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Delhi University Revises Undergraduate Syllabus, Drops Texts By Dalit Writers

The Delhi University Academic Council drops texts by Dalit writers inviting severe criticism from teachers after overriding a strong dissent in the 12-hour long meeting.

Several Delhi University Faculty members severely criticised the Delhi University's decision of dropping Mahasweta Devi's short story titled 'Draupadi' from the undergraduate syllabus. The varsity also let go of Bama Faustina Soosairaj, a Tamil Dalit Feminist, teacher and novelist and Sukritharani, a feminist poet known for her contribution to Dalit and Tamil Literature.

The teachers protested against the 'overreach of the Oversight Committee' and claimed that removing the writings was taken arbitrarily.

News18 quoted Academic Council member Mithuraaj Dhisiya, "It is shocking to note that the Oversight Committee did not have any experts from the concerned Departments whose syllabus was changed. There is no logic behind such removals".

Arbitarily Changing Texts In New Syllabus

The 12-hour long meeting was stained with dissent for the Oversight Committee for 'arbitrarily changing the texts' in the new syllabus for the fifth semester in undergraduate courses.

While addressing item 9.14 of the meeting agenda, the case of the revised syllabus for BA (Hons) English, the dissenting note read that the Oversight Committee has committed maximum vandalism in a core paper titled Women's Writing in Semester V.

The note mentioned, "It first decided to remove two Dalit writers, named Bama and Sukrattharani who were replaced by a UC writer Ramabai. The Committee as an afterthought suddenly asked the English Department to delete the celebrated shot story of Mahasweta Devi (Draupadi) without giving any academic knowledge to the decision.

"The Academic Council members who criticised the move said that 'Draupadi' has been taught in DU since 1999, owing to its seminal academic value. It also figured in UGC's model syllabus in 2019 for BA (H) English. Several members said that they urged the university to follow due process and abide by the recommendations of Committees for Courses. The concerned departments were the only competent bodies to frame the syllabus for the courses they offer, the members added.

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