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T.N. varsity withdraws Arundhati Roy’s book after ABVP’s objection

“Walking with the Comrades” is based on Ms. Roy’s visit to Maoist hideouts.

November 12, 2020 01:34 am | Updated November 28, 2021 01:52 pm IST - CHENNAI

Arundhati Roy’s book was prescribed for the third semester of M.A. English, under Commonwealth Writing. Photo shows the administrative block of the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University in Tirunelveli. File

Arundhati Roy’s book was prescribed for the third semester of M.A. English, under Commonwealth Writing. Photo shows the administrative block of the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University in Tirunelveli. File

Acting on objections from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Manonmaniam Sundaranar University in Tirunelveli has withdrawn noted writer Arundhati Roy’s book, Walking with theComrades , from its postgraduate English syllabus. The book was based on her visit to Maoist hideouts.

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At a meeting chaired by Vice-Chancellor K. Pitchumani, it was decided that the book will be removed and replaced with a few essays from naturalist M. Krishnan’s My Native Land: Essays on Nature .

 

“The book was included in the syllabus in 2017. It was only a week ago that it was brought to our notice that Ms. Roy had glorified Maoists. So we formed a committee to discuss the issue and the panel recommended its withdrawal,” Mr. Pitchumani, who was appointed Vice-Chancellor last year, told The Hindu .

“Besides the ABVP, others complained too, and the issue assumed multiple dimensions. So we decided to withdraw the book. It is appropriate that Krishnan is from Tirunelveli,” he also added.

Ms. Roy’s book was prescribed for the third semester of M.A. English, under Commonwealth Writing. It was part of the syllabus for the last three years. She first wrote it as a long essay in Outlook magazine in March 2010 .

“The terse, typewritten note slipped under my door in a sealed envelope confirmed my appointment with India’s gravest internal security threat. I’d been waiting for months to hear from them,” begins Ms. Roy, who ventured into the forests to meet the Maoists.

Accusing the book of openly supporting the killing fields and riots by the “anti-national Maoists”, ABVP Dakshin Tamil Nadu joint secretary C. Vignesh urged the Vice-Chancellor to remove the book from the syllabus.

He said it was regrettable that Maoist and Naxal ideas had been imposed on the students for the last three years.

“The teachers also taught an anti-national subject. Students are subjected to mental agony as the book encourages hatred against our country,” he said, demanding its removal from the syllabus and an apology from the university.

Warning to varsity

Mr. Vignesh had warned that if the University delayed its decision to withdraw the book from the syllabus, the ABVP would bring it to the notice of the Union Ministry of Education.

“We will launch protests,” Mr. Vignesh had warned.

Organiser, the mouthpiece of the RSS, also carried a report against the book. “The book allegedly glorifies the Maoists, who are classified as Bharat’s gravest internal security threat,” the magazine said.

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