Harvard historian and member of the governing board of Nalanda University, Professor Sugata Bose, described Professor Amartya Sen’s decision to exclude himself from consideration for a second term as Chancellor as a “sad day for the Nalanda dream.”
“I have received Prof. Sen’s letter yesterday [on Thursday]. We all had expected a continuity of the leadership at a time when classes had started in September and construction of buildings have also been initiated,” Prof. Bose told The Hindu on Friday.
The governing body had recommended another term to the Nobel Laureate in January 2015 but the government remained undecided on it, Prof. Bose said. He said Prof. Sen, by deciding to stay away from consideration for a second term, had taken a very “dignified step.”
“It is hard for me not to conclude that the government wants me to cease being the Chancellor of Nalanda University after this July,” Prof. Sen had said in a letter written to members of the governing board on February 19. His three-year term as Chancellor ends in July. Prof. Bose, who is the grand nephew of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, also endorsed the views expressed by Prof. Sen in his letter where he had said that “academic governance in India remains so deeply vulnerable to the opinions of the ruling government.”
“Academic scholars in the State do not have much say in the affairs of the university. This is one of the primary reasons why none of the educational institutes in the country figure in the top 200 educational institutes of the world,” Prof. Bose said, adding Nalanda University “was not only an Indian but an Asian dream.”
The governing board has members from various parts of the world including China, Japan, Singapore and Thailand. Lord Meghnad Desai of London School of Economics, Tansen Sen of City University of New York and former Foreign Minister of Singapore George Yeo are some of the members. The board also has representation from both the upper and lower Houses of Parliament and the Ministry of External Affairs.