The proposal to eliminate the Ambedkar course at Delhi University is met with opposition from the Philosophy department

 The proposal to eliminate the Ambedkar course at Delhi University is met with opposition from the Philosophy department

Delhi University's Department of Philosophy is firmly contesting a recommendation put forth by the university's Standing Committee on Academic Matters, which suggests eliminating an elective course on B R Ambedkar's philosophy from an undergraduate program. The department has expressed its disagreement and urged Vice Chancellor Yogesh Singh to retain the course, as reported by The Indian Express.

Insider sources reveal that the proposal to drop the course from the BA Programme (Philosophy) was initially raised on May 8 and extensively discussed during a meeting held by the department's postgraduate and undergraduate curriculum committee on May 12.

The curriculum committee of the Philosophy department has expressed significant reservations about the proposal, stating that Ambedkar is an indigenous thinker who represents the social aspirations of the majority of people in the country. Furthermore, they emphasize that research on Ambedkar is experiencing a notable increase.

The suggestion to remove the course is part of an ongoing curriculum review aligned with the National Education Policy 2020.

However, a member of the Standing Committee clarified that no changes have been implemented thus far, and the final decision ultimately rests with the Academic Council, the highest decision-making body regarding academic matters.

When approached for comment, Balram Pani, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee and Dean of Colleges, clarified that the Ambedkar course is not being dropped, and the committee did not propose such a suggestion. Pani further explained that the committee's suggestion was to amalgamate new and existing courses in an appealing manner to attract students and encourage adoption in various colleges. They also recommended incorporating the philosophies of thinkers from diverse backgrounds.

Nevertheless, sources indicate that there was indeed a proposal to remove the course.

Amitava Chakraborty, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, who was present at the May 8 meeting, revealed, "Several suggestions were made by the House regarding the philosophy courses presented. One such suggestion was to align the content of the 'Philosophy of B R Ambedkar' course... and offer courses on other philosophical thinkers of India representing different approaches and schools of thought, allowing students the freedom to choose any thinker they wish to study."

An anonymous professor from the Philosophy department remarked, "The 'Philosophy of Ambedkar' course is not compulsory but rather an elective. Students have the option to pursue it or not... It is questionable why the addition of papers on other thinkers is being proposed in this new syllabus."

Shriprakash Singh, Director of South Campus and a member of the Standing Committee assured that no course has been dropped thus far. The next Standing Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, and the final decision will be made by the Academic Council. Singh emphasized that the committee always provides collective advice to the department on certain issues.

In response to the opposition from the Philosophy department, a sub-committee was formed by the Standing Committee to discuss syllabus revisions. On Monday, the sub-committee proposed retaining the paper on Ambedkar's philosophy while suggesting the addition of a few electives focusing on other thinkers for students to choose from.

Sources suggest that papers on Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda, and Periyar are among the other philosophical thinkers under consideration for the new curriculum. These suggestions will be presented to the Standing Committee on Tuesday and later to the Academic Council for final approval.

The Ambedkar philosophy course was introduced in 2015 and covers Ambedkar's life, essential writings, concepts, and research methodology.