Nitish Kumar said on Saturday that the resignation of former Singapore foreign minister George Yeo as the Nalanda University chancellor and the circumstances around the move were “unfortunate”.
Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, Kumar dwelt on the “idea of Nalanda”, and said he will write about the issue to the Centre. The resignation of Yeo was not in the interest of the university and appeared to “infringe on its autonomy”, he said.
Yeo said he was “not even given notice” of the leadership change after the government reconstituted the board and severed Nobel laureate Amartya Sen’s decade-long association with the university.
Kumar dwelt on the “idea of Nalanda”, and said he will write about the issue to the Centre. The resignation of Yeo was not in the interest of the university and appeared to “infringe on its autonomy”, he said.
“It is the Bihar government that conceptualised the idea of Nalanda…Many people were involved in it from the beginning, and Yeo was one of them,” Kumar said.
The chief minister also said the Nalanda University has a different character and the institute cannot be equated with other universities.
“It is an attempt to recreate ancient Nalanda, which epitomised knowledge and learning across the globe. The Nalanda spirit needs to be kept intact,” he said.
“There were talks about necessary amendments in the NU (Nalanda University) act, which did not happen though the board has been constituted. When Prof Amartya Sen (the first chancellor) was not given extension, it was understandable with the change of guard at the Centre.
“In Yeo, there was one person who had been with NU since the conceptualisation stage, but now he has also quit,” Kumar said.
On November 25, a day after the term of the university’s founding vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal ended and an interim VC took over, Yeo put in his papers, saying he was being “overlooked” when important decisions were taken.
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