New Delhi | Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has withdrawn his candidature as Nalanda University Chancellor for a second term, saying the Narendra Modi government does not want him to continue, a contention rejected by the Government. Responding to Sen’s argument, Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry Syed Akbaruddin said there was no attempt to curtail Sen’s tenure.
MEA cannot act as it was yet to receive the approved minutes of the meeting of Governing Board of Nalanda University (GNBU) which happened last month, he said. However, Sen, said the minutes were sent a fortnight back and virtually everyone has confirmed the minutes but for the ministry. He also asserted that the general issue was political interference in academic matters and cited more instances of the government’s interference in the university’s functioning.
Sen, who has long been a critic of Modi, in a letter to the GBNU withdrew his candidature for a second term as Nalanda chair, blaming the absence of government’s approval for delay in nod from the Visitor, President Pranab Mukherjee, to his name even though the recommendation was sent to him over a month back.
This delay, as well as the uncertainty involved, is leading, in effect, to a decisional gap, which is not helpful to Nalanda University’s governance and its academic progress. I have, therefore, decided that in the best interest of Nalanda University, I should exclude myself from being considered for continuing as chancellor beyond this July, despite the unanimous recommendation and urging of the governing board for me to continue, Sen wrote in his letter.
Asked if the delay was due to his criticism of Modi, Sen, also a Bharat Ratna Awardee, said I think it would be rather megalomaniacal on me to take that view. I think I really do not matter in the context of the Prime Ministerial decision. It is for others to speculate. …My wife asks me that you were a critic of Modi and he does not want you as a Chancellor. It is completely symmetrical. As an Indian voter it is my liberty to like a candidate or not. To speak a point or not… It’s for the board to decide on the chancellorship.
In this case, if the Prime Minister has taken a decision on this, well that’s not his job. If the Visitor( Mukherjee) was not very unkeen on having him as a Chancellor and there was no clear government approval then there was some evidence that the government does not want him to continue, Sen added.
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