Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Education Dalits

DU should apologise to Bama, Sukirtharani and Mahesweta Devi: Dalit Intellectual Collective

The Collective says the exlusion of these women writers once again highlights the bigoted attitude in higher education

Sabrangindia 03 Sep 2021

Delhi UniversityImage Courtesy:scroll.in

Delhi University must not only reinstate recently deleted texts of writers Bama, Sukirtharani and Mahesweta Devi but also apologise to them, said Dalit Intellectual Collective in an open letter to Vice Chancellor P. C. Joshi. Backed by professors, students, activists and journalists across India, the letter condemned the select removal of three women writers (two Tamil and one Bengali) from the English literature syllabus of the university.

“The exertion of Brahmanical, patriarchal, communal prejudice and domination in higher education once again becomes painfully visible. These authors’ writings accentuate the life-narratives of Adivasis, Dalits, marginalised women and minorities,” said the Collective.

Members expressed shock that the University removed selections from the novel Sangati (Events), two poems “Kaimaru” (Debt) and “En Udal” (My Body), and the short story Draupadi, as per recommendations of the Oversight Committee, despite opposition from at least 16 Academic Council members.

Although literature has historically told stories of state-oppression on Adivasi women, the discrimination faced by Dalit women in caste-infected Indian villages, and manual scavenging, the Oversight Committee claimed that these texts “hurt sentiments” and “(are not) inclusive in nature to depict the true picture of the society”.

The Dalit Intellectual Collective asked, “Whose sentiments were hurt by these texts? Surely not the sentiments of those whose oppression was portrayed here! Must the sentiments of the privileged always shape academic programs?”

Members pointed out that women’s studies and Dalit studies in academia changed the literary scene in India in the past few decades, enriching the Social Science disciplines. The three women writers belong to this group of protest literature.

Rather than excluding these women, the group called for the inclusion of many more such voices from different regions and languages across India.

Related:

Censorship in learning tarnishes India’s international image: DTF member Dhusiya
From ripples to waves: Experts discuss the power of Dalit literature
51 Reasons to say goodbye to NEP 2020: AIFRTE

 

DU should apologise to Bama, Sukirtharani and Mahesweta Devi: Dalit Intellectual Collective

The Collective says the exlusion of these women writers once again highlights the bigoted attitude in higher education

Delhi UniversityImage Courtesy:scroll.in

Delhi University must not only reinstate recently deleted texts of writers Bama, Sukirtharani and Mahesweta Devi but also apologise to them, said Dalit Intellectual Collective in an open letter to Vice Chancellor P. C. Joshi. Backed by professors, students, activists and journalists across India, the letter condemned the select removal of three women writers (two Tamil and one Bengali) from the English literature syllabus of the university.

“The exertion of Brahmanical, patriarchal, communal prejudice and domination in higher education once again becomes painfully visible. These authors’ writings accentuate the life-narratives of Adivasis, Dalits, marginalised women and minorities,” said the Collective.

Members expressed shock that the University removed selections from the novel Sangati (Events), two poems “Kaimaru” (Debt) and “En Udal” (My Body), and the short story Draupadi, as per recommendations of the Oversight Committee, despite opposition from at least 16 Academic Council members.

Although literature has historically told stories of state-oppression on Adivasi women, the discrimination faced by Dalit women in caste-infected Indian villages, and manual scavenging, the Oversight Committee claimed that these texts “hurt sentiments” and “(are not) inclusive in nature to depict the true picture of the society”.

The Dalit Intellectual Collective asked, “Whose sentiments were hurt by these texts? Surely not the sentiments of those whose oppression was portrayed here! Must the sentiments of the privileged always shape academic programs?”

Members pointed out that women’s studies and Dalit studies in academia changed the literary scene in India in the past few decades, enriching the Social Science disciplines. The three women writers belong to this group of protest literature.

Rather than excluding these women, the group called for the inclusion of many more such voices from different regions and languages across India.

Related:

Censorship in learning tarnishes India’s international image: DTF member Dhusiya
From ripples to waves: Experts discuss the power of Dalit literature
51 Reasons to say goodbye to NEP 2020: AIFRTE

 

Related Articles

Assam Police Firing: Support for victims grows

12-hour Bandh in Assam, and protest by the Congress party even as nearly 3,000 police and paramilitary personnel are deployed to “maintain peace”

Assam Police Firing: Support for victims grows

12-hour Bandh in Assam, and protest by the Congress party even as nearly 3,000 police and paramilitary personnel are deployed to “maintain peace”


Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.
Delhi HC

Hate Speech and Delhi Pogrom 2020

A spate of provocative speeches, that amount to hate speech in law and should be prosecuted allowed blood letting to spill on the streets of north east Delhi in February-March 2020

Archives