Meanwhile, Pakistan is sanitising its Eng Lit syllabus. The process began when the wife of a retired general complained to the wife of the President that Vikram Seth was too Indian, W H Auden had written a pro-Jew poem and Adrienne Rich was–shock, horror–lesbian. Then they left the matter in the capable hands of a certain Dr Arif who began as he meant to go on: “Almost every second text in the syllabus contains direct/indirect references of vulgarity and sexuality.” On Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises: “All characters sexually astray: men homosexuals; females lesbians/promiscuous; Brett Ashley nymphomaniac and so on.” On Pope’s The Rape of the Lock: “The title of the book itself shows vulgarity.” On John Donne: “Almost every poem has the connotation of sex where the poet wants to take every lady to bed for sexual pleasure.” And, as the Guardian joyously reports, here’s Dr Arif on a Sean O’Casey play which includes the phrase, “When the song ended, Darry cocks his ear and listens.” Dr Arif has underlined the word “cocks”. India’s Ministry of Education should employ him immediately.



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