Faculty members of the University of Mumbai have decided to raise their voices against vice-chancellor Rajan Welukar’s decision to withdraw Rohinton Mistry’s Booker-nominated novel Such a Long Journey from the English syllabus.
The University of Mumbai Academic Staff Association (Umasa) members have decided to draft a letter and send it to the chancellor of universities and governor of Maharashtra, K Sankaranarayanan. “Most faculty members were against the manner in which the book was pulled out of the syllabus,” said a faculty.
In the last week of August, Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray’s grandson Aditya, 20, along with members of the Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena met the vice-chancellor and demanded that the book be dropped as it contained matter against Shiv Sena and the city’s dabbawalas. Within 24 hours, Welukar convened an emergency meeting with the members of the board of studies of English and the book was dropped.
Academicians have been aghast at the manner in which the university adhered to a political party.
Dr Frazer Masca-renhas, principal of St Xavier's College, where Mistry studied, and various citizen groups have openly criticised the decision of withdrawing the book.
“While everyone’s sentiments should be considered, such haste was not required. The new board of studies is going to meet soon and it would have been absolutely fine if they had recommended some other book in its place. But, what is not correct is bowing to a political student outfit’s diktat,” said an Umasa member.