Updated: September 4, 2021 3:10:49 pm
The National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), a right-wing teachers’ group backed by the BJP, has said they “fully support” the changes made to the English syllabus of the fifth semester BA honours course of Delhi University, and has demanded that the DU administration “scan” all other syllabi of the English department so as to remove similar “demeaning” references.
DU’s Oversight Committee (OC) had removed the works of two Dalit authors, – Bama and Sukhirtharani, as well as renowned author Mahasweta Devi’s short story from the English syllabus, inviting the ire of 108 permanent English teachers and 15 Academic Council members.
“It is an unfortunate fact that a section of teachers in the English Department exploited academic autonomy and freedom in an attempt to denigrate and demonise Hinduism and our ancient civilisation, to perpetuate animosity between social castes, to encourage militant Maoism & Naxalism amongst tribals, etc. Many stakeholders raised valid objections, that is why the pro-Left lobby of DU is making political noises and there is little academic merit in their arguments,” NDTF president A K Bhagi and secretary V S Negi said in a statement.
“’Draupadi’, a story written in Bengali by Mahashweta Devi and translated into English by Gayatri Spivak, had been taught in DU for many years. The very title of the story which revolves around humiliation of a tribal woman, is an insidious attempt to demean Hinduism. The contents of the story is replete with description of gory details of her private body parts, sexual innuendos, vulgar descriptions of sexual attacks on her, etc.,” they said.
They said “Leftists” had spread “false propaganda that many Dalit writers have been removed”, and there was “a false presumption that HoDs of DU work under pressure of administration”.
In a joint statement Friday, the 108 teachers had said HoD Raj Kumar had been “coerced” into giving his approval to the changes, as the syllabus for Semester V was not being notified by the administration even 44 days into the semester. Kumar had confirmed the same to The Indian Express.
“In the name of autonomy and freedom, university syllabuses should not be allowed to be dictated by a particular political leftist ideology… University academic programs cannot be allowed to foster animosity between different social sections of society and religion,” the NDTF said.
“The aim of Leftists had always been to inject society with the cancer of social and religious conflicts. As patriots and nationalists, NDTF is committed to resist their toxic cancerous approach and demand from University Administration to scan all syllabuses made by the English Department,” they said.
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