Dalit authors removed from English syllabus, DU comes under fire

New Delhi, August 26 (KMS): In a communal move, Delhi University removed two Dalit authors from the English syllabus along with a short story of Award-winning writer Mahasweta Devi.

According to Kashmir Media Service, fifteen members of the Delhi University Academic Council (DUAC) expressed strong opposition over the removal of Mahasweta Devi’s short story ‘Draupadi’ and two Dalit authors from the English syllabus by the Oversight Committee.

The council had also approved the implementation of the National Education Policy from 2022-23 and four-year undergraduate programmes, overriding a strong dissent from its members, in its 12-hour long meeting on Tuesday.

The DU Academic Council members gave a dissent note stating that there had been “maximum vandalism” in LOCF (Learning Outcomes-based Curriculum Framework) English syllabus for the fifth semester. In the note, they said the Oversight Committee first took a decision to remove two Dalit authors – Bama and Sukhartharini – and replaced them with “upper-caste writer Ramabai”.

“The Committee as an afterthought suddenly asked the English department to delete the celebrated short story of Mahasweta Devi, ‘Draupadi’ – a story about a tribal woman – without giving any academic logic. This is despite the fact that ‘Draupadi’ has been taught by the University of Delhi since 1999 owing to its seminal academic value,” the note read.

“Moreover, the Committee refused to accept any short story by Mahasweta Devi despite her iconic status globally as a writer and being a winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award, Jnanpith Award and Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India,” it added.

The Council on Tuesday had dropped the celebrated short story and the two Dalit authors from BA (Hons) English course while approving changes in its syllabus on recommendations from the varsity’s Oversight Committee.

Calling the changes “arbitrary”, the DUAC members alleged that these were “imposed without sharing any feedback from the stakeholders either with the syllabus committee of the department or with the Committee of Courses”. They said, “The Oversight Committee has always shown a prejudice against the representation of Dalits, tribals, women and sexual minorities as evident in its concerted efforts to remove all such voices from the syllabus.”

The note also alleged that the committee does not have any member from the Dalit or the Tribal community.