Slamming the inclusion of writer Arundhati Roy's 'Come September' lecture in Calicut University syllabus, BJP's Kerala president K Surendran on Monday, termed it 'anti-national', demanding its immediate withdrawal from the syllabus. The Calicut University has included Roy's ‘Come September’ lecture which was delivered on September 18, 2002, at the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, USA. Surendran demanded registration of a case against those responsible and said that the BJP will launch an agitation.
Surendran also took a strong exception to the introduction about Arundhati Roy in the textbook stating that ‘In 2008 she supported the cause of Kashmiri independence and saluted the unarmed struggle of Kashmiris against the armed Indian military’. He wrote a letter to Governor Arif Mohammed Khan stating that the speech 'challenges the government’s policies and India’s Constitution'. He alleged that the essay 'insulted the brave soldiers' through a speech given to 'an anti-India audience against the Kargil war'.
Reports state that Roy's speech was on broader them of the relationship between power and the powerless and how critics of the government were labelled 'anti-nationals'. Through her speech, Roy gives an example of being branded as 'anti-national' for expressing her views on Nuclear Bombs, Big Dams, Corporate Globalization, Hindu Fascism which vary from the Indian government's views. Apart from India she also speaks about being labelled 'anti-American' for scoffing at the 'War on Terror' in post- September 11th rhetoric.
She concludes saying, "Those of us who have only ever known life in a democracy, however flawed, would find it hard to imagine what living in a dictatorship and enduring the absolute loss of freedom means", as per transcript of her speech.
Reacting to the controversy, Calicut University Syndicate member K K Haneefa said that it would look into any complaint it received, as per reports. Furthermore, he slammed the BJP's protest against Roy - terming it undemocratic. He said that to say that an article of a writer like Arundhati Roy cannot be taught in colleges is undemocratic, as per reports.