The dropping of A K Ramanujans Three Hundred Ramayanas from Delhi Universitys BA (History) syllabus shows lack of political will on the part of the present administration and indicated its failure to understand how big a victory the decision had been for the other side,said Mridula Mukherjee,professor at the Centre for Historical Studies,Jawaharlal Nehru University,on Thursday.
The biggest worry is the message the decision gives to young people,that it is not possible in this country to live in intellectual and academic freedom,which is not true, Mukherjee said. She was speaking at a symposium on Many Ramayanas – Cultural censorship and intellectual freedom organised by the Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association and attended by students and teachers from different universities.
The dropping of the essay from the syllabus was not one of the failures of university structures but was the result of a determined attempt by those who had seen the potential such an issue had to mobilise people on communal lines,Mukherjee said.
Criticising senior BJP leaders who had threatened to launch nationwide agitations if the essay was reinstated,Mukherjee said the BJP attacked the essay as it fundamentally affected the Ramjanmabhoomi movement through which the party had assumed success in India.
DU professor Mukul Mangalik said the expert committee report,presented before the DUAC before the removal,should have been submitted to the universitys History department.
Speakers also criticised publishing houses for withdrawing controversial books under pressure from different quarters. The Oxford University Press,which had published the essay had written to the History department informing that the book was no longer being printed.
The essay was removed from the syllabus for DUs BA Honours students on October 9.