Controversy over college magazine for ridiculing national anthem

Controversy over college magazine for ridiculing national anthem
A government college in Kannur district in Kerala on Wednesday found itself in the middle of a controversy following protests against content in the students’ magazine that allegedly denigrate the national anthem and the national flag. The protests have led the college authorities to withdraw two pages from the magazine.

A four-line poem in Malayalam which appeared in Pellet, the magazine published by the Government Brennen College in Thalassery to mark it’s 125th anniversary, has triggered the controversy. The lines – “Patriotism which leaves the seat in cinema halls, Patriotism which reads Manusmriti on the streets” – target the imposition of hyper-nationalism. They are accompanied by the illustration of a couple having sex in a cinema hall with the national flag on the screen. The college union is led by the Students Federation of India.

Content in other pages of the magazine has also run into criticism over its sexually suggestive illustrations. The Congress-affiliated Kerala Students Union and the BJP-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad are set to hold protests against the magazine. The college staff council which initially dismissed the “baseless” allegations has decided to withdraw two contentious pages from the magazine.

K V Sudhakaran, Assistant Professor, Malayalam and the staff editor of the magazine, felt the issue was being “politicised” and the magazine was only discussing issues that matter. The staff council which met on Wednesday backed the content but later decided to take the controversial pages out. “It’s a problem of misinterpretation. There’s nothing anti-national in these pages but since we didn’t want the college to get embroiled in a controversy, we decided to remove pages 12 and 84 from the magazine,” Sudhakaran told Deccan Herald.

While it was reported that many copies of the magazine had already been circulated in the college, Sudhakaran said distribution of the copies was in the “initial stage”.

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