Delhi University’s English department has decided to drop a story based on the Gujarat riots and remove mention of the Muzaffarnagar riots from its undergraduate course so as to “not hurt anyone’s sentiments”, the head of the department said Wednesday.
The decision comes a day after the university’s Academic Council (AC) sent back syllabi to the English and History departments to take a final call, after a section of teachers raised objections. Political Science and Sociology, the two other subjects against which objections were raised, were reportedly passed with “minor modifications”.
“We don’t want to hurt sentiments… so we are removing a story called ‘Maniben alias Bibijaan’, and from the English journalism course we are removing mention of Muzaffarnagar riots. Besides this, we are revising a few other things,” Head of English Department Raj Kumar told The Indian Express.
Asked why the material was being dropped despite the department being the final authority on the matter, he said, “Academic issues are being made political, we don’t want to unnecessarily bring any controversy and prolong this.”
The National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF) had argued that the story ‘Maniben alias Bibijan’, based on the Gujarat riots, has shown characters from the Bajrang Dal and RSS in “bad light” and as “murderers”. NDTF member Rasal Singh had also objected to papers such as ‘Literature and Caste’ and ‘Interrogating Queerness’, in which he objected to portrayal of Hindu gods as belonging to LGBT community.
Kumar said both papers were being made optional, and that the latter was being “revised”.
History department HoD Sunil Kumar also said the department may “consider changes”. Sociology HoD Roma Chatterji and Political Science HoD Veena Kukreja did not respond to calls and texts by The Indian Express.