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DU to Drop Sections on Gujarat & Muzaffarnagar Riots, LGBTQ from English Undergraduate Syllabus

The changes took place a day after the standing committee of the university's Academic Council raised objections over the content revolving around the riots and homosexuality.

Eram Agha | News18.comEramAgha

Updated:July 18, 2019, 8:37 PM IST
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File photo of Delhi University campus (Image: du.ac.in)

New Delhi: The English department of Delhi University has decided to remove from its undergraduate syllabus “controversial” stories related to the 2002 Gujarat riots and the Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 in order to avoid “hurting” the sentiments of any individual or community.

It will also modify a course related to the history of LGBTQ rights in the country.

The changes took place a day after the standing committee of the Academic Council raised objections over the content revolving around the riots and homosexuality.

The topics dropped include a story called ‘Maniben alias Bibijaan’, which related to the Gujarat riots, and the content on the Muzaffarnagar riots. The department has made modifications to the course called ‘Interrogating Queerness’ that would have taught LGBTQ history and perspective in the light of Indian traditions.

“We have removed the stories of Muzaffarnagar and Gujarat riots from our English course. We do not want to enter into any controversy,” said Head of the Department (English) Raj Kumar. “Our department doesn't want to hurt sentiments of any individual or community. There is no reference to riots, or anything else controversial."

Kumar also confirmed that the course on LGBTQ rights has been revised. “How do you interpret… these things also matters. No syllabus is perfect,” he said. “People objected as they interpreted it in their own way."

Rasal Singh, member of the Academic Council who also belongs to the National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), told News 18 that the stories on the Gujarat and Muzaffarnagar riots showed outfits related to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, its “shakhas” and the Bajrang Dal in a bad light.

“The course on interrogating queerness showed our gods as homosexuals and made references to texts about Indian knowledge traditions, such as Bhagwat Purana and Skanda Purana,” he said.

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