Manonmaniam Sundaranar University in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, has decided to withdraw Arundhati Roy’s book named “Walking with the Comrades” from its postgraduate English syllabus. Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad and several others have raised objections against the book.
The book ‘Walking with the Comrades’ is based on Roy’s visit to Maoist hideouts. ABVP and other complainants alleged that the book glorified the Maoists and contains anti-national content.
The meeting was headed by Vice-Chancellor K. Pitchumani and decided to replace the curriculum with few essays from naturalist M. Krishnan’s My Native Land: Essays on Nature.
“The book was included in the syllabus in 2017. It was only a week ago that it was brought to our notice that Ms. Roy had glorified Maoists. So we formed a committee to discuss the issue, and the panel recommended its withdrawal,” stated Pitchumani.
He further added, “Besides the ABVP, others complained too, and the issue assumed multiple dimensions. So we decided to withdraw the book. It is appropriate that Krishnan is from Tirunelveli.”
Under Commonwealth writing, Arundhati Roy’s book was prescribed for the third semester of MA English, and it was part of the syllabus for the past three years. Firstly, she had written it as a long essay in Outlook Magazine in March 2010.
ABVP Dakshin Tamil Nadu joint secretary C. Vignesh accused the book of supporting killing fields and riots by the anti-national Maoists and urged the Vice-Chancellor to remove it from the curriculum.
Vignesh also stated that it is highly regrettable that Maoists and Naxal ideas had been imposed on students from the past three years. “The teachers also taught an anti-national subject. Students are subjected to mental agony as the book encourages hatred against our country,” he added.
Vignesh has also warned the Varsity that if the syllabus will not be removed, they are going to launch protests and will also approach Union Ministry of Education.