DU removes works of Tamil Dalit authors from syllabus

DU's decision to remove works of two Dalit authors from its syllabus kicks up a political storm in Tamil Nadu

Stalin demanded that the University and the Union Government immediately restore the works in its curriculum

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. Credit: PTI Photo

Delhi University’s decision to remove works of two Dalit authors from Tamil Nadu from its syllabus kicked up a political storm in the state on Thursday with Chief Minister M K Stalin issuing a strong statement asking authorities not to view everything from the prism of “politics of communalism.” 

Stalin demanded that the University and the Union Government immediately restore the works in its curriculum. He also said the decision to remove the works of certain authors by the Oversight Committee (OC) despite objections from the Academic Council (AC). The works of Sukhartharini and Bama were removed. 

Sukhartharini, one of the writers whose work was removed along with renowned author Mahasweta Devi’s short story, said she was not “surprised” at the development. 

“I am not surprised at all. I would only be surprised if my works continue to be part of the syllabus. I think this is what has been happening for a long time. I think caste has played a role in this decision,” Sukhartharini said. 

She also said it was for the people for whose consumption writers pen their books to raise their voices against such actions. In a statement, Stalin said the habit of viewing works of people who speak for women’s rights and fight for the emancipation of the downtrodden through the “prism of politics of communalism.”

“I request the management of the university and the Union Government to ensure that the removed works be added to the curriculum immediately,” Stalin said. 

Lok Sabha MP and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan, a prominent Dalit leader, expressed “shock” at the development. “Removing works of prominent writers from the syllabus of universities is shocking and more so when it involves writers from the Dalit community. I hope the order is withdrawn,” Thirumavalavan said. 

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