Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy' enrages Indian Sikhs with portrayal of 'mustachioed girl' in novel

      After causing much controversy among the inhabitants of Middle England, British novelist JK Rowling's first adult novel has now enraged Sikh leaders in India. Middle Englanders had earlier complained about being unfairly targeted in Rowling's 'The Casual Vacancy', which had tagged them as 'hypocrites'. Now, the novel is facing protests in India over its portrayal of a Sikh girl named 'Sukhvinder', who 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 Sikh places of worship including the Golden Temple in Amritsar , said 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", The Telegraph reports. "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 said that the leaders were investigating complaints about the "provocative" language of the novel and would demand a nationwide ban on the book if Rowling was deemed to have insulted the faith. "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," he added.

However, Rowling has said she included Sukhvinder's experiences as an example of "corrosive racism". She has also 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", the paper said.

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