250 intellectuals sign open letter opposing Rajya Sabha query on Pakistani author’s book.

Around 250 Indian intellectuals and academicians have signed an open letter, citing alarm over a Rajya Sabha question on “Pakistani author’s book prescribed at educational institutes in the country”.

On March 16, the University Grants Commission (UGC) wrote to all Central Universities, demanding that they provide details on the matter.

This comes around a year after AMU chose to delete the teachings of two Islamic scholars from their syllabus of the Department of Islamic Studies, with university authorities noting that the decision was reached after certain complaints were received that the teaching of the authors were “objectionable”. Egyptian author and Islamic scholar Sayyid Qutb and Pakistani novelist Abul A’lal al-Maududi had their teachings erased.

“Whether the government has taken cognizance of the fact that a book by a Pakistani author is being taught at Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia, or any other educational institution in the country, and the language is derogatory to Indian citizens and also supports terrorism; if so, the details thereof,” the universities were asked last week.

They were also asked, “Will the government consider scrutinising the contents of textbooks authored by the said Pakistani author and taking action against those responsible?”

“For leaving the book unnamed allows the question to be read as suggesting that any book by any Pakistani author that might possibly be read as ‘derogatory to Indian citizens’ and supporting terrorism’ must not be taught in any Indian university,” said the statement signed by teachers and scholars affiliated with Higher Education Institutes.

The subject line of the UGC letter is “which converts the Parliament question into an excuse to collect information on and suspect all books by Pakistani writers discussed in Indian colleges.”

The statement went on to say that education should teach students to engage with whatever looks to be “insulting” or “derogatory” and reply to it verbally rather than refusing to hear it or, worse, considering it a criminal to be met with threats of censorship and violence.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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