New Delhi: The Delhi University administration's revised syllabus will no longer contain "controversial" part concerning important social movements and events. Senior officials of the university on Monday confirmed that the new syllabus has been dropped after the members of Right-wing student and teacher organisations demanded the revision of syllabus in the Academic Council meeting on Wednesday.
The syllabus of four departments -- sociology, political science, history and English-- were sent back for review after protests from Professor Rasal Singh, a member of the academic council and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed National Democratic Teachers Front (NDTF). "No controversial material, which may hurt the sentiments of any organisation and community, will be included in the syllabi,"a university official told PTI as saying.
While the history department has dropped the chapters concerning the history of the Left movement in India, the political science department removed the writings of Professor Nandini Sundar with references to the agrarian crisis and Maoists but the most important changes were seen in the revised syllabus of the English department. The department has dropped a chapter named "Maniben alias Bibijaan" written by Shilpa Paralkar with references to the Gujarat riots in 2002.
Similarly, the mention of Muzaffarnagar riots were done away with in English Journalism. But the syllabus revision exercise and apparent actions has left teachers and academics worried who alleged that the teachers in the Academic Council were intimidated and silenced in connivance with Delhi University administration.
"This [episode] took place when the Academic Council meeting was taking place in the Council Hall on 16 July 2019. It is extremely shocking that the DU administration acted in full collusion with the protestors from a particular ideological students’ wing and endangered the security of the members of one of the apex statutory bodies of the University," said former DUTA President Nandita Narain in statement.
She added, "Such strong-arm tactics that were allowed to be used inside the House by the Vice-Chancellor and his team show a complete disregard for the autonomy of departments to decide their syllabi based on academic rationale. Despite the defense put up through academic arguments and reason by the Head of the Department of English and other members, a forced revision of the syllabi of English and History was thrust on them."
History of revision
Incidents of revision of syllabus in the Delhi University after intimidation from Right wing groups are not new. Last year, the DU recommended the deletion of two books from the syllabus of political science departments. The books were professor Nandini Sundar’s Subalterns and Sovereigns: An Anthropological History of Bastar, and professor Archana Prasad’s Against Ecological Romanticism: Verrier Elwin and the Making of an Anti-Modern Tribal Identity (2003). A similar criticism was meted out to "The Militias of Hindutva: Communal Violence, Terrorism and Cultural Policing" by Christophe Jaffrelot.
The pressure over deletion of books in syllabus was also visible when dalit activist Kancha Illiah's books- Why I am not a Hindu, God as Political Philosopher: Buddha's Challenge to Brahminism, and Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution- were recommended for withdrawal for being “vitriolic” towards Hindu faith.
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