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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 April, 2003, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
'Potter in Calcutta' banned
Russian book Tanya Grotter
Unofficial Harry Potter books are available round the world
Two unofficial Harry Potter books have been withdrawn from sale in India after demands from lawyers for author JK Rowling.

Rowling demanded the withdrawal of both books and an apology from the publishers for using the Harry Potter name.

One is an illegal Bengali translation of the first book, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone but the other is a brand new text, starring the boy wizard but set in Calcutta.

"Immediately after the Philosopher's Stone, Harry gets onto his Nimbus 2000 broom and zooms across to Calcutta at the invitation of young boy called Junto," leading Indian publisher Urvashi Butalia explained to the BBC World Service's The Ticket programme.

"Then they get into all kinds of scrapes, they meet all kinds of people, and the story is built on from there."

Phoenix delay

They come across a whole bunch of literary characters from earlier Bengali fiction.

Ms Betalia said the book's author had acted to fill in the long delay in the arrival of the fifth book in the series, The Order Of The Phoenix.

"I think that children and young people have been waiting in India for 21 June - the date's been changed so many times - that this creative publisher just decided to fill in the time while Rowling was taking so long."

It sold several thousand copies before it was stopped, with both books at several book fairs - including the large Calcutta book fair, the biggest literary event in Bengal.

Author 'sad'

Ms Betalia added that the author of the fake Potter book had been particularly upset at having his work removed from the shelves in India.

Scene from Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkahban
There's always the third film to look forward too...
"He's very affronted.

"He seems to be very sad because he thinks he was doing a rather nice job.

"He had several more lined up - lots of stories up his sleeve - so he's not really happy at all."

Ms Betalia added: "The way the stories have been lifted out of Bengali literature and incorporated into Harry's adventures makes it very real for Bengali children."

Unofficial versions of the books continue to be on sale around the world, however.

They are especially popular in China, and in Russia, where the hero has changed sex and is known as Tanya Grotter.




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