Like Sena, Chavan says Mistry's book abusive, objectionable

Last Updated : 19 October 2010, 12:57 IST
Last Updated : 19 October 2010, 12:57 IST

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Chavan also virtually backed the controversial decision of the Mumbai university to drop the Indian-born Canadian writer's Booker prize-nominated book from the college syllabus, saying he felt such texts were unsuitable for inclusion in educational curricula. The book was nominated for the prestigious literary prize in 1990.

The Chief Minister however said these were his personal views and that he would not like to interfere in the affairs of the Mumbai University, which has received flak from several quarters for withdrawing the book after the Shiv Sena made a demand. He also made it clear he was not siding with anyone.

"I have not gone through the entire book. Whatever paras were shown to me, I read that, the language is highly abusive...Do we  expect our students to go through such books and use them in the educational curriculum," Chavan told reporters in Mumbai.
Chavan also said he found the language used in the book in some portions "highly objectionable".

"There is objectionable language in Rohinton Mistry's book and we wouldn't approve his book for students," he saidThe book has drawn the ire of the Shiv Sena which said there are some objectionable remarks against its supremo Bal Thackeray.

In New Delhi, Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari said the Chief Minister is obviously entitled to his views.

But, he said the Congress has always maintained that wherever it is incumbent that public order does not get deviated one should refrain from interfering into the exercise of any kind of cultural or literary freedom which are enshrined in the Constitution.
Tiwari also said that the Congress is opposed to any kind of "censorship."

Mistry in a hard hitting statement yesterday slammed the Mumbai University for the haste it showed in withdrawing the book and said "It has come perilously close to institutionalising the ugly notion of self-censorship."

Welcoming Chavan's remarks, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said "if the CM of the state is with us, then you have to understand that we are right."

"When it comes to the culture of Maharashtra being abused by someone and defamed, then the chief minister of the state has to take a stand against the book. Shiv Sena has taken up the issue and the book has been banned by the Mumbai university," he added.
Tiwari said Mumbai University is an autonomous university and that it is not under the Maharashtra government. "If anyone has objections to the book there are appropriate fora," he said.

Chavan said he was told by the University's Vice Chancellor that they have not followed the "proper process" before the book was  withdrawn from the undergraduate syllabus.
"Anyway, if a Committee would have gone through the details of the book I don't think it would have itself approved the book," he dded.

"However, I am not interfering into the affairs of the university. I leave it to the university to decide whether they would approve or endorse such a book," the chief minister said.

Published 19 October 2010, 12:57 IST

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