'More happy than sad', says Arundhati Roy as TN varsity drops her book

Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy (file picture)

Chennai: In response to reports of the removal of Arundhati Roy's book, 'Walking with the Comrades' by Manonmaniam Sundaranar University from its curriculum, the writer said that she was 'not in the least bit shocked...'

"When I heard of the Manomaniam Sundaranar University's decision to remove my book Walking With the Comrades from its curriculum following threats and pressure from the ABVP—oddly enough I was more happy than sad because I had no idea that it was in the curriculum in the first place. I am glad it has been taught for several years. I am not in the least bit shocked or surprised that it has been removed from the syllabus now. It was my duty as a writer to write it. It is not my duty to fight for its place on a university curriculum,” she said in a statement.

“That is for others to do or not do. Either way it has been widely read and as we know bans and purges do not prevent writers from being read. This narrow, shallow, insecure attitude towards literature displayed by our current regime is not just detrimental to its critics. It is detrimental to millions of its own supporters. It will limit and stunt our collective intellectual capacity as a society and a country that is striving for a place of respect and dignity in the world," she said.

After complaints from several people, including the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, against the book being part of its M A English syllabus, a state-run university in Tamil Nadu has removed it from the college curriculum.

The ABVP and others alleged the book gloried the ultras and was antinational in content. Opposition parties, the DMK and CPM, have opposed the move to take the book off the syllabus that chronicles the author's journey to hideouts of Maoists in Chhattisgarh and the way they operated out of the jungles.

The book has been part of the syllabus from 2017-18 batch for the third semester of MA in English Literature of the Tirunelveli-based University's affiliated colleges.

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