Delhi University is still adamant on the controversial textbook. The Vice Chancellor Dr Deepak Paintal, in his reply to the legal notice served to him by Shri Dina Nath Batra, national convenor of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, has refused to apologise for the book in any manner. He rather said the author of the controversial essay, A.K. Ramanujan, is ?recipient of several honours including the Padmashri? and is ?widely acclaimed scholar with impeccable academic credentials. His credentials as a scholar, writer and teacher with extensive knowledge of ancient Indian literary traditions are enormous.?
The Vice Chancellor also said there is no book called Culture in India: Ancient, being taught in the University. He not only denied the existence of the book but also said there is no question of compiling, publishing and circulating the book by the University. He said, ?there is a spiral-bound collection of the photocopies of individual articles and excerpts related to Delhi University course of Ancient Indian Culture at some photocopying shops on which someone, without the knowledge or authorisation of Dr Upinder Singh, has typed her name.?
Answering the ?reply? of the VC, Shri Batra said he is fully aware that Shri A.K. Ramanujan is recipient of Padmashri but also said that such honours are bestowed upon some persons for oblique and extraneous reason, as happened in the case of Teesta Sitalvad and Maqbool Fida Husain. He said ?the essay of A.K. Ramanujan was included in the book and again it was picked up verbatim by Delhi University to be a part of reading for concurrent course to B.A. (Hons.) IInd year Culture in India: Ancient. The essay is written to negate the popularity of Ramayana. The reading material is a compulsory text?(Syllabus of History). The book of Paula Richman (the shortened version of the controversial piece first appeared in Paula Richman'sMany Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia, as mentioned by the VC in his reply) was printed in India with the title questioning Ramayana. So the attempt has always been to degenerate Ramayana of Valmiki and Tulsi.?
About the plea that Dr Upinder Singh is not the compiler of the controversial book, Shri Batra said, ?I am hesitant to accept the plea that Dr Upinder Singh is not the compiler. The question is not answered as to who is the culprit to do the mischief to demean Dr Upinder Singh? The reading material is with the students and the Department of History. The photocopies of the essays put together with the name of Dr Upinder Singh. No action has been taken against the compiler. The material is for sale only with one shop, Proprietor Arun Thesis, Patel Chest, North Campus, Delhi University, Delhi- 110007, from where I purchased the material and got a receipt. There should have been FIR against the unseen hand. Moral responsibility is of the Vice Chancellor as Head of the University coupled with History Department and faculty members. The matter has hurt the religious feeling of millions of Hindus who regard Ram as Maryada Purushottam. It is not only in India that Shri Ram has been given a respectable place but all over the world He is praised for his goodness and virtues. He is regarded as a role model in Russia, China, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Nepal, Philippines, Iran, Europe, Africa, North America and South American countries and legends of Ramayana find favour in various parts of globe.?
He further said there are as many as 15 complainants from different parts of the country who have served Legal Demand Notice to the Vice Chancellor and Dr Upinder Singh against the essay. It shows the anguish of the people of India against the disrespect shown to Lord Ram, Laxman, Sita and Hanuman.