Controversy in DU Over Proposal to Drop Undergrad Course on Ambedkar's Philosophy: Report

The philosophy department has expressed 'strong reservations' about this proposal made by the Standing Committee on Academic Matters.

New Delhi: A recent proposal by Delhi University’s Standing Committee on Academic Matters – that an elective course on Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s philosophy be removed from the undergraduate programme – has drawn criticism from the university’s philosophy department, The Indian Express reported. The department has requested the vice-chancellor to retain the course.

The course in question is offered to students enrolled for the BA Programme degree.

According to The Indian Express, the philosophy department’s curriculum committee has expressed “strong reservations” about the proposal, saying “Ambedkar is an indigenous thinker representative of the social aspirations of a majority of people in the country”.

A member of the Standing Committee told the newspaper that no final decision had been taken yet, as that power rests with the Academic Council, the apex decision-making body on academic matters.

“This (the Ambedkar course) is not being dropped and this suggestion was not given by the committee. The suggestion was that new courses and old courses should be mixed together and it should be designed in such a manner that it should be attractive to the students and it should be designed in a way that it will be adopted in many colleges also… We suggested philosophies of thinkers from all backgrounds should be added,” Standing Committee Chairperson and Dean of Colleges Balram Pani told the newspaper.

However, other sources told The Indian Express that the proposal to drop the course very much existed.

Dean of the Faculty of Arts Amitava Chakraborty, who was present in a May 8 meeting where the proposal was discussed, told The Indian Express, “There were several suggestions made by the House to the philosophy courses presented before it. One such suggestion was to align the contents of the course ‘Philosophy of B R Ambedkar’… and to offer courses of other philosophical thinkers of India representing different approaches and schools of thought, so that students have options to choose any thinker they wish to study.”