Following protests from Darul Uloom,Deoband,and certain Islamic organisations,a research scholar at Meeruts Chaudhary Charan Singh University has requested the UGC to change the subject of her post-doctoral fellowship for research on Use of Magic Realism in the major novels of Salman Rushdie,Amitav Ghosh and Vikram Seth.
Prabha Parmar has communicated her decision in a letter to the University Grants Commission (UGC),which had awarded her the five-year fellowship,and the university vice-chancellor. She has stated that she is not against any organisation or group,and has requested for change of topic,or amendment to the extent of dropping the name of Salman Rushdie.
Parmar,who belongs to Saharanpur district where Deoband is located,had enrolled at CCS University on February 13. The mere mention of Rushdie in the subject of her research project evoked a sharp criticism from various Islamic groups,including the countrys largest seminary Darul Uloom,Deoband. They have asked the UGC to scrap the research topic as Rushdie had hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims.
I just do not want to be involved in any sort of controversy. I have nothing against anyone,so I have decided not to pursue this research, Parmar told The Indian Express. She,however,clarified that her research project had nothing to do with Rushdies banned book The Satanic Verses. I dont have to say much and I will not undertake this research, she said.
Parmar said she will leave the fellowship if her topic was not changed. Her father Naseeb Singh Verma said they were hopeful that the UGC will consider her request. We have good relations with the Muslim community in Saharanpur. We are not interested in hurting their sentiments,he said.
A faculty member at the universitys department of English said Parmar was on leave when the controversy broke out. We received her application for extension of leave on April 20,then on April 25 an email requesting for change of topic, he said.
The faculty member also said the research was a comparative work of three authors,and not remotely connected to Rushdies banned book. Already,200 theses on Rushdies works have been done in India but a hue and cry is being raised over this topic, he added.
On the other hand,senior faculty member of Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband,Maulana Arshad Madani asserted,Have research topics dried up in India ? Rushdie will be opposed to any extent.
Madani,who also heads the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind,said they will oppose the research project even if there is no mention of Rushdies banned book. Any work on Rushdie will be opposed by us. It is an attempt to provoke and humiliate Muslims. We are against UGC for allotting such a topic, he said.