Professors of the colleges affiliated under Calcutta University (CU) are being trained to teach the popular comics by Belgian cartoonist Hergé, Tintin in Tibet, and Abol Tabol, which is a collection of poems and rhymes by Sukumar Ray, in classrooms as ‘popular literature’ has been included for the first time in the syllabus.

A workshop was conducted in the New Alipore College campus with around 92 teachers from 50 colleges in this connection.

Calcutta University has introduced popular literature in the third semester in undergraduate syllabus of English. Works such as Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Sukumar Ray’s Abol Tabol (The weird and the absurd) will make the atmosphere inside the classroom lighter.

Jaydeep Sarangi, principal, New Alipore College, told The Statesman, “We organised a workshop on teaching popular literature in the classroom. Professors of different affiliated colleges were present there along with professors from different universities. The objective of the workshop was to clarify the difficulties of teaching popular literature in classrooms.”

Including comics in syllabus is a wise decision as a new area of literature can be explored through it. Supporting this, Avisek Biswas, professor of Vidyasagar College said, “In today’s era, it is high time that we understand literature from a very broader perspective. The time has come that we realise the term literature is not only limited to Shakespeare or Tagore. There is a vast area of literature which has not been explored. This is a very good decision that the syllabus committee has included these items. But this is only going to be fruitful provided they create a fundamental base from school level.”

A full paper has been dedicated to popular literature in the third semester with another paper of conventional syllabus covering ‘hard’ literature with Paradise Lost (Book I) by John Milton, The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope, The Duchess of Malfi by John Webster, The Rover by Aphra Behn and other literary pieces.