Academic accuses University of censorship over Kashmir

People in Cambridge censoring things? Surely not

cam Cambridge censorship dr gopal kashmir priyamvada gopal research university spokesperson

Dr Priyamvada Gopal has accused the University’s alumni magazine, CAM, of censoring a statement from her by removing a reference to Kashmir.

Dr Gopal, a reader on Anglophone and Post-Colonial Literature, was invited by CAM, alongside other Cambridge University researchers and academics, to submit an open piece about her “wish for the next fifty years of independence”.

Dr Priyamvada Gopal of Churchill College specialises in colonial and postcolonial literatures

In her piece, she expressed that she wished to see the “democratic aspirations of the people of Kashmir” honoured and hoped that India would not engage in the “economic systems, political institutions, and repressive tactics inherited from the Empire.”

Upon receiving the edited version of her submission, she was surprised to discover that these phrases had been removed and subsequently withdrew the piece. Speaking to The Hindu, Dr Gopal said that she was “appalled” by the editing, adding that “there is a very large silencing on the issue of Kashmir taking place and the university has chosen to participate in the smallest of ways”.

Kashmir is a region in Northern India, under British government until 1947. Currently, Kashmir is currently divided amongst India, Pakistan and China in the territorial dispute. The dispute has resulted in military action between India and Pakistan in both 1965 and 1999.

Kashmir sits on the boundaries of India, Pakistan and China

A University of Cambridge spokesperson strongly rejected the claim that the University engages in censorship, stating that Dr. Gopal withdrew her contribution “before any final agreement had been reached on the final text for the magazine”, concluding that the University “is fully committed to the principle and promotion of academic freedom”.

Six years ago, the Cambridge was involved in another censorship row because it refused to censor a student’s master’s thesis. Then, it argued that the University was the one “of Erasmus, of Newton, and of Darwin; censoring writings that offend the powerful is offensive to our deepest values.”

Dr Gopel, making a nod to such claims, concluded in her blog that the University “will not allow… the word ‘Kashmir’ to be mentioned… for fear of upsetting the Indian State and rich Indian donors.”