A day after chief minister Ashok Chavan said he would look into the procedure adopted by Mumbai vice-chancellor, Rajan Welukar, to drop the book Such A Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry from the university syllabus after protests by the Shiv Sena, Uddhav Thackeray, the party’s executive president, declared it a non-issue, saying the book deserved to be sold only at the railway stations.
Welukar decided to exclude the book from the SYBA syllabus after Aditya Thackeray, Uddhav’s son and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s grandson, who is all set to launch the Sena’s youth wing, Yuva Sena, raised objections.
He had said the book had references against the Sena chief, the famous dabbawallahs and the Marathi manoos. “People can go ahead and criticise the move. This kind of book should be sold only at railway stations,” Thackeray said while talking to the media after the inauguration of the Maharashtra Cine and Television Sena office in south Mumbai on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Chavan had also said that such objections to literary works that are brought out after extensive research, disturb the flow of good literary culture.
Uddhav argued, “For those who say this is against freedom of expression and anti-democratic, I have a question. There was a lesson on Afzalkhan’s killing that was removed from the school syllabus by a previous education minister. Will it be restored? Will the book Red Saree by Javier Moro on Sonia Gandhi be part of the syllabus?”
He added that the Sena did not ask for a ban on the book. “But if there is negative matter about the dabbawallahs and about the Marathi manoos then it should not be taught,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Congress Party has thrown its support behind the chief minister. “NCP does not have a view on the matter that is different from the government’s. We agree with the chief minister, who said he would inquire into the issue. A committee can be set up to enquire into the legitimacy of the move,” NCP state party president Madhukar Pichad said.