The essay that the Delhi University does not want its history students to read
22 October 2011
The scholarly essay by A. K. Ramanujan. "Three Hundred Ramayanas: Five Examples and Three Thoughts on Translation.’ appeared in The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan, ed. Vinay Dharwadker. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999. A controversy has been brewing in Delhi University around Ramanujan’s essay on many Ramayanas. This essay was part of the readings in one of the history courses. In 2008 some activists of the Far Right Hindutwa attacked teachers in the Delhi University’s history department and demanded that the essay be removed from the reading list. The history department teachers, of course, refused to comply. The issue ended up in the Supreme Court which wanted the opinion of an academic expert committee. Three out of the four members of the committee stated that the essay ought to be read by students. Recently the Vice Chancellor and the Academic Council over ruled the opinion of the history department, as well as the expert committee and removed the essay from the list of recommended readings. This valuable essay is being made available here at sacw.net in public interest and for educational use.