English syllabus 'depicts inclusiveness': DU claims after controversy

DU has accepted recommendations of the Oversight Committee and the final syllabus has been designed by the Department of English.

English syllabus 'depicts inclusiveness': DU claims after controversy Delhi University (Source: Official Website)
Vagisha Kaushik | Aug 26, 2021 - 6:16 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Delhi University (DU) has finalised the syllabus of BA English (Honors) and accepted the recommendation of the Oversight Committee. The final syllabus has been designed by the Department of English, the university said in an official statement.

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“The empowered Oversight Committee, constituted by the Executive Council of the University, after due deliberations with and recommendations of the head of department of English, finalized the said syllabus of B.A (Hons.) English course for Semester-V, department of English which is already available on the website of the University, www.du.ac.in,” the DU statement said.

According to the official statement, a careful study of the syllabus shows the inclusive nature as well as the diversity and harmony of the content of the syllabus. The university said that “the literary content forming part of the text in a language course of study should contain materials which do not hurt the sentiments of any individual”. It further stated that the syllabus should be inclusive in nature which shows the past, present and future of the society.

The council had dropped the short story “Draupadi” of Mahasweta Devi and two Dalit authors from the syllabus on recommendations of the Oversight Committee.

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The decision was strongly opposed by some members of the academic council of Delhi University. 15 members of the council dissented from the decision of dropping the authors from the syllabus of fifth semester of BA English (Honors). They said that the council first decided to remove two Dalit authors - Bama and Sukhartharini and replaced them with “upper-caste writer Ramabai”. Then, it suddenly asked the English department to remove Mahasweta Devi’s short story "Draupadi" from the syllabus.

The members of DU academic council said that the press release issued by the university is an "attempt to save face after committing a grave overreach of intruding in the academic autonomy of the departments."

"Without giving any evidence that the texts removed by the Oversight Committee have hurt any sentiment, the press release clearly expresses its ignorance of the subject and also underlines its prejudice to the marginal voices of the society," the academic council said. It said that the ignorance of the committee is highlighted by the fact that it submitted BA English (Honors) as a language course rather than literature course.

The Academic council further said, "Secondly, to use hurt sentiments as an excuse to delete texts is a blatant attempt to impose thought control of the dominant and privileged social groups."

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