New Delhi: Jan Myrdal, son of the celebrated Nobel laureate couple--Gunnar and Alva Myrdal--faces a ban on visiting India because the government believes he is a Maoist supporter.
The government of India is contemplating a ban on the future visits of 85-year-old Jan Myrdal, whose parents were close friends of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, for his alleged backing of pro-Maoist ideology.
The Home Ministry has found that the Sweden-based author had attended pro-Naxal conventions in Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ludhiana and Delhi early this year and allegedly expressed support to the CPI(Maoist) ideology of armed struggle against the state.
"Jan Myrdal during his stay in India advised CPI (Maoist) to garner support from the middle-class in India by focusing on propaganda against security forces and highlighting human rights issues," Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.
Top Home Ministry officials told a news agency that they cannot remain a silent spectator to anyone roaming freely and supporting the Maoists, who want to overthrow Indian democratic system and the government through armed rebellion.
"We are planning to put a complete ban on his future visits to India," a top official said.
Asked to specify the proposed action against the writer, Home Ministry spokesperson Ira Joshi refused to say anything. "We do not comment on such security issues," she said.
Myrdal has authored several books that include `Report from a Chinese village`, `China: The Revolution Continued`, `Confessions of a Disloyal European` and `India Waits`, a book in which he mentioned that India awaits a Marxian-inspired peoples` movement, emanating from rural India, parallel to the Chinese Communist revolution.
Two years ago, Myrdal travelled in the Naxal hot-bed Bastar and personally interacted with the tribal people and the leadership of CPI (Maoist), including Mupalla Laxman Rao alias Ganapathy.
Myrdal` parents -- father Gunnar and mother Alva were nobel laureates. His father was Minister for Trade and mother was Minister for Disarmament and of Church in Sweden. Alva was Swedish Ambassador to India between 1955-61. In 1981, the Indian government had awarded the couple jointly the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding.
As Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi very often used to quote the books written by Gunnar Myrdal, specially his famous observations on corruption in India.
Asked about the relations between the Myrdal family and the Nehru-Gandhi family, Jan Myrdal said the "relations are well known" and both his father and mother were close to Jawaharlal Nehru. "I, of course, met and talked to him," Jan said.
"As to Indira who was a friend of my mother, we had some contact. After I published "India Waits" she asked the Indian Ambassador to Sweden to invite me back to India to discuss with her. Unfortunately she was killed before I could accept her invitation," he said.
When contacted by email, Skinnskatteberg (Sweden) based Myrdal said he was not as stupid to give political "advice" to Indian friends and asked authorities to "back-track" this "very stupid and anti-Indian" move.
Myrdal said he had travelled to India in January/February, 2012 on a one month conference visa to launch his book "Red Star Over India. Impressions, Reflexions and Discussions when the Wretched of the Earth are Rising".
"According to the agreement with the authorities, when I arrived they were continuously informed about where I stayed and where I made public speeches," he told a news agency.
Myrdal said the book itself - which he had sent to the Home Minister personally - has now reached its second English language edition in India and is being published in Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. In Europe it has been translated to German, Italian, Norwegian and Swedish. Internationally it is available as an e-book and on the net.
"I discussed in India with many different organisations. Everything I said in India is either printed or available on the net. I have of course not done anything as stupid as giving political "advice" to Indian friends..."I expect that more intelligent officials - more interested in India and the world - will act and speedily back-track on this very stupid and anti-Indian decision," he said.