book of fiction . . . . .FICTION people. If we banned every book that had a character in it who spoke about a faith/ and or culture in a negative way well we wouldnt have any books! George Orwell’s 1984 comes to mind . . . .

  3. Edwin.Therrel • October 6, 2012 @ 4:52 AM

    Frankly, I have waited a long time to read about Sikhs in a Caucasian setting. They are a great people, warm and loving. I own a bookshop in a college and i cant wait to read this book and provide it as a must-read to others. Rowling’s work has so far been appreciated by the old and young. I believe Sikhs are one of the most vital non-white community we have both in Britain and North America. They deserve recognition in return for adopting the west as their new homes.

    From a continent apart,

    Edwin J. Therrel

  4. Jaspreet • October 6, 2012 @ 9:34 AM

    I’m a Sikh. I’ve almost read the whole book and have not been offended by even one thing. That is what I heard from every other Sikh. The old man in India now, obviously someone from an Indian agency came up to him and said all this stuff to get him riled up.Sikhs are a hated group in India, hundreds of thousands murdered, made fun of in in the movies, their killers made into heroes by Bollywood, etc. India has an interest in portraying Sikhs as intolerant types. Too bad dumb ass Makkar played right into the hands of his anti-Sikh masters.

  5. Jaspreet • October 6, 2012 @ 9:40 AM

    Cherly, it is because of people like you that some even bother with such a thing called propaganda. People who are idiots like you just making up lies. You are as dumb as the Sikh idiot condemning the book without even reading it (a dumb conceited prick is what I think he is and yeah I am Sikh).

  6. gbh999 • October 9, 2012 @ 6:59 AM

    People … Can we just get over who is being insulted, for whatever reason, and by which author? Please, it is time to get with the program. Like John Lennon tried to tell us 30 years ago. All we really need is LOVE. Everything else, will then pale, by comparison.

  7. arafat yusufzai • September 12, 2014 @ 9:47 AM

    sikhs get offended very easly.. they are so intolrent and cant integrate with people of country they live.. I remember a incident when a some saint whome sikh thought resembeled like there guru when dressed in some event like him.. and that was it to offend them and it triggered outrage among them.. very next moment we se thousands of sikh mobs come out on street for protesting displaying dagger and sword rampaging public and private property

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