Opposition to Gujarat riot story in syllabus divides DU

Opposition to Gujarat riot story in syllabus divides DU

Sparking a debate, the Delhi University's Standing Committee, in a meeting, has opposed to incorporate a short story set during the 2002 Gujarat riots in the English Department's curriculum, according to media reports. The Exceutive Council will take the final decision on July 20. 

In addition to that, papers on homosexuality and caste in the English Honours course were also shot down, deeming them controversial. 

The short story in question -- Maniben alias Bibijaan by author Shilpa Paralkar --  is set during the 2002 Gujarat riots with one of its characters being Manu Parekh, a 'young and promising secretary of the Gujarat Yuvak Bajrang Dal.'  The story unfolds with a budding friendship between a Muslim man and Manu's mother. The man narrates how he was attacked by a mob who 'came with lists and kerosene cans' to his TV shop, looted it, locked him and his granddaughter in the back room and set them on fire, ultimately leading to the child's death. Manu's mother connects the dots with Manu getting a new TV and her finding  a 'long, black, sooty smear down the left sleeve' of the shirt Manu was wearing on the said day.  

A report in Hindustan Times quoted Rasal Singh, member of a right-wing teachers’ group in DU — National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF) saying that the lesson they wanted dropped was a story written in the backdrop of the 2002 Gujarat riots.

“The story depicts two members of a right wing group in a very wrong light,” he said. “They were shown as murderers and rioters. It can create a wrong perception about that group. We demanded that story be removed from the syllabus,” said Singh.

Revised syllabi of several undergraduate courses were to be approved in the Standing Committee for academic affairs' meeting where the objections were raised. New curriculum drafts of more than 78 undergraduate programmes were approved.