By a Special Correspondent :On September 13, 2011 BiharTimes was the first to break the news that former President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam was no longer involved with the Nalanda International University Project. The revelations came through an e-mail sent by Dr Kalam’s Executive Secretary H Sheridon to Bihar-based senior journalist, K K Singh.
K K Singh had earlier sent an open letter to Prof Amartya Sen, with a copy to Dr Kalam, expressing astonishment at the fact that a Reader from Delhi University had been appointed as the Vice Chancellor in the Nalanda University. Had K K Singh not written this letter the world would not have known about Kalam’s resignation till much later date.
But documents in possession of Bihar Times now reveal that Dr Kalam had actually left the Nalanda University project more than two months earlier. However, the Ministry of External Affairs and the Nalanda University chose to hide it until the controversy broke out in the media in mid-September. The former President of India had communicated his decision to quit the Nalanda University project in his letter to External Affairs Minister Mr S M Krishna.
Extracts from the letter were read out by Sanjay Singh, Secretary (East), MEA when the Governing Board (earlier known as Mentor Group) met at Patna on July 6 & 7, 2011. The letter had apparently been received at Minister’s office on July 5. Sanjay Singh broke the news of Kalam’s resignation as the board had taken up the issue of Visitor’s role. The board members were surprised and wanted to know the reason for the delay in sharing the news of Kalam’s resignation. The governing board, however, decided to make an attempt to bring Dr Kalam back as the Visitor.
Oddly enough, the governing board shared nothing on this subject with the media at Patna. The chairman Prof Amartya Sen announced to the newsmen that Nalanda University would start with School of Historical Studies and Environment & Ecology Studies. Now, nine months past the Patna meet the University is yet to finalize a Visitor. If Dr. Kalam had formally resigned in July, 2011 then the President of India should be automatically made the Visitor under Clause 12 (1) of the Nalanda University Act.
Without Visitor’s assent neither the statutes could be adopted nor appointment of the Vice Chancellor take place. The continuance of Dr Gopa Sabharwal as Vice Chancellor (Designate) and the functioning of the University without statues approved by the Visitor are gross violation of the Act. The improbity of the MEA and the Nalanda University stand exposed again.