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No Bid to Curtail Amartya Sen's Tenure as Nalanda University Chancellor: Government

Published: 21st February 2015 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st February 2015 09:41 AM   |  A+A-

Amartya Sen1PTI

NEW DELHI: The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) indicated that Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen may have jumped the gun by shooting off a letter, effectively ending his association with the Nalanda University by July.

On Friday, the celebrated economist had written to the members of the varsity’s Governing Board that he was excluding himself from “being considered as the Chancellor of the Nalanda University beyond July”.

         >>Editorial: Sen's Grouse Much Ado About Nothing

Last month, Amartya said that the Governing Board had unanimously  decided to make him the Chancellor for a second term, once his current tenure ended in July.

However, since then, there has been no hints from the President, who is the Visitor of the University, on his approval to the decision.

MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said there was no question of delay as the government could only proceed after getting the approved minutes of the meeting. “We can only act once we receive the approved minutes of the Board. These are yet to be received by us,” he said.

Trinamool Congress MP and Governing Board member Sugata Bose told Express that the panel had sent an ‘extract’ of the minutes to the MEA immediately after the meeting. However, the ministry indicated that it wasn’t enough and the full minutes was required for processing the decision. Apparently, the draft of the full minutes was circulated on February 13, with a two-week deadline  for ratification.

According to Bose, all except one of the members had ratified the Bill. The MEA’s representative, who is an ex-officio member of the Board, had also ratified the minutes.Akbaruddin said that there were two options -- either to continue with Amartya or the Visitor seeking three shortlisted names from the Board to appoint the successor to the Nobel Laureate.

Bose said a decision had to be taken soon as the term of the Chancellor would ending in six months and it would take at least another six months to suggest three suitable names to the Visitor.

The MEA spokesperson said there was no effort “to curtail the tenure” of Amartya.

In 2013, in the run-up to the LS elections, Amartya, a known critic of Narendra Modi, had said that he did not want Modi to become the Prime Minister. In December 2014, Amartya said that people had new hope that things would happen in the country under PM Modi.

In his letter, Amartya bemoaned that the academic governance remains “deeply vulnerable to the opinions” of the ruling dispensation.

Further, the Nobel Laureate noted that there was “considerable disquiet among the Board members about the  government’s evident unwillingness to appreciate the international character of Nalanda University.  Though the MEA had sent letters in early December to Japan, China, Australia, Singapore and Thailand asking them to suggest nominees for the university, they were apparently withdrawn after some anomalies were pointed out to the ministry.

No Bid to Curtail.JPG

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