Neha Dhupia once said that in India only Shahrukh Khan sells (deliberately avoided the full quote :P). That decade old statement has no relevance today as Modi has replaced the King Khan now. Comment on Modi and you get all the attention and media coverage for free. Criticizing Modi is a sure shot way to grab headlines and your statement can be the hot topic in the TV debates. You may be deemed as an intellect who is not a blind follower or Andh Bhakt of Modi. On a lighter note, I have used his name in heading to grab more eyeballs to my piece.
Amartya Sen definitely need not rely on this “marketing strategy” for himself as he, being a Nobel laureate, has all that name and fame in his kitty but there are events and stories which indicate that he is shielding behind Modi for something he is responsible. And backing him is a huge bandwagon of Right wing haters, Modi bashers, Anti-RSS groups, leftists and “liberal” brigade. Among the noise of these groups let us explore why Amartya Sen is wrong in criticizing Modi.
Nalanda University(NU), the 6th century old university, carries a pride in itself. Before being ransacked and destroyed by the army of Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1200 AD, it was one of the most elite educational hubs in South Asia which attracted students and scholars from places like Tibet, China, Korea and Central Asia. The modern university was to be built keeping in view the heritage it carried.
Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has recently criticized Modi saying that the latter wants control of the academic bodies. Amartya Sen seems to be disappointed because of his exit from the elite Nalanda University. Although, it is good to speak up when needed, Amartya Sen’s silence in many a things that happened in the university raise eyebrows and also indicated how much (or how much not for that matter) has he done as Chancellor.
Although a lot of good work has been done in the university, the academy has came under lens for many irregularities. If Modi is to be blamed for trying to take control of NU, shouldn’t Amartya Sen be blamed for the following irregularities?
– APJ Abdul Kalam exit:-
Before the issue is linked with RSS-BJP-Hindutva agenda of Modi, let me bring a Muslim, APJ Abdul Kalam, (ex President of India) into the picture who is one of the most respected Indian personalities today.
A letter to the External Affairs Minister, S.M. Krishna, on July 4, 2011 hints at why APJ Abdul Kalam was not in a position to become the first Visitor of the Nalanda University.
Para 3 of that letter reads-
“Having involved in various academic and administrative proceedings of Nalanda University since August 2007, I believe that the candidates to be selected/appointed to the post of Chancellor and Vice Chancellor should be of extraordinary intellect with academic and management expertise. Both the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor have to personally involve themselves full-time in Bihar, so that a robust and strong international institution is built”. This can be found here.
There university management was criticized for having appointed a VC (Gopa Sabharwal), who many(including Kalam) believed lacked the desired knowledge on Nalanda and qualification set by UGC (min. 10 years as professor in university). She was a reader in the department of sociology in the Lady Sri Ram College, Delhi & fetched a whooping 5 Lakh monthly salary which was almost double the pervious salary. Although I do not personally believe salary is a big issue when talking about such a big institution but qualification is.
Why didn’t Amartya Sen questioned this?
– “Saheli University” tag:-
This is one of the tags that can taint a university of this level. Going by this report
in Bihar Times, in the name of Nalanda, a Saheli university has emerged! Apart from the VC selection and her salary, Gopa Sabharwal is also questioned about having 4 persons from a single campus (Delhi University) in the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG). Interesting enough, these are the only 4 Indians are in NMG. This “group” of 4 is known saheli
group shockingly includes Upinder Singh, who happens to be daughter of Sen’s “friend
” Manmohan Singh.
Quoting Bihar Times, “the blame goes to Amartya Sen led Nalanda Mentor Group which has contributed significantly in reducing this University into an institution mired in nepotism, favoritism and outright arbitrary acts and loot of public exchequer“
When he can question Modi, why did not Sen questioned his friend and ex-PM on this? Probably, he need to ask this question to himself.
– The project of such scale and moreover a project which has emotions and pride attached demanded a team which is residential and not a visitor. Amartya Sen failed in this regard too and even failed to have such a staff.
– After 8 years of launch and crores of taxpayers money invested, what we have seen is a small building with just one course which could attract just 15 students! Add to that Sen himself was missing on inaugural
. Did Modi/RSS/BJP stopped him to show interest in an institute which is so linked to the pride on India’s heritage?
– If Modi is doing his Hindutva bit, he should know that Modi bashers have been awarded by UPA too be it in media or elsewhere. Before 2014 elections, Sen openly said that he do not want Modi to become PM
. If Modi is playing politics, what is the game called when his good friend
Manmohan Singh’s daughter is in the institute? If Modi is backed by RSS, isn’t he backed by Congress?
– If he can speak against the Prime Minister of India (Though his dislike for Modi is well known), why did he kept a blind eye on his own acts or the above things?
Crying victim hood and blaming Modi is quite a trendy thing now a days but truth may be far from the hullabaloo created by the Leftist media and anti Modi brigade.
Nalanda University is a pride enterprise and the project should be successful with or without Amartya Sen or even Modi! Dragging issues on political canvas will only do bad to the centuries old heritage that needs a revival.
An ardent observer of life’s visual rhythms & curious on the SOEs that take place in the cosmos, I jot down my mind occasionally on yet another universe of the Internet.
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