A portrait of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. (HT Archive)
A portrait of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar. (HT Archive)

Inclusion of RSS ideologues’ books in college syllabus sparks row in Kerala

But the Students Federation of India, the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the V-C maintained that these books were part of the post-graduate course to let students realise the “divisive and hate politics of the RSS and its propagators”
PUBLISHED ON SEP 10, 2021 03:00 PM IST

The inclusion of books written by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologues VD Savarkar, MS Golwalkar and Deendayal Upadhyaya in the syllabus of a post-graduate course in Kannur University (north Kerala) has kicked up a row. State higher education minister R Bindhu on Friday sought a report from the vice-chancellor of the university regarding the issue.

Activists of the Kerala Students Union, the student wing of the Congress, and the Muslim Students Federation, the youth wing of the Muslim League, burnt copies of the books and the syllabus in the university on Thursday. The Communist Party of India (CPI), part of the ruling Left Democratic Front, also criticised the move to include these books.

But the Students Federation of India (SFI), the student wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), and the V-C maintained that these books were part of the postgraduate course to let students realise the “divisive and hate politics of the RSS and its propagators”.

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“This is a sensitive issue. I have sought details from the V-C. Personally I feel such content is not good,” said Bindhu. But V-C Gopinath Raveendran said the syllabus was decided by an academic committee and he did not find anything wrong in it.

“We should understand the ideas of those we are opposing. If we ban such works what is the difference between us and Taliban,” he said, adding that blind opposition to other ideas or thought is also wrong. He said these books are a part of a 30-book syllabus.

“These books are included in the comparative literature section of a post-graduate course and students should realise these men’s thoughts and the damage they did to the country and society in general, only after going through them,” said university union chairman MK Hassan, a leader of the SFI.

These books are included in the third semester of the public administration course at the Government Brennen College in Thalassery, the alma mater of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Extracts of Savarkar’s Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?, Golwarkar’s We or Our Nationhood Defined, Upadhyaya’s Integral Humanism and Balraj Madhok’s Indianisation, What, Why and How are included in the syllabus, among 30 books.

Many academics and writers also criticised the move. “It is really shocking how such books got into the syllabus,” said literary critic and writer professor MN Karassery.

But a section of teachers said it was not proper to blindly oppose books of a particular ideology, adding that students should imbibe different connotations and ideologies to arrive at a conclusion.

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