The University of Mumbai’s panel cleared Rohinton Mistry’s novel ‘Such A Long Journey’ for inclusion in the second year arts syllabus without even reading it, the university Vice—Chancellor said on Thursday.
“The members of the Board of Studies in charge of selecting and preparing the syllabus had not read Mistry’s book before recommending it for the BA (English) syllabus,” Rajan Welukar told PTI here.
“I had a detailed discussion with the members of the Board of Studies and I was told that they had not read the book when they recommended it,” he said.
The University later dropped the Bookers nominated novel after Shiv Sena students’ wing, led by Aditya Thackeray, demanded it be dropped because it “poorly represented” the saffron party.
It took just “two minutes” for the Board of Studies to approve the book for the syllabus three years ago, but it took “two hours” for dropping it from the syllabus last month, he said.
“I informed Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and Governor and Chancellor of the Universities K Sankaranarayanan that none of the members of the Board had read the book before approving it,” he said.
The VC said he did not understand why the issue became a political one as “the exercise was undertaken purely in the academic interest and for students interests.”
Meanwhile, a senior member of the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union said the board “should take responsibility” for the inclusion of the novel.
The Board is a statutory body with six members, who are department heads from colleges and one from the respective department of the University.
The panel can also have two experts chosen by them from outside. However, for syllabus preparation only three members are chosen, university sources said.