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DU Panel Raises Objection To 3 Books By Kancha Ilaiah

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Delhi University’s Standing Committee on Academic Matters, on Wednesday recommended removing three books of Dalit writer-activist Kancha Ilaiah from the political science syllabus for allegedly being vitriolic towards Hindu faith.

The three books being objected to are ‚ÄòWhy I am not a Hindu‚Äô; ‚ÄòGod as Political Philosopher: Buddha’s Challenge to Brahminism‚Äô; and ‚ÄòPost-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution‚Äô.

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Committee member Professor Hansraj Suman said there was a discussion on the syllabus of nine Master’s courses because they are insulting to Hinduism and it would not be appropriate for students to read it.Some Professor said that Ilaiah’s books were his understanding of Hindu faith and there is no empirical data to establish his understanding.

Professor Geeta Bhat, member of academic council said “Ilaiah wrote about how Hindutva school wants me to treat my Christian and Muslim brothers as enemies” and how “the very sight of saffron tilak harasses him, He has problems with a word like tapasya. It is all about his mind and his understanding of a faith. As an academic piece, there is no content in it and no reason to teach it. His every book has this vitriol.”

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The protesting teachers sought clarification on the merit of Ilaiah’s work and why it was important to include his books in the syllabus. They also demanded the removal of the texts.

DU professor Sanjeev Kumar HM said, “We should teach everything to the students, this is the basic idea of a university. Let the students learn and decide.”

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Another paper that created some discomfort was ‘The Militias of Hindutva: Communal Violence, Terrorism and Cultural Policing’ by Christophe Jefferlot. Teachers objected to the text for the English department, saying Indian voices were being ignored.

Various departments are expected to revise the syllabi of postgraduate courses for the next session when the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) format comes in. Till now, the CBCS format is functional at the undergraduate level. Under this system, students have the choice to select their courses, which are categorised as ‘core’, ‘elective’ and ‘open elective’.

The issue of objections being raised against texts, is not new. In the last meeting, teachers had objected to two books of professor Nandini Sundar’s ‘Subalterns and Sovereigns: An Anthropological History of Bastar’ and professor Archana Prasad’s ‘Against Ecological Romanticism: Verrier Elwin and the Making of an Anti-Modern Tribal Identity (2003)’.
The decisions need to be approved by the Academic Council. A meeting would be held before November 15.

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