Mistry’s book unlikely in univ syllabus again

The Maharashtra government is unlikely to act on the abrupt withdrawal of Rohinton Mistry's book Such a Long Journey from the syllabus of BA second year of the Mumbai University, political and government sources said on Wednesday.

The book was withdrawn by the university after Shiv Sena's executive president Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya led a delegation demanding withdrawal of the book on grounds that it had derogatory references to Maharashtrians and the Sena.

"Books prescribed in the syllabus are scrutinised by the Board of Studies of the university before being prescribed and the university has the power of withdrawing a book," a state minister told The Indian Express. He said the only thing the government could do was to check whether proper procedure was followed for the book's withdrawal.

"It appears that the book was withdrawn because it was felt that its continuation in the syllabus might cause law and order problem," said the minister adding, "and considering that Aditya Thackeray was raking up the issue now, when he is likely to be launched as the Sena youth leader, not withdrawing the book would have given him an opportunity to exploit the issue for gaining political mileage."

The minister said that prompt action against the university for abruptly withdrawing the book could be embarrassing for the government if it was proved at a later stage that the university had followed proper procedure in withdrawing it.

Meanwhile, CM Ashok Chavan said he would hold discussions with all the parties regarding forming a code of conduct to deal with such "objectionable" books.

Chavan said that a committee was in place to scrutinise the books to be included in a curriculum and decisions were taken only after the its nod. Historical facts could not be changed if backed by solid proof, said Chavan, however, he refused to comment on the Mumbai University V-C Rajan Welukar's decision to withdraw Mistry's book.

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