Members of several teachers’ and students’ organisations held a public meeting at Delhi University’s north campus Wednesday to rally against the standing committee’s decision to drop three books by writer-activist Kancha Ilaiah from the MA Political Science syllabus for being ‘anti-Hindu’, and discontinue the use of the term ‘Dalit’ from academic discourse.
Members of bodies such as the All India Democratic Students Organisation (AIDSO), All India Students Association (AISA), All India Students Federation (AISF), Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF), and Janwadi Shikshak Manch gathered under the banner of ‘SAVE DU,’ emphasising that dropping Ilaiah’s work from the syllabus was an attack on the diversity of academic thought.
Apoorvanand, a professor in DU’s Hindi department, said teaching Ilaiah’s work as part of course-work was not akin to an endorsement. “We are not necessarily saying that everything he says needs to be accepted. A teacher is not a propagator of ideas. Our job is to create an environment for criticism and not just transplant ideas,” he said.
A student from the political science department said the importance of works like Ilaiah’s extend beyond the academic to the social. Teachers, however, emphasised that the committee’s recommendation is not a binding decision and the final call in the matter would be taken when the university’s academic council convenes a meeting.