The Kerala BJP has appealed to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan asking for the removal of Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy’s ‘Come September’ speech of 2002 from Calicut University’s coursebook for the BA English programme.
According to a report in The Indian Express, state BJP president, K Surendran wrote a letter to Khan, who is also the Chancellor of the university, and said that essay raised questions on India's sovereignty.
The Kerala BJP chief was referring to the speech which is part of the textbook ‘Appreciating Prose’ of the third semester of the BA English Language and Literature programme. The syllabus was put in place last year and the text is expected to be taught to the current third-semester students.
“Dissent is brewing among academics and the general public against the inclusion of this speech, which is anti-national. Roy has stated that India has unleashed terror on the non-violent struggle for the independence of Kashmir. She was introduced by textbook editors Murugan Babu and Abida Farooqi as the sane voice who spoke against the hanging of Afzal Guru," the letter read.
Surendran added that in the speech, Afzal Guru's hanging was described as a dark chapter in India's history.
He said that Roy, in her speech, termed Hindus as fascists and sought its removal from the syllabus.
However, chairperson for the university board of studies, Dr Abida Farooqi, told the publication that the speech was suggested by a 10-member committee in 2019 and approved by the Academic Council before it was made part of the syllabus.
“The speech had appeared in periodicals. So far, none has raised any allegation against it. In the textbook committee also, nobody objected to its inclusion,” Farooqi was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Calicut University Registrar Dr CL Joshi told IE that a decision on the matter has not yet been taken and added that the Academic Council would take a call after it has gone through the issue.