Ground Report | New Delhi: Story of Mahasweta Devi; Draupadi, a short story by noted author Mahasweta Devi on the struggle against oppression and oppression of a tribal woman, has been dropped from its English Honors course by the University of Delhi.
A member of the monitoring committee that recommended the changes on condition of anonymity said that Draupadi – which portrays a tribal woman’s struggle against oppression – was dropped because it describes rape, The Telegraph reported.
Story of Mahasweta Devi
A statement issued by three disgruntled members of the 130-member Academic Council – which approved the changes on Tuesday – rejected the comment. The joint statement by Rajesh Kumar, Mithunraj Dhusia, and Biswajit Mohanty said, “Using hurt feelings as an excuse to delete texts is a clear attempt to impose thought control on dominant and privileged social groups.”
Vice-Chancellor PC Joshi exercised his emergency powers to approve the syllabus of four subjects. There have been very few occasions in the history of Delhi University when the Vice-Chancellor has exercised his emergency powers bypassing the Executive Council. Decisions regarding changes in curriculum are to be taken by the Executive Council.
The change in the syllabus has been defended in detail in a media release issued by DU. It has been said by the university that there should not be any such material in the syllabus which can hurt anyone’s feelings.
Three members of the 130-member Academic Council of Delhi University have officially opposed the changes made in the syllabus.
Two Tamil Dalit writers dropped
The university has also been removed from English curriculum works by two Tamil Dalit writers – Bama and Sukritrani – which Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and several parliamentarians from the southern state.
A dissenting note by 15 academic council members alleged that procedures were violated while changing the undergraduate curriculum for English, history, sociology, and political science.
It said that the only competent authority to formulate or change any syllabus was the “Committee of Courses” of the departments concerned and that there was no provision in the university rules for any oversight committee in this matter.