DU: Permission given, then withdrawn for Palestine poetry event; organising prof says he is "appalled"

Delhi University administration allegedly did not allow a poetry reading event on the Palestine crisis to be organised on April 15
The poetry event was scheduled to be held on April 15.
The poetry event was scheduled to be held on April 15. (EdexLive Desk)

Dejected over an event being cancelled, Delhi University’s (DU) Professor Apoorvanand expresses remorse for students, alleging that they have been robbed of a vital experience and that the campus is leaving no space for organising talks or events that don't adhere to the administration's ideology. 

This comes as a reaction to the Delhi University administration allegedly not allowing a poetry reading event on the Palestine crisis, which was scheduled to be organised by the professor on Monday, April 15.

To recall, many universities have not been very liberal in allowing faculty or students to host talks or organise events about and around the Israel-Palestine war. 

In Indian educational institutions and universities, students who were refrained from organising talks or events about Palestine voiced apprehensions about academic freedom. Protests regarding the same were held at The English Foreign Languages University (EFLU), Hyderabad Central University (HCU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and other campuses.

Giving more details about the event which was not permitted, the professor said, “I was appalled when I received an email on April 13 from the administration which stated that the event is not permitted. Because, the event was initially scheduled to happen in March, for which, permission was granted.”

“When the nature of the event was the same with guests like Ashok Vajpeyi invited, I was embarrassed as the event had to be cancelled,” he said, adding that since it was widely promoted among students, they were compelled to organise a short session on the event day for those who turned up for the event, unaware of its cancellation. Ashok Vajpeyi poet and former bureaucrat.

Disappointed over the sudden cancellation, the professor told EdexLive, “On Sunday morning, April 14, I wrote back to the administration requesting to review the decision.” Moreover, the professor fears that “the university spaces for discussions on topics which are slightly uncomfortable for the administration are shrinking”.

Recalling the past
The event was scheduled to be held in Room 22, Faculty of Arts where frequently, discussions are held on varied topics and subjects. 

“Surprisingly, despite the availability of the room, the event had to be called off,” he said, alleged, “We have observed that over the last 10 years, we have not seen any discussions on topics other than ideologies that are in sync with the administration.”

“Previously, the permission-giving authority was the deans of the departments. Now, the process has become bureaucratic and has been transferred to the estate department,” he alleges.

Condemning this incident, the professor opined, “If we stop organising such events, the learning will be limited to the syllabus in the books, which is sad as it is restricted learning.”

EdexLive has reached out to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts for an official comment. The report will be updated as and when we hear back from them.

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