Kerala College Magazine Asked to Remove 'Over-Politicised References'

The principal and staff editor wanted words including 'Dalit’, ‘beef’ and ‘fascism’ removed from the annual student magazine of the Government Arts and Science College, Nadapuram.

New Delhi: A college magazine in Kerala has reportedly been asked to remove certain “over-politicised references” – which includes the words ‘Dalit’, ‘beef’ and ‘fascism’.

According to a report in The Hindu, the 2016-17 edition of Imirichalu, Choodanthiri, Poyachalu, the annual magazine of Government Arts and Science College, Nadapuram, has drawn the ire of college authorities. The principal of the college reportedly said he was not against political ideas, but “social and political criticism that crosses the limits.”

Favas M., an editorial committee member, told The Hindu that the magazine was divided into three parts based on the three words in its name. It was the ‘Imirichalu’ section, which means frustration and talked about contemporary politics, that the administration had a problem with. Students were asked to remove an interview with MLA V.T. Balram because the questions were “directly targeting the Sangh parivar“. “The authorities claim that we cannot attack any political idea directly. There is another poem on the beef politics. They want the word beef to be changed as food and remove references to fascism elsewhere,” Favas told the newspaper.

The cover image – an illustration that involves a cow – must also be changed, the administration said. According to Favas, the principal said since people who worship cows are ruling the country, such things cannot be allowed.

Both the staff editor and principal wanted the word ‘Dalit’ to be replaced with ‘brother’ or ‘sister’, Favas added. “The principal says freedom of expression cannot be allowed to this extent. We can have stories, poems, and articles about love, flowers and butterflies. Such political criticism cannot be allowed in a magazine from a government college,” he told The Hindu. Student editor of the magazine Mohammed Velloli added that students had been asked to remove content from 18 pages of the magazine. He said that though the magazine was formally released two months ago, it had not yet been distributed among students.

M. Jothiraj, the college principal, told The Hindu that students had been asked to remove certain “over-politicised references”: “There are certain over-politicised references in the content. I just asked them to dilute them a bit. We are not against social or political criticism, but it should not cross the limits.”

In June this year, the annual magazine of the Government Brennen College at Thalassery was singled out by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS, for allegedly insulting the national anthem. A caricature published in the magazine showed a couple having sex behind a seat in a cinema while the national anthem played. The college stopped circulation of the magazine, while the students’ union said that it was published in good faith and was being misinterpreted by some students, the New Indian Express reported.

In April 2016, the college magazine of the Zamorin’s Guruvayoorappan College, Kozhikode came under attack from the ABVP for alleged “anti-Hindu remarks”. An article in the magazine, Manorama reported, questioned the execution of Afzal Guru and the way the case against him was handled. Based on a complaint from the ABVP, Kerala police had said they would file a case against the students’ union of the college. ABVP members had also burnt copies of the magazine.

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