Published: 17th July 2019
Hand them to us: ABVP gatecrashes DU Academic Council looking for writers of 'Anti-National' syllabus
The teachers alleged that the ABVP students were allowed to come inside the heavily guarded Vice-Regal Lodge where they were protesting against the syllabus
The Academic Council (AC) of the Delhi University has sent back the English and History syllabus for the undergraduate courses to the respective departments for review after the meeting was interrupted by a protest and sloganeering in front of the heavily guarded Vice-Regal Lodge, by the ABVP, who allegedly demanded that the teachers who set the particular syllabus be 'handed over to them'.
Naveen Gaur, an AC member and a faculty of the Department of Physics, Dayal Singh College, recounted the incidents, "Firstly, the DU administration kept the whole AC waiting for nearly five hours. ABVP students were allowed to come inside the Vice-Regal Lodge and many of them even climbed on the roof and were visible from the windows near the top of the hall. This happened with the complete knowledge of the DU administration and active collusion of some of the people in the administration. The attempt was indeed to use intimidate and force a particular decision."
Ironically, entry into the Lodge is pretty tough, even for members of the varsity. Nandita Narain, a faculty of the Department of Mathematics at St Stephen's College explained why they think the administration 'allowed' the ABVP students inside the Vice-Regal Lodge. "We, teachers, deans or HODs have not been allowed inside without prior appointment — the security is that high. How would a bunch of students get in if they were not allowed?" she asks.
No more Maoism, anti-Hindu thoughts, says the ABVP
ABVP's State Secretary in Delhi, Siddharth Yadav blamed the administration as well. "It is very unfortunate that the people sitting in the Academic Council are playing politics of inclusion and are trying to include the political agenda of the leftist ideology in the syllabus. The administration has not given any concrete response yet and we will continue our struggle till the demands are met," said Siddharth. "A few teachers have decided what would be taught in the courses and no scope for a discussion or suggestions from stakeholders was left. The changes are not only an attack on the Hindu gods and sentiments but are also an attempt to propagate the anti-national thoughts like Maoism by labelling it as a social movement. These changes not only depict the sick mentality of the few biased activists in the faculty but also the ignorance of the university towards dialogue with all concerned stakeholders. They are trying to repeat what happened in 2008 but we didn't let them do then and we won't let them do now. ABVP has protested against the same and will continue to fight for the removal of such content," he added.
Why does the syllabus need to be rewritten?
The AC sent the syllabi for Political Science and Sociology departments as well along with the English and History syllabi. "The department should review the matter keeping in mind the suggestions raised at the AC meeting," Nandita said. "They want to remove a text from the syllabus set in the backdrop of the Godhra Riots and shows a Bajrang Dal member as an assaulter. But there have been cases like these — Babu Bajrangi was convicted. That is not fiction. It is a fact. We cannot deny that. They have also suggested that we do not teach kids about Maoist movements. It is not about the students being influenced they need to know about the movements at least. You cannot just wipe them off," she added.
Nandita recounts a time when the History syllabus was asked to be revised, "But then no one wanted texts to be omitted. They only wanted to add text, which the department did to keep their revisions in place." What worried Nandita and other teachers who came out in support of the English department was that the administration was allegedly helping the ABVP workers who got in and demanded that the teachers be handed over to them