Hindutva stifling of academic freedom in India

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Bharata Asks for Rama's Footwear

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From The Hindu:

Most academicians at Delhi University are feeling betrayed by their own fraternity, the reason — the Academic Council’s recent decision to drop from the history syllabus a celebrated essay by the late scholar and linguist A. K. Ramanujan on the Ramayana, despite intense opposition from the history department.

The essay, “Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five examples and three thoughts on translations,” which forms part of the B.A. History (Honours) course, had attracted the ire of Hindutva activists because it talks about 300 different versions of the Ramayana that abound in our country and beyond. And when the decision to scrap the course was put to vote at the Academic Council meeting this past Sunday, only nine of the 120 members present dissented. [READ THE REST]

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One response »

  1. I am really shocked by this articles. Obviously, the supporters of Mr Ramajunan’s essay are followers of certain ideology, and certainly not scholars. There are not too many verstions of Ramayana. There is only one original, and that is by Valmiki. Yes, the story was so popular that every belief system adopted it according to their own doctrine. Buddhists saw Ram in Buddha, Janis saw Ram in their Arhats, Indonesians saw Ram as their own, an ancesstor of a Muslim sultan. Unless it is explained why Valmik’s original was distorted in so many ways, a reader can be easily mislead to believe that there have been too many versions of Ramayana, parallel to that of Valmiki. Should we ask our students to confuse whether Ram was an Indian, Indonesian, Russian or Egyptian, as the story of Ram has gone every where in some form, but all this happened after the story was first told by Valmiki. Mr Ramanujan’s article is far from scholarly, if almost ignores Tulsi Ramayan, and tells us far less than what Father Camille Bulcke has in his 1950 RAMKATHA, and nothing tnew that is not there. The only difference is that Father Bulcke is inspired by Tulsi Ramayana which, I doubt, Mr Ramanujan ever read. Then why so much fuss on something that is neither scholarly, nor new research. Finally, will these idiologically motivated protesters recommend teaching Koran with Satanic Verses just because the latter is another version of the Allah’s message. I doubt they will.

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