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Rohinton Mistry slams Mumbai University curriculum change

20th October 2010

Award-winning author Rohinton Mistry has hit out at Mumbai University after it dropped one of his books from its curriculum.

The institution removed the Indian-born writer's Such a Long Journey, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1991, from its syllabus after protests by the Shiv Sena political group.

Mumbai University vice-chancellor Rajan Weluka made the decision to drop the novel from the second-year Bachelor of Arts reading list in response to arguments from the group that it contains 'insulting language', especially with regards to Bal Thackeray, the organisation's founder.

In a statement read out by Mistry's supporters at Mumbai's Press Club, the author said he expected Shiv Sena to use 'threats and intimidation' to achieve its aims, but he was hit by 'profound dismay' at the university's reaction to these.

'One thing remains: a political party demanded an immediate change in syllabus and Mumbai University provided deluxe service via express delivery, making the book disappear the very next day,' the statement concluded.

Such a Long Journey won the 1992 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book. Other works by Mistry include A Fine Balance, Family Matters and Tales from Firozsha Baag.

Mistry has also just delivered a new novel to his publisher, his first since 2002, provisionally scheduled for publication in September 2011.

 

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