The following is the full text of the statement issued by 83 English teachers of Delhi University against the attack on the syllabus:
We, the teachers of English across Delhi University are shocked and appalled at the unacademic, politically motivated attack on our syllabus. This is a democratically drafted syllabus, which involved faculty participation from around 40 colleges; over 2 years, and more than 3000 working hours have been spent on it. It is a matter of sorrow and deep academic concern that the syllabus is now being maligned, and is sought to be scuttled, by certain political groups at the University.
To initiate the democratic exercise of syllabus revision, a call for a GBM was sent out by the HoD-DU English via letters to all colleges inviting participation. Subsequently, two GBMs were held in May and August 2017 from which Clusters and Committees were democratically organized, even as these continued to remain open during meetings, for teachers to join in and participate with their suggestions.
At every point, discussions were minuted and circulated to ensure a continuing of the democratic spirit in which the entire exercise was undertaken. The syllabus has received extensive student and faculty feedback since it has been on the department website for far longer than other subject syllabii. In our syllabus, new areas of study were introduced, and the syllabus was consciously decolonised to introduce students to a wide variety of writings in English. The syllabus was carefully worked out to ensure a seamless progression from school curricula ,transiting into postgraduate studies.In the following of due process, the syllabus has received positive feedback from both national and international experts.
We are thus deeply dismayed that deliberations which have been marked by an open, free and fair exchange of ideas, are being described as ‘Leftist’ and ‘partisan’. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is to be noted that objections that are now being raised were never submitted during the time allocated for feedback. It has now been two weeks since the University reopened and we are yet to receive our syllabus. Students of English Hons, BA Programme, BCom and all other Science and Humanities departments where English is taught both as a Compulsory paper and as an Elective, are being made victims of the political machinations of certain groups. In stalling the passing of a rigorously worked out syllabus that has a cross section of representative texts and readings and one that has been vetted and approved by University statutory bodies twice, there is also a clear campaign to malign the functioning of a reputed public university, like the University of Delhi that we all have a strong and abiding academic investment.