University of Pune to establish Sai Baba Chair

According to SPPU officials, the decision to start the chair was taken following the request from the Saibaba Sansthan Trust Shirdi.

pune Updated: Dec 15, 2017 14:42 IST
Abhay Khairnar
Abhay Khairnar
Hindustan Times, Pune
sai baba,chiar,sppu
Shirdi temple.(HT Photo)

The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) has decided to establish yet another chair in the name of Sai Baba, an Indian spiritual personality regarded by followers as saint, to carry out research around the philosophy of the prominent religious personality from Shirdi.

According to SPPU officials, the decision to start the chair was taken following the request from the Saibaba Sansthan Trust Shirdi.

SPPU currently has 19 chairs in the name of various prominent persons including saint Namdeo, saint Tukaram and Saint Dnyaneshwar. For years, some of the chairs have been vacant as the university has failed to find the “right people” in-charge of the chairs. In some cases, SPPU officials said, the chairs have produced a body of research including study on saint Muktabai (Dnyaneshwar’s sister)

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Saibaba Sansthan trust chairman Suresh Haware said, “SPPU has given the nod for establishing the chair in the name of Sai Baba. The centenary year of Saibaba samadhi is going on and on the occasion, the trust has decided to do the publicity and wider extension of information to public at large. Establishing the chair in the name Sai Baba is a part of it.”

Haware said that the trust is carrying various cultural, social and religious programmes on the occasion. Considering this, it is decided to conduct an academic study on Sai Baba which will help in the documentation.

The trust applied with the university for establishing the chair, to which the varsity gave the nod. As per the process, the trust would have to pay Rs.1 crore to the SPPU which would be a non-refundable amount. The university would keep it as a deposit and run the chair’s work on the interest amount. University will appoint the head for this chair, said Haware.

The sources from the university also confirmed that the university has given the nod for erecting the chair in the name of Sai Baba. After completing the process, the chair would be established and the functioning will begin.

The central government also gave its nod to publish the stamp ticket of Sai Baba, which will be release by vice-president Venkaiah Naidu on December 23 at Shirdi.

SPPU has, in the past, set up three committees to fix the criterion of appointment of these chairs and also the remuneration to people heading the chairs. All three committees had fixed the age limit of the person heading the chair as 65 years. However, activists alleged that most chairs have not done any great research work.

Sadanand More, former head of saint Tukaram chair, said the modalities about research is normally worked out by the SPPU and the sponsor of the chair. “I am glad that SPPU has decided to form a new chair. It is up to the university and the sponsorer to work out the details of research,” added More.

Chairs so far

- Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar

- DS Savkar

- Lokshahir Annnabhau Sathe

- ISRO Space Science

- Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

- Pandit Bhimsen Joshi

- Saint Tukaram

- Saint Namdeo

- CSIR chair

- Biotechnology

- Shantanurao Kirloskar

- Padmashree Vikhe Patil

- Bank of Maharashtra energy studies

- Air power national securities studies

- Sawarkar chair

- Lokmanya Tilak

- Mahatma Phule

- Seth Hiranchand Nemchand Jain

First Published: Dec 15, 2017 14:38 IST