Published: 26th August 2021
Course material shouldn't hurt sentiments of any individual: DU after dropping Dalit writing from syllabus
The parts that were excluded include Draupadi, a short story by Mahashweta Devi and works of two other Dalit women writers, Sukirtharini and Bama
Amid implementing the NEP from the coming academic year, without the support of the faculty, the University of Delhi has been under the scanner for removing parts of acclaimed literature from its BA English Honours course. This includes Draupadi, a short story by Mahashweta Devi and works of two other Dalit women writers, Sukirtharini and Bama. The decision has caused a lot of hue and cry.
Now, in response, the university says that "the syllabus of the course has been passed through a democratic process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders and necessary deliberations at appropriate forums." The works of Bama and Sukirthani were replaced by the works of an upper-caste writer Ramabai.
While members of the academic council said that this was discriminatory and anti-Dalit, the university does not think so. It says, "A careful perusal of the present syllabus clearly brings out the inclusive nature of the syllabus under reference in terms of its diversity of content and inclusion of pioneering works of various renowned scholars of both national and international fame without consideration of their religion, caste and creed as, according to the University, excellence in academia is not subservient to these attributes. The University subscribes to the idea that the literary content forming part of the text in a language course of study should contain materials that do not hurt the sentiments of any individual and is inclusive in nature to portray a true picture of our society, both past and present."
Earlier, while speaking with an EdexLive reporter, the teachers said that it is unfortunate that the Oversight Committee has "always shown a prejudice against the representation of Dalits, tribals, women and sexual minorities as is evident in its concerted efforts to remove all such voices from the syllabus".
"It is shocking to note that this Oversight Committee did not have any experts from the concerned departments whose syllabus was changed. There is no logic behind such removals," said Mithuraaj Dhusiya, who teaches English at the varsity.