St Xavier's College principal Dr Frazer Mascarenhas has questioned why Rohinton Mistry's Booker-nominated novel Such a Long Journey was dropped from Mumbai University's syllabus following pressure from Shiv Sena leader Aditya Thackeray.
In a notice put on the college's website, Mascarenhas has expressed his discontent at University's decision to withdraw a book just because few passages are against Sena's violent ways. A work of literature should not be banned "merely because it dares to critique us," the Mumbai Mirror reports.
The notice says that while the book does comment on political parties of all hues and in particular deplores the threats of violence unleashed in the 1970s by a particular party, "it is inconceivable that in the 21st century, a political outfit will not show the maturity to accept criticism and answer it by the evidence of its own actions."
"The book in question has not evoked any controversy in civil society and is considered an example of excellent literature, recounting life as lived by the common men and women of our time," the notice says.
Aditya Thackeray, the young politician, had asked the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena (BVS) to launch a protest against the book. BVS burnt copies of the novel and demanded to withdraw the book from second years Syllabus.
The University bowed down to the demand and issued notice to drop the novel from the syllabus.
A St. Xavier's college teacher said he was taken aback that the book was withdrawn by the university without any debate.
The book has been called as one of the best on Mumbai.