Which one is ‘lower caste’ in Tamil Nadu: Periyar University asks controversial question to students in exam

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Vice-Chancellor of the varsity R Jagannathan issued a clarification about the matter and distance itself from the controversy, blaming others for setting the question.

The Periyar University, located in the Salem district of Tamil Nadu, has recently courted controversy after it asked students to identify social groups belonging to ‘lower caste.’ In a multiple choice question, students were asked to identify the ‘lower caste’ from four options.

“Which one of the lower caste belongs to Tamil Nadu?” the question read. The four options available were Mahars, Nadars, Ezhavas and Harjans.

The contentious question appeared in the MA first-year History paper on the subject ‘Freedom Movement in Tamil Nadu from 1880 CE to 1947 CE.’

Screengrab of the contentious question paper, image via Twitter/ANI

After the question paper appeared on social media, it created a huge outrage from netizens. The university was slammed for asking such a question marking some caste as ‘lower’.

Periyar University issues clarification

Following social media backlash, Vice-Chancellor of the varsity R Jagannathan issued a clarification about the matter and distance itself from the controversy, blaming others for setting the question.

While speaking to ANI, he stated, “Question papers are not prepared by us. Other University & college lecturers prepare the paper. Usually, to avoid a question paper leak, we don’t read the papers before the exam. We will investigate this & consider reexamination.”

Meanwhile, the College Registrar assured that such an incident would not be repeated in future. He also vowed to initiate an investigation into the matter.

BJP chief slams caste politics in Tamil Nadu

While slamming the casteist nature of the question, BJP Tamil Nadu Chief K Annamalai tweeted, “Question 11: True face of DMK’s social justice model.”

He told Republic TV, “The questions clearly represent the current government. They are running a propaganda missionary by bringing up lower castes in exams. It reflects the hollow philosophy with which the DMK is running the government. It is strictly condemnable.”

He sought strict action against the person responsible for setting up such a question paper. K Annamalai pointed out that the administration took cognisance of the matter only after the BJP objected to the casteist nature of the question.

“It is not about the action but the thought behind it. It is about the hollow ideology that the DMK is trying to propagate,” the BJP chief said. Besides the BJP, PMK, AIADMK and VCK also criticised Periyar University over the fiasco.

Source- www.opindia.com

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