The controversial syllabus of Kannur University's Politics and Governance master's course is problematic, said Kerala Minister R Bindu, on behalf of the Higher Education Department in Kerala.
“A good portion of the syllabus appears to have been prepared with the idea that political thought means views concerning religion and caste,” Kerala Higher Education Minister Bindu wrote on a Facebook post.
The controversy arose after it emerged that there was a recommendation of books by prominent ideologues of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) like MS Gowalkar.
"The syllabus should allow all streams of political thoughts in the country and let students critically examine them all and reach conclusions. It would be limiting to introduce political thought through only a few interpretations."R Bindu, Minister of Higher Education of Kerala
She also made it clear that the government does not want the syllabus to lead to the empowerment of communal agenda. “It will be dangerous to convert classrooms, which should continue to be secular, as spaces for communal thoughts,” she said. “The higher education department has informed its thoughts on the matter to the University,” Bindu wrote.
The Kannur University had refuted allegations that it was trying to "saffronise" education by including books of RSS ideologues in the syllabus.
The minister said that the government trusts the Kannur University will examine the controversial syllabus and if necessary, make changes, as it promised.
On Saturday, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan commented on the issue and said that people who oppose diverse views are at a loss. He told the media that while education lets you distinguish between what you consider right or wrong, diversity was the law of nature. “People who feel uncomfortable with the studies of diverse views will cause loss to themselves,” the governor said.
A day earlier, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the government would not glorify ideas and leaders who had not been supportive of the country’s freedom struggle.
A number of protests by various student unions had increased since Thursday, 9 September, after the university’s plan to include the controversial books in the syllabus. The student wings of the Congress party and the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) – Kerala Students Union and Muslim Students Federation, respectively – staged protests on the campus of Brennen College in Kannur.
(Published in an arrangement with The News Minute.)