Network of Concerned Historians (NCH)
On 9 October 2011, Delhi University removed a celebrated scholarly essay on the Ramayanas from the reading list against the will of the history department. Historians from India ask us to consider signing a petition to protest the removal of this essay. Below you will find
* a link to the petition;
* a link to the essay;
* a link to two newspaper articles providing background;
* the text of the petition;
* an email by a colleague from Delhi summarizing the case.
We hope that you can sign the petition immediately. Please remember to mention your professional affiliation and your country.
With best wishes,
Antoon De Baets
LINK TO PETITION
LINK TO ESSAY
A.K. Ramanujan, "Three Hundred Ramayanas Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation," The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan, ed. Vinay Dharwadker (Delhi Oxford University Press, 1999), 131–160 http//dl.dropbox.com/u/40840931/AKRamanujan_ThreeHundredRamayanas.pdf
LINK TO NEWSPAPER ARTICLES PROVIDING BACKGROUND
* S.N. Vijetha, "Historians protest as Delhi University purges Ramayana essay from syllabus," The Hindu (15 October 2011) http//www.thehindu.com/news/national/article2538301.ece
* S.N. Vijetha, "Ramayana row DU Council ignored opinion of three experts," The Hindu (19 October 2011) http//www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/article2550965.ece
TEXT OF THE PETITION
To Vice Chancellor, University of Delhi
We express our profound shock that the Delhi University Academic Council has decided to drop A.K. Ramanujanâ’s highly acclaimed essay on many Ramayanas from the B.A. History course. The late Professor Ramanujan is recognized all over the world as one of the most eminent authorities on pre-modern literature and culture. The essay "Three Hundred Ramayanas Five Examples and Three Thoughts" shows in rich detail how Indian culture is constituted of a multiplicity of traditions, how it speaks with many voices. It is an essay that all young people, not just history students, ought to read. To delete it from the syllabus is an act that is deeply disturbing, an instance of thought policing. Such a measure will only encourage sectarian groups to try and prevent intellectuals from expressing their ideas freely. The action of the Vice Chancellor and the Academic Council is particularly distressing since it overrules the majority opinion of the Expert Committee that was set up (under the direction of the Supreme Court) to look into the controversy.
EMAIL SUMMARIZING THE CASE
From Anubhuti Maurya
Date 21 October 2011 1446
Subject Protest Letter agains the removal of AK Ramanujan’s essay on the Ramayanas
Many of you may know that for some time now a controversy has been brewing in Delhi University around Ramanujan’s essay on many Ramayanas. This essay was part of the readings in one of the B.A. history courses. Over a year back some Hindutva activists attacked teachers in the DU history department and demanded that the essay be removed from the reading list. The history department teachers, of course, refused to comply. The issue ended up in the Supreme Court which wanted the opinion of an academic expert committee. Three out of the four members of the committee stated that the essay ought to be read by students. Recently the Vice Chancellor and the Academic Council overruled the opinion of the history department, as well as the expert committee and removed the essay from the list of recommended readings.