Fwd: India: Petition against removal of essay from history syllabus

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at UCLOUVAIN.BE
Mon Oct 24 07:11:58 UTC 2011

>>De : Network of Concerned Historians 
>><<mailto:antoondebaets at concernedhistorians.org>antoondebaets at concernedhistorians.org>
>>Date : 22 octobre 2011 15:17:02 GMT+02:00
>>Objet : India: Petition against removal of essay from history syllabus
>><http://www.concernedhistorians.org/>network of concerned historians (nch)
>>Dear colleagues,
>>On 9 October 2011, Delhi University removed a 
>>celebrated scholarly essay on the Ramayanas 
>>from the reading list against the will of the 
>>history department. Historians from India ask 
>>us to consider signing a petition to protest 
>>the removal of this essay. Below you will find:
>>* a link to the petition;
>>* a link to the essay;
>>* a link to two newspaper articles providing background;
>>* the text of the petition;
>>* an email by a colleague from Delhi summarizing the case.
>>We hope that you can sign the petition 
>>immediately. Please remember to mention your 
>>professional affiliation and your country.
>>With best wishes,
>>Antoon De Baets
>>(Network of Concerned Historians)
>>A.K. Ramanujan, "Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five 
>>Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation," 
>>The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan, ed. 
>>Vinay Dharwadker (Delhi: Oxford University 
>>Press, 1999), 131-160: 
>>* S.N. Vijetha, "Historians protest as Delhi 
>>University purges Ramayana essay from 
>>syllabus,"The Hindu (15 October 2011): 
>>* S.N. Vijetha, "Ramayana row: DU Council 
>>ignored opinion of three experts," The Hindu 
>>(19 October 2011): 
>>To: Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi
>>We express our profound shock that the Delhi 
>>University Academic Council has decided to drop 
>>A.K. Ramanujanâ's highly acclaimed essay on 
>>many Ramayanas from the B.A. History course. 
>>The late Professor Ramanujan is recognized all 
>>over the world as one of the most eminent 
>>authorities on pre-modern literature and 
>>culture. The essay "Three Hundred Ramayanas: 
>>Five Examples and Three Thoughts" shows in rich 
>>detail how Indian culture is constituted of a 
>>multiplicity of traditions, how it speaks with 
>>many voices. It is an essay that all young 
>>people, not just history students, ought to 
>>read. To delete it from the syllabus is an act 
>>that is deeply disturbing, an instance of 
>>thought policing. Such a measure will only 
>>encourage sectarian groups to try and prevent 
>>intellectuals from expressing their ideas 
>>freely. The action of the Vice Chancellor and 
>>the Academic Council is particularly 
>>distressing since it overrules the majority 
>>opinion of the Expert Committee that was set up 
>>(under the direction of the Supreme Court) to 
>>look into the controversy.
>>From: Anubhuti Maurya
>>Date: 21 October 2011 14:46
>>Subject: Protest Letter agains the removal of 
>>AK Ramanujan's essay on the Ramayanas
>>Dear all,
>>Many of you may know that for some time now a 
>>controversy has been brewing in Delhi 
>>University around Ramanujan's essay on many 
>>Ramayanas. This essay was part of the readings 
>>in one of the B.A. history courses. Over a year 
>>back some Hindutva activists attacked teachers 
>>in the DU history department and demanded that 
>>the essay be removed from the reading list. The 
>>history department teachers, of course, refused 
>>to comply. The issue ended up in the Supreme 
>>Court which wanted the opinion of an academic 
>>expert committee. Three out of the four members 
>>of the committee stated that the essay ought to 
>>be read by students. Recently the Vice 
>>Chancellor and the Academic Council overruled 
>>the opinion of the history department, as well 
>>as the expert committee and removed the essay 
>>from the list of recommended readings.


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