Question on caste in TN’s Periyar University MA exam sparks row

A question in the second semester MA exam of Periyar University, seeking to know “the lowest caste” in Tamil Nadu has sparked a major controversy in the state.

The varsity has said that it will set up an enquiry committee to look up into the matter.

The question was under Part A – Freedom movement in Tamil Nadu from 1880 to 1947, with 15 multiple choice questions of 1 mark each. The 11th question in this series read: “Which one is the lower caste belongs to Tamil Nadu (sic)?”

A press statement from the Periyar University said that the varsity will take action against the wrong doers.

Registrar D. Gopi, talking to media, said: “When we conducted an enquiry, teachers who set the question paper said that it is part of the syllabus. This ccould have been avoided.”

Social media users slammed the Periyar University and its Department of History for setting such a question.

“It’s really bad on the part of the university to have set such a question for the History exam paper. They should at least understand that the University is named after one of the greatest social reformers of the state on whose ideology Dravidian politics have evolved in the state,” Salem-based social activist Rajesh Chandran told IANS.

AIADMK leader and former Chief Minister, K. Palaniswami said: “Is the DMK’s Dravidian politics of social justice now revolving around ridiculing the ideology of Periyar and promoting caste inequality among students through such questions in a semester examination.”

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