The meeting of the Delhi University Standing Committee for Academic Affairs, according to media reports, in its meeting on 24 October, 2018 has recommended to drop teaching of my three books for M.A. Political Science course. The three books 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’
This is an unfortunate Anti-academic attempt, which is part of the larger RSS/BJP’s agenda to not to allow plural ideas to be taught to the students in the universities. The right wing academicians who demanded for removing the books said “his understanding of Hindu faith is wrong and there is no empirical data to establish his understanding’. While saying so they have not shown the basic academic ethic of reading my books.
God as Political Philosopher is my Ph.D. Thesis, which is heavily referenced. It has nothing to with Hindu faith. Post Hindu India is a book of massive data base from the village communities’ production knowledge and scientific experimentation process of various productive communities. Those who do not have any understanding of village production relations hardly understand that book. Unless they get back to the village life and study the production relations and they say it is anti-something or the other does not make sense. It is published by Sage an internationally reputed publishers. They cannot rubbish my research work of 10 long years.
Why I am Not a Hindu is known as a classic, being taught in many universities in the West and India. The Hindutva forces are opposing teaching and reading of this book in many countries—including in the Columbia University US. Scholars such as Lise McKean, Linda Hess, Eliza Kent etc., recommend it as an introduction level reading material on Hinduism. The Hindutva forces opposed but they did not succeed in removing it. The same forces are trying once again in DU.
The same forces are asking for inclusion of Savarkar’s book “ Hindutva-Who is a Hindu? and Golwalkar’s book ‘Bunch of Thoughts’ to be taught in the universities. Are these books referenced? Is there empirical data in these books?
While their right to ask for what they want to teach is part of their academic freedom but asking for removal of other books that they do not agree with is Anti-academic and destructive. Universities are meant for teaching and debating diversified ideas, concepts. Hundreds of thoughts must clash there. Universities are not theological institutes where only one religious ideas are taught.
The MHRD must not allow this kind of destructive un-academic processes to continue in DU and also in other universities. I appeal to the academic fraternity to fight this trend in the nation and protect the academic freedom and autonomy.
Prof. Kancha Ilaiah Shepherd is Chairman T-MASS and political theorist.