Chennai: The DMK and the Left on Wednesday opposed a proposal by premier technical varsity, the state-run Anna University, to include philosophy in its syllabus for the engineering students, with M K Stalin saying it amounted to "imposition" of Sanskrit.
The varsity, for its part, said no course was compulsory and denied any attempt to "impose" Sanskrit. The courses were meant for undergraduate engineering students and they were free to pick a course of their choice, Anna University Vice-Chancellor MK Surappa said.
Earlier, a section of the media had reported that Anna University intended to include philosophy and Bhagavad Gita in its syllabus at the College of Engineering Guindy and other campuses for the engineering students. Opposing the reported move, DMK president M K Stalin sought the intervention of Governor Banwarilal Purohit, who is the varsity's Chancellor.
"It is condemnable to attempt imposition of Sanskrit by making philosophy compulsory in the syllabus of Anna University's CEG campus," Stalin said in a tweet.
The Leader of Opposition in the state assembly sought the intervention of the governor and the Higher Education Department to revise the syllabus.
The CPI (M) state unit also flayed the reported move. CPI (M) state unit secretary K Balakrishnan said it was strongly condemnable that philosophy and Bhagavad Gita had been included in the engineering syllabus.
"This is against the principles of secularism. Introducing the teachings of a particular religion in a syllabus studied by students from all faiths and the state government standing by that is not acceptable," he said in a statement and demanded its withdrawal.
Denying any attempts of imposition of Sanskrit, Surappa insisted that the students were free to choose from any of the 12 courses offered as part of efforts to make them "well-rounded."
The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) had recommended over 20 courses including Sanskrit but the varsity had chosen only 12, and had not even opted for the language, he said.
"To make the students well-rounded apart from technology, we are introducing more and more courses in humanities," he told reporters.
Only the Information Science and Technology department was offering the course, and it was upto the student concerned to opt for it or not, he added.
"If some student doesn't like this course, he always has an option to choose any other course... so no course is compulsory, nobody is controlling anyone here," he said.
"We are not imposing anything, in fact we are not teaching Sanskrit at all," he added.