The demand to remove controversial writer-activist Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd’s books from political science post graduate syllabus for being “vitriolic towards Hindu faith” was raised in Delhi University’s Standing Committee for Academic Affairs meeting.
The Hindu has quoted Professor Suman, who is a member of the Academic Council and the Standing Committee saying, “A decision was taken for the removal of Kancha Ilaiah’s books from the political science syllabus due to their controversial content”. The three books being objected to are ‘Why I am not a Hindu’; ‘God as Political Philosopher: Buddha’s Challenge to Brahminism’; and ‘Post-Hindu India: A Discourse in Dalit-Bahujan Socio-Spiritual and Scientific Revolution’.
The Indian Express has quoted Professor Hansraj Suman saying, “We decided to remove the books ‘Why I am not a Hindu’, ‘Buffalo Nationalism’ and ‘Post-Hindu India’ because they are insulting to Hinduism. We felt it would not be appropriate for students to read it.” He also said that the decisions need to give green light by the AC. A meeting would be held before November 15.
Professor Suman also raised objection over the use of the word ‘Dalit’ in a paper titled Dalit Bahujan Political Thought under the political science course. He maintained that the word ‘Dalit’ has been banned at many places and suggested to use the recommended usage of the word that is ‘Scheduled Caste’. The standing committee gave its nod to the suggestion.
The News18 has quoted Professor Geeta Bhatt, who is a member of Delhi University (DU) academic council, saying that that Ilaiah’s books were his understanding of Hindu faith and “there is no empirical data to establish his understanding”. She also said, “The political science department should look into its syllabus. These books by Kancha Ilaiah are vitriolic towards Hindu faith.” She further added that Ilaiah wrote about how “Hindutva school wants me to treat my Christian and Muslim brothers as enemies” and how “the very sight of saffron tilak harasses him”. Geeta Bhatt continued, “He has problems with word like ‘tapasya’. It is all about his mind and his understanding of a faith. As an academic piece, there is no content in it and no reason to teach it. His every book has this vitriol.”
Kancha Ilaiah books has always attracted controversies, they are full of anti-Hindu, anti-Brahmin, and anti-upper caste rants. His works are a collection of absurd conspiracy theories, half-truths, anti-Hindu rants, racial myths, and scream a lack of methodical research. Kancha Ilaiah had once also said that ‘vegetarianism is anti-nationalism’. He also said, “For me, my nation starts with eating beef. Unfortunately, we gave up eating beef and our brains are not growing now. There is no enough protein.”
It’s good to see that finally the DU administration has suggested removal of his books from the syllabus. This is a huge victory for those who had fought for the removal of his anti-Hindu and anti-Brahmin books from the university’s syllabus.
Earlier in the last meeting, the committee had raised strong objections against the books of naxal and Urban Naxals apologist- professor Nandini Sundar’s ‘Subalterns and Sovereigns: An Anthropological History of Bastar’ and professor Archana Prasad’s ‘Against Ecological Romanticism: Verrier Elwin and the Making of an Anti-Modern Tribal Identity (2003)’. At that time Opindia quoted Professor Geeta Bhatt saying, “It was a meeting of the standing committee of academic matters where syllabus of all Post Graduate departments had come for approval. The History department prescribed these books for teaching a paper on Adivasis, Caste and social exclusion. Concern was raised as the book by Nandini Sundar glorifies the Naxalites and their deeds while Archana Prasad’s book gives legitimacy to conversions of tribals.”