"To glorify Rushdie is a an overt act of treachery and a government body like UGC should have used its imagination better. This step raises serious concerns about its style of functioning. Darul Uloom Deoband strongly condemns it," official spokesperson Ashraf Usmani said on Monday."Our stance on Rushdie has been clear. The author of 'The Satanic Verses' has blasphemed against Islam and hurt sentiments of devout Muslims all over the world," Usmani told TOI over phone. "Any attempt to glorify him or his writings would only lead to promotion and build up of his image. He deserves to be shunned. Moreover, 'The Satanic Verses' still carries a ban by Indian government and going by the law, he should be considered blacklisted. Meerut University and the UGC, who are apparently party in the grant of the fellowship, must cancel it with immediate effect," he said..
Deoband heat 'forces' university to scrap paper on controversial author Salman Rushdie:
Chaudhary Charan Singh University (CCSU) in Meerut has cancelled the post-doctoral fellowship of Prabha Parmar, who was awarded research work on the novels of three authors, including controversial writer Salman Rushdie. Darul Uloom Deoband had opposed any study on Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses, which is banned in the country, though Parmer's ambit of research reportedly did not cover the novel.
But in an official communication dated April 23, 2012, sent to her, Prof. Arun Kumar, department of English, (CCSU), gave another reason for cancelling her fellowship: That she is on maternity leave and is yet to start the research work sanctioned by the UGC this January. 'This has reference to the UGC letter dated January 23, 2012, on the subject of the award for fellowship for the year 2011-2012 (Category OBC) for your topic Use of Magic Realism in the Major Novels of Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Vikram Seth in the subject of English. 'You joined the department on February 13, 2012, and on the next day asked for maternity leave for three months till May 13, 2012,' the letter read. 'You have technically not started your research work, which was approved by the UGC on January 23, 2012.'Please be informed that the department of English will not be able to provide any facilities for your fellowship,' it stated.
Not ready to speak on the issue, Parmar merely confirmed the receipt of the letter on Wednesday.
But a source close to her said that the department had not raised any objection before some members of the university tried to create a controversy. Ashraf Usmani, chairman of Darul Ifta, fatwa department of Darul Uloom, Deoband, had said on Monday they were preparing to oppose the fellowship. 'The CCSU had allowed a student to do research on a book (The Satanic Verses) which was banned in India. 'This means that the ban on the book is mere eyewash and the government supports a student to read it and do research on it,' he had said. Expressing his satisfaction over the fresh decision, Usmani said: 'They stand corrected. We are happy about it.'
NB: Over the past four months, the Deoband Ulema has contributed to the climate of intolerance and religious bigotry in India. First by opposing Rushdie's presence at the Jaipur Literature Festival, and now by sabotaging a perfectly legitimate subject for research. In the first instance they succeeded by riding on the backs of various hooligans disguised as 'Muslim leaders', and now by presenting themselves as the self-appointed representatives of 'hurt sentiment' - that tried and tested weapon of communal politicians of all colours. (Witness the hue and cry over AK Ramanujan's Many Ramayanas). They want Rushdies work to be excluded from bona-fide literary research, even if the research does not explicitly take up The Satanic Verses. In Jaipur, there were threats of violence - with talk of 'rivers of blood' etc. The Ulema ought to have condemned such statements in clear and explicit terms, but we did not hear of it. We only heard of their sentiments. After this precedent, the Deoband Ulema can continue dictating our research programmes indefinitely.
By any sensible standard of reasoning, to research something does not imply 'glorification'. If I study various versions of the Ramayana, this does not imply that I'm glorifying this or that version. If I study the bombardment of Hiroshima, this does not mean I approve of atomic warfare. The study of Mein Kampf does not imply an admiration of Adolf Hitler. If I read Golwalkar's or VD Savarkar's writings, it does not follow that I sympathise with the RSS. Studying Pol Pot does not make the researcher a proponent of genocide. The Deoband Ulema should reflect on the damage they are doing to the very basis of academic research by citing 'hurt sentiment' to oppose a legitimate literary research programme.
It's ironic that in India today we can study the ideas of mass murderers, Nazis, fascists, racists, imperialists, communalists etc etc., but Deoband will not let us study Rushdie. Wonderful! I suggest the Ulema examine the compatibility of their religious norms and sentiments with the brutal treatment of Asiya Bibi, a worker and mother of five children, condemned to hang on mere hearsay; and the acquittal of the men who assaulted Mukhtar Mai. The intellectuals of Deoband need to understand that by raising such issues repeatedly, they contribute to the fascist degeneration of the Indian polity - Dilip
See also: Communalism feeds on itself:
and: The purging of AK Ramanujan's Many Ramayanas:
An inscription to think about: "With force I have subdued the brains of the proud" - Epitaph on the tomb of Cardinal Saint Roberto Bellarmino, Cardinal-Inquisitor who tried Galileo for heresy in 1633.
NEWLY POSTED PRESS STATEMENT: "WE CONDEMN THE ATTEMPT OF BODIES LIKE DEOBAND TO ENCROACH ON OUR ACADEMIC SPACE" - 27 April 2012