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Kerala varsity drops books written by Hindutva ideologues

Kannur University agreed to instead introduce critical analyses of the works of the likes of M.S. Golwalkar and V.D. Savarkar

K.M. Rakesh Bangalore Published 30.09.21, 01:51 AM
V.D. Savarkar

V.D. Savarkar File picture

Kannur University in Kerala on Wednesday dropped five controversial books written by Hindutva ideologues from the post-graduation syllabus and agreed to instead introduce critical analyses of the works of the likes of M.S. Golwalkar and V.D. Savarkar.

The state university, which had faced criticism for the course material of this section of the MA in governance and politics course introduced last year, has also decided to make the syllabus more inclusive.

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The varsity has accepted the recommendations of a two-member committee that reviewed a part of the syllabus and suggested that the five books by Hindutva ideologues Savarkar, Golwalkar, Deendayal Upadhyaya and Balraj Madhok be excluded.

The segment, to be studied in the third semester, will now have four new topics to include Dravidian, socialist and Islamic perspectives in the course.

The new topics are Muslims and Nationalism: Two Opposite Visions (Maulana Azad and Mohammed Ali Jinnah), Dravidian Nationalism (Periyar), Socialist Perspectives on Nationalism (E.M.S. Namboodiripad and Ram Manohar Lohia), and Hindutva and Hindu Rashtra by V.D. Savarkar and M.S. Golwalkar. The last topic will have books on the lives and works of Savarkar and Golwalkar.

The university had appointed the committee, having as members academics Dr J. Prabash and Dr K.S. Pavithran, earlier this month to review the Hindu Nationalism segment of the third semester syllabus of the MA in governance and politics course after massive protests by students and academics who alleged saffronisation of the course content.

The varsity’s board of studies had earlier approved the committee’s report in its entirety before it was considered by the academic council.

The academic council has also approved a change in the title of Unit II of the third semester syllabus from “Rashtra or Nation in Indian Political Thought” to “Nation and Nationalism in Modern Political Thought — A Critique”.

The syllabus for the third semester had originally included Hindutva: Who is a Hindu? by Savarkar, We or Our Nationhood Defined and Bunch of Thoughts by Golwalkar, Integral Humanism by Upadhyaya and Indianisation? What, Why and How by Madhok. All five books have now been removed from the syllabus.

The books that have been retained are Nationalism by Rabindranath Tagore, Nationalism is Religion by Sri Aurobindo, Is Hatred Essential for Nationalism? by Mahatma Gandhi, Nationalism and Internationalism and What is Culture by Jawaharlal Nehru and Who Constitutes a Nation by B.R. Ambedkar.

A university syndicate member who declined to be named told The Telegraph that the idea of the original syllabus was to provide students an opportunity to read up on different ideologies. “How would students know what Hindutva is without reading up on its ideologues and their works? That’s why we had cleared the original list of books,” said the member who belongs to a Left party.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had clarified that the Left Democratic Front government did not want to glorify the “regressive ideas” of those who had no role in the freedom struggle.

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