Over-enthusiasm got the better of political correctness and left Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi blushing at a special convocation of Madras University on Friday.
The university chose to confer the honorary D. Litt degree to the two Delhi heavyweights, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Kandeh K. Yumkella, director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation on Teachers’ Day to mark its 150th year of existence.
While recommending the citation, Vice-Chancellor S. Ramachandran said Dr Manmohan Singh “be admitted” to the Degree of Doctor of Literature for his path-breaking role in the India-US nuclear deal and in “creating a blue-print that will take India into the realm of strategic, nuclear and energy security in the 21st century (a euphemism for the nuclear pact)”. Singh, however, made no reference to the nuclear deal in his acceptance speech.
The citation for Sonia Gandhi described her for being “one of the most famous daughters of the World’s largest democracy”, a secularist and “well known for showing mercy to her adversaries”.