The academic council of Delhi University has passed a proposal to drop references to Urdu scholar Muhammad Iqbal from the Political Science syllabus for undergraduates.
Announcing the decision, Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh, who presided over the meeting, said that those “who laid the foundation to break India should not be in the syllabus” and emphasised on “teaching Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar more and more.”
Iqbal, who penned the famous song ‘Saare jahan se achha’ is often credited with giving birth to the idea of Pakistan.
Students studied Iqbal as part of a chapter titled “Modern Indian Political Thought” in the sixth semester of the B.A. programme.
Mr. Singh said, “Iqbal wrote songs supporting the Muslim League and the Pakistan Movement. Iqbal was the first to raise the idea of Partition of India and establishment of Pakistan. Instead of teaching about such persons, we should study our national heroes.”
In its 15-hour-long meeting that ended at 1.20 a.m. on May 27, the academic council also passed proposals to set up the Centre for Independence and Partition Studies as well as a Tribal Studies Centre. The Partition Studies Centre would undertake research on less-known heroes and events of the Freedom movement, which have not yet found a place in history. On August 14, 2021, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that the day would be annually observed as Partition Horrors Remembrance Day in memory of the struggles, sacrifice and pain of people of the India.
“Incidents during the tragedy of the Partition of India will also be deeply studied and researched and oral history will be recorded in the voices of the people of that era who have suffered this tragedy,” the university said. It added that studies will also be done to fully understand the challenges faced in achieving independence from foreign rule and the physical, emotional, economic and cultural losses faced by the people due to the geographical division of the country.
Six members of the academic council gave their dissenting note on the Centre for Independence and Partition Studies saying that the proposal was “divisive” as one of its objectives says the Centre would study and research the invasions, and consequent sufferings and slavery that occurred in the past 1,300 years. “A discussion on 1,300 years will only provide an opportunity for venomous communal speeches. Credible historical scholarship of every conceivable variety has established Partition to be the outcome of a specific modern and colonial context,” the members said.
The University of Delhi Innovation and Startup Policy, three new programmes of B.Tech by the Faculty of Technology that are to start from the academic session 2023-2024 and two five-year courses of LLB were also approved.
The Academic Council also approved the running of an Integrated Teacher Education Programme (ITEP), which is a 4-year course as a pilot project. The Vice-Chancellor said that this will not have any impact on the teacher education programmes already being offered. Six members of the academic council dissented, saying there was no consultation in this regard with the teachers and that it was an attempt to replace the well-established B.El.Ed with an academically unclear programme.