Delhi’s Jamia Millia teaching Bob Dylan’s songs as literature long before Nobel recognition

[Literature ★★★★]


(P1) Literature and music enthusiasts across the globe might be debating the Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to iconic musician Bob Dylan but students at Jamia Millia Islamia have been studying his songs as poems in literature curriculum since 2011.

(P2) The 75-year-old American singer-songwriter was chosen for the coveted award last month for “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition”, sparking off a debate whether songs qualify as literature or not. However, Dylan’s songs have been taught as literature in Jamia long before he was chosen for the prize. The varsity introduced Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind” in its MA English program in 2011 as part of the poetry paper “From the Victorian Age to Contemporary Times”, a compulsory subject for those studying English literature.

(P3) Other poets that are taught along with Dylan include Robert Browning, Ted Hughes, and Dylan Thomas. “Students respond interestingly to Bob Dylan’s literature. Around 40 students are currently studying the course that is taught in the third semester of the MA English program. We have been teaching how Dylan’s songs were used almost as anthems during the American Civil Rights movement in the 60s,” a faculty member of Jamia’s English department said. “However, with Dylan becoming the first musician to bag the Nobel Prize for literature we are hoping that more students from other disciplines will opt for the course under the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS),” he added.

(P4) Jamia, however, is not the only university to be teaching Dylan’s work as literature. Kolkata’s Jadavpur University also has some of his songs in the undergraduate curriculum. According to the Swedish Academy’s permanent secretary, Sara Danius, while Dylan performs his poetry in the form of songs, that’s no different from the ancient Greeks, whose works were often performed to music, a “great majority” on the 18-member jury panel had voted for him.

WORDS: 309


VOCABULARY: coveted, varsity (Indian English), compulsory, anthems, permanent secretary, jury panel


If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.

  1. Briefly, summarize the content of the article in your own words.
  2. In your opinion, do you think Bob Dylan should have received the Nobel Prize for Literature?
  3. Can you tell me some famous writers of literature in your country? What work or works are they famous for?
  4. What types of literature do you enjoy reading? Why?


  1. Who could be arguing about the selection of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature?
  2. Which Dylan song has been used at Jamia Millia University for many years?
  3. Bob Dylan is known for his songs that were a part of the __________________________ in the USA in the 1960’s.
  4. So far, only Jamia Millia Varsity uses Bob Dylan songs in its classes. (T or F)
  5. Of the 18 members of the Nobel Prize committee, how many voted for Bob Dylan?


What do the following expressions or phrases mean?

  • sparking off a debate (P2)
  • to bag the Nobel Prize (P3)
  • will opt for the course under the Choice Based Credit System (P3)
  • the 18-member jury panel (P4)

Cambly Practice Button

Image source: by “unknown” AZ Quotes

One thought on “Delhi’s Jamia Millia teaching Bob Dylan’s songs as literature long before Nobel recognition

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s