Nandini Sundar’s ‘controversial’ book likely to be part of Delhi University’s reading list
The renowned sociologist’s book was allegedly dropped from the department’s reading list last year after some members of the rightwing teachers’ group, National Democratic Teachers’ Front, objected to its content.
The sociology department of Delhi University (DU) is considering including sociologist Nandini Sundar’s book ‘The Burning Forest: India’s war in Bastar’ in its revised MA syllabus.
Sundar’s book was allegedly dropped from the department’s reading list last year after some members of the Right-inclined teachers’ group, National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), opposed to its content.
Officials at the department, however, said the book was “technically” never removed from the list. “The existing reading list has not been revised in the last one decade. So, the book was technically never a part of the reading list as it was published in 2016,” a faculty member familiar with the development said.
The faculty members said that the process of revising the reading list was stalled last year following the opposition over Sundar’s book. “The revision of the syllabus is underway and we are now considering adding Sundar’s book for the political sociology paper,” the member said.
Sundar also confirmed the development. “The inclusion of my book is under consideration. However, the department is yet to take the final call, “she said.
Despite several attempts, the head of the Sociology department at DU, Roma Chatterji, could not be contacted for a comment.
Some members of the Sociology department’s staff council, however, said they are not in favour of including the book as they want to avoid controversy. “There was a staff council meeting regarding the revision of syllabus on Friday wherein some members opposed to the idea to include the book. We do not want to create unnecessary controversy again,” said a staff council member, who wished to remain anonymous.
All departments at DU are revising the syllabi of their postgraduate courses to fit in the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) format. Under the CBSE format, which is currently being followed at the undergraduate level, students are given a choice to choose from prescribed courses, which are referred as ‘core’, ‘elective’ and ‘open elective’ courses.
A fresh controversy triggered at the DU on August 28, when some members of the University’s standing committee for academic affairs asked for removal of two books, including another of Sundar’s book ‘Subalterns and Sovereigns: An Anthropological History of Bastar’, from the reading list of the History department. They said it was not “suitable for the students”. The matter will now be discussed in the academic council meeting to be held in the last week of this month.