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Tamil Nadu: Arundhati Roys ‘Walking with the Comrades’ removed from English syllabus

Rida Shaikh

A state-run university in Tamil Nadu has removed Arundhati Roy's book ‘Walking with the Comrades' from its English syllabus. After receiving complaints from several people including the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad against the book ‘Walking with the Comrades', the state-run university has removed it from its English syllabus for their post-graduation.

The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad and other people alleged that the book ‘Walking with the Comrades' idealized the Maoists and glorified anti-nationalism its content. ‘Walking with the Comrades' has been a part of the English syllabus from 2017-18 batch for the third semester of MA in English Literature of Tirunelveli based Manonmaniam Sundaranar University's affiliated colleges.

MSU's Vice-Chancellor K Pitchumani said, “Last week we got a written complaint from the ABVP. Subsequently, there were a lot of other representations. We received complaints from our syndicate members as well.” He informed that the complaint highlighted the ‘controversial content' in the book and wanted it to be removed from the curriculum of the students.

K Pitchumani said, “A committee comprising of senior academicians has been set up to look into the matter. The former chairman of the board of studies, who framed the syllabus and the incumbent chief are also a part of it.” He furthermore added, “The committee met on Wednesday and they decided the withdrawal of the book from syllabus for its sensitive nature and in its place, a book of Padma awardee and naturalist, M Krishnan's ''My Native Land, Essays on Nature'' has been included.”

When the officials were asked if the sensitive content of the book was noticed while including it into the syllabus, they said that it probably went unnoticed.

While demanding the book's exclusion, ABVP said, “It is a matter of regret that this book has been part of the syllabus for the past three years. Through this, the Naxal and Maoist ideology has been imposed on the students.”




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