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Delhi University rollback after pro-Sangh protests

The university had tabled changes in the syllabi for 54 undergraduate courses until the NDTF raised objections
Delhi University
Delhi University
(Telegraph file picture)

Pheroze L. Vincent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 17.07.19, 09:26 PM

At least two Delhi University departments have made changes to their curriculum after a pro-Sangh teachers’ group raised objections and the student wing of the BJP’s ideological mentor held a protest demonstration when the varsity’s academic council met on Tuesday.

Vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi did not respond to a call and a message from The Telegraph but the heads of the English and history departments confirmed that changes had been made.


“We did not want controversy,” Prof. Raj Kumar, the head of the English department, said.

Various departments of the university had tabled changes in the syllabi for 54 undergraduate courses, in line with the University Grants Commission’s Learning Outcome-based Curriculum Framework, at the meeting.

But members of the pro-RSS National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF) raised objections on four disciplines — English, history, political science and sociology.

Outside, members of the Sangh’s student wing ABVP tried to barge into the vice-chancellor’s office, and later gheraoed the Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge where the meeting was held. They are also alleged to have raised threatening slogans against teachers who supported the changes.

Rasal Singh, an NDTF member in the academic council, said one of the objections was against a story, Maniben alias Bibijan, based on the Gujarat riots, in the English syllabus.

The NDTF also objected to references to the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, lynchings, alternative sexualities of Hindu deities and papers on “Literature and Caste” and “Interrogating Queerness”.

Singh also voiced objections to material on “Naxalism” and “Marxism” in the “Democracy on work” paper in history, as well as critical references to the Mahabharat, mentions of Maoism in the course on “Social Movements” and the absence of the Vedic period in the sociology syllabus. “Syllabus of all the four departments have been referred back for review,” Singh told this newspaper.

Prof. Raj Kumar said the story on the Gujarat riots, the reference to the Muzaffarnagar riots, and the texts on the sexuality of deities in mythology had been dropped.

“We don’t want to hurt the sentiments of any individual or group,” he said. “Prof. Rasal Singh suggested the introduction of Sant Tukaram, Premchand and other in the Literature and Caste paper. We explained that the paper deals with the expression of Dalit identity and aesthetic through the works of Dalit writers after the Dalit Panther movement of the 1970s. Sant Tukaram and Premchand are not Dalits. The paper has, however, been made optional, and not compulsory. Interrogating Queerness has also been made optional.”

Sunil Kumar, who heads the history department, said changes had been made but did not elaborate. “We have made changes only where we are satisfied that it does not impede the quality of the history paper,” he said.

Asked if the references to Marxism had been removed from the “Democracy on work” paper, he said: “Of course not.”

The heads of the sociology and political science departments did not respond to queries. The CPM-controlled SFI on Wednesday protested against the “hooliganism” by the NDTF and the ABVP.

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