At a time when a series of arrests of activists have triggered a nationwide debate on ideological inclination, a standing committee of the Delhi University has suggested that two books be taken out of the reading list as they ‘glorify Naxalism’ and ‘legitimise conversion of tribals to Christianity’. According to a report in Times of India, the standing committee on academic matters has recommended that the books — Subalterns and Sovereigns: An Anthropological History of Bastar, by Nalini Sundar and Against Ecological Romanticism: Verrier Elwin and the Making of an Anti-modern Tribal Identity, by Archana Prasad — be removed from the history reading list as they are ‘not fit for DU students’.
Taking to Twitter, Sundar said, “Times of India carries a story on “DU” objecting to my books when it was only a few BJP members. The aim, of course, is not what my book or Archana Prasad’s book actually says, but to further the “urban Naxal” demonisation.. so here goes about The Burning Forest.”
She was joined by historian Ramchandra Guha who said, “This is a superb book, the best scholarly study of adivasis ever published. DU’s “ban” shows this once admired public university in a very poor light. Indian democrats, read this book.”
Citing Geeta Bhatt, one of the panel members who objected to the book, the report said that Sunder had ‘justified the acts of Naxals by saying that they are involved in these activities as they are unemployed’. Prasad told the paper that those seeking a ban on the book ‘should have read the book’ before objecting to it. She said that the book was about tribals and that it made references to conversion by Christians as well as activities involving Hindutva.