The Academic Council of Delhi University on Friday passed a motion to remove a chapter on Pakistan's national poet Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal, from the political science syllabus, members of the statutory body confirmed.
Born in 1877 in Sialkot in undivided India, Iqbal wrote the famous song 'Saare jahan se achha'. He is also known for giving birth to the 'idea of Pakistan'.
The chapter titled 'Modern Indian Political Thought' is part of BA's sixth-semester paper, officials said. The decision is pending for approval before the Executive Council of the university that will take the final call.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), meanwhile, welcomed the development.
"A motion was brought regarding a change in the syllabus of political science. As per the motion, there was a chapter on Iqbal that has been removed from the syllabus," said an Academic Council member.
A unit on Iqbal titled 'Iqbal: Community', which is part of the syllabus was reviewed by news agency PTI. There are 11 units as part of the course with the objective to study important themes through individual thinkers. Other thinkers that are also part of the course include Rammohan Roy, Pandita Ramabai, Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, and Bhimrao Ambedkar.
"The course has been designed to give students a glimpse into the richness and diversity within the Indian political thought," the syllabus mentions. The course is aimed to equip students with a critical understanding of modern Indian thought, it adds.
"The thematic exploration of ideas is meant to locate the topical debates on important subjects on a historical trajectory and reflect over the diverse possibilities exhibited in the writings of the respective thinkers," it further stated.
Meanwhile, the ABVP welcomed the move, saying "fanatic theological scholar" Iqbal was responsible for India's partition. "Delhi University academic council decided to scrap fanatic theological scholar Mohd Iqbal from DU's political science syllabus. It was previously included in BA's sixth-semester paper titled 'Modern Indian political thought," the ABVP said in a statement.
The decision to remove Mohammad Iqbal, responsible for fanatic sectarian extremism and division in the country, from the DU syllabus is commendable: ABVP pic.twitter.com/UGmdxrCqoW— ABVP Delhi (@ABVPDelhi) May 27, 2023
"Mohammad Iqbal is called the 'philosophical father of Pakistan'. He was the key player in establishing Jinnah as a leader in Muslim League. Mohammad Iqbal is as responsible for India's partition as Mohammad Ali Jinnah is," it added.
The university in a statement issued early Saturday morning, justified the decision to drop the unit on Iqbal on the grounds that he ‘laid the foundation to break India’ and therefore should not be included in the syllabus. According to the university’s press release, the proposal was put forth by DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Singh during the meeting. ‘Instead of teaching such individuals, we should study our national heroes,” the press release quoted him as saying, according to a report by Indian Express.
Recently, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) removed references to freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was India’s first education minister, in its latest syllabus revision for the new class 11 political science textbook, drawing criticism from certain sections of society.
As part of its "syllabus rationalisation" exercise last year, the NCERT has dropped certain portions from the course including lessons on Gujarat riots, Mughal courts, the Emergency, Cold War, Naxalite movement, among others from its textbooks. The organisation cited "overlapping" and "irrelevant" as reasons for the decision.
The NCERT’s latest revision has received heavy criticism from academics, as well as Opposition politicians, who came up in arms against the Narendra Modi-led government.
(With inputs from PTI)