‘Those Who Laid Foundation To Break India…’: DU VC On Poet Who Penned ‘Saare Jahan Se Achha’

Delhi University Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh recently voiced his opinion on the removal of certain figures from the syllabus, stating that those who contributed to the division of India should not be included. This statement came after the academic council’s decision to exclude a chapter on Muhammad Iqbal, Pakistan’s national poet, from the political science curriculum. Iqbal, who was born in 1877 in Sialkot in undivided India, gained fame for his notable composition “saare jahan se achha” (better than the entire world). He is often recognized as one of the proponents behind the conception of Pakistan.

During a recent meeting, the academic council of Delhi University made a decision to eliminate the chapter titled ‘Modern Indian Political Thought’ from the sixth-semester paper of the BA program. University officials have stated that the matter will now be presented to the executive council of Delhi University (DU) for a final decision, as reported by PTI.

Vice Chancellor Singh said Iqbal wrote songs supporting the “Muslim League” and the “Pakistan Movement”.

“Iqbal was the first to raise the idea of partition of India and the establishment of Pakistan. Instead of teaching such people, we should study our national heroes. Those who laid the foundation to break India should not be in the syllabus,” the vice chancellor (VC) said, after meeting. The university said the VC’s proposal was unanimously passed by the academic council.

In the meeting that ended around 1:20 am on Saturday, the syllabus for the fourth, fifth and sixth semesters of various courses under the Undergraduate Curriculum Framework (UGCF) 2022 was passed, it said.

In addition to the removal of the chapter, the meeting also reviewed the recommendations put forth by the standing committee regarding the proposed BA course by the philosophy department. These recommendations were unanimously approved, with the head of the department in agreement, as stated by the university.

In a recent meeting, the academic council of Delhi University made significant decisions. The philosophy department’s BA courses on “Philosophy of Dr Ambedkar,” “Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi,” and “Philosophy of Swami Vivekananda” were approved, while the Vice Chancellor also encouraged the inclusion of Savitribai Phule in the curriculum. The head of the economics department was advised to prepare a paper on Dr BR Ambedkar’s economic thoughts, emphasizing the study of Indian, US, and European economic models.

Furthermore, the council approved the introduction of three new B.Tech programs in computer science and engineering, electronics and communication engineering, and electrical engineering, set to commence in the academic session 2023-2024. The Udmoday Foundation’s “University of Delhi Innovation and Startup Policy” also received approval. Additionally, two new five-year LLB courses were sanctioned, along with the establishment of the Center for Independence and Partition Studies. The center aims to research lesser-known heroes, events, and the impact of the Partition, including recording oral histories of those affected.

Approval was granted for the creation of a multi-disciplinary Tribal Studies Center, focusing on various tribes in India, their social, cultural, linguistic, religious, and economic aspects, as well as the contributions of tribal leaders throughout history. The center aims to uncover unsung heroes, document folk traditions, and examine the role of tribal leaders in India’s freedom struggle.

The academic council also gave the go-ahead for the Integrated Teacher Education Program (ITEP), a four-year pilot project, aimed at post-secondary education or following the structure outlined in the National Education Policy-2020 (5+3+3+4). However, six council members dissented, expressing concerns about lack of consultation with teachers and bypassing relevant committees.

In the zero-hour session, various issues were raised, including concerns about displaced temporary and ad hoc teachers, as well as opposition to a Delhi University notification regarding college timings, which allegedly lacked discussion with the academic and executive councils.

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