In 1990, at Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu government set up Manonmaniam Sundararanar University (MSU) with a campus spread of 550 acres, as a teaching-cum-affiliating institution to cater the long-felt needs of the people of the Tirunelveli, Thoothkudi, Kanyakumari, Tenkasi districts.
Now the MSU is in the eye of controversy over its inclusion of ‘Walking with the Comrades’, a controversial book written by Arundhati Roy that talks about Maoist terrorism in Bharat. The book allegedly glorifies the Maoists, who are classified as the Bharat’s gravest internal security threat.
Arundhati Roy is known for her extreme leftwing political views and anti-Hindu narratives. She claimed to have spent several days with the red terrorists in their strongholds. Her book has been included in MSU‘s Post Graduation (MA English), non-fiction category. Despite protests from various corners, the book was included in the syllabus three years ago.
ABVP, in a letter to the Vice-Chancellor Pichumani, drew his attention to the controversy. “MSU is an important institution where innumerable scholars and intellectuals have studied. Arundhati Roy’s book ‘Walking with the Comrades’ has been included in the syllabus for MA English (third semester), as part of Unit V (commonwealth literature). This is about the arms training given to the Maoists, who are considered as anti-nationals. It is highly regrettable that this book has been in the syllabus for the past three years. All these years Maoists thoughts and ideologies have been taught to the young students. The book instils anti-national sentiments in young fertile minds and encourages terrorism. We urge the MSU to condemn the inclusion of this book and withdraw the book immediately. The people behind this ulterior move should be asked to apologise. We will organise protests if it is not withdrawn from the curriculum,” said the student organisation.
Senior journalist and member of MUS Senate Sri Ram said, “Teachers should realise that portraying Maoist cadres as heroes would create a wrong impression among the youngsters. The current VC Pitchumani, whose three-year-term ends very shortly, assured that he would remove the book from the curriculum.”
ABVP Dakshin Tamil Nadu joint secretary Vignesh said that we have met the VC and requested him to withdraw the book by Arundhati Roy. There are forces in Tamil Nadu, which try to push their agenda. We appeal to the authorities concerned to take stringent action to avoid such recurrence in future.”