Political parties steer clear of controversy

Politicians across party lines would prefer if the controversy over withdrawal of author Rohinton Mistry’s book, Such a Long Journey, from the university syllabus, got a quiet burial.

Chief Minister Ashok Chavan did a volte face on Tuesday, echoing Shiv Sena’s sentiments that the book contained “objectionable language’’.  And, that it should not be part of college syllabus.

The Congress is being silent on the issue even as Sena hopes to cash on political dividends by pointing to the objectionable language used against dabbawallahs and Maharashtrians.

“It’s not an issue of the masses. Instead, if we are seen as protecting the book, we will get portrayed as anti-Marathi,” said a cabinet minister.

The NCP said that it does not want to be dragged into the controversy. NCP spokesperson Madan Bafna said, “We don’t want to get into the merit or demerit of the book. I have not read it. As a party, we feel that the sudden removal of the book following a protest was irregular.’’

Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal  was a little forthcoming. “There should be a panel or enquiry into why it was removed suddenly from the syllabus. Various authors have taken artistic liberties, used abusive language to describe the realities they are trying to portray,’’ said Bhujbal, adding that it was his personal opinion.

Sena’s alliance partner, BJP,  also ignored the issue. Party general secretary Vinod Tawde said: “The way the book was removed mid-term is objectionable. But, it’s fine if it was a reference book, but when it is part of the syllabus, it becomes problematic.”


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