Varanasi: Students from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) staged a protest on Tuesday against a proposal to make Reliance Industries executive director Nita Ambani a visiting professor. Reliance has denied that the university approached Ambani, however.
A Reliance Industries Limited spokesperson told ANI that “reports that Nita Ambani will be a visiting lecturer at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) are fake. She hasn’t received an invitation from BHU”.
News agency IANS had reported that about 40 students protested on the BHU campus outside Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar’s residence and submitted a memorandum. BHU’s Social Sciences staff members had reportedly sent Reliance Foundation a proposal recently, asking for Ambani to join as a visiting faculty at the Women Study Centre.
Kaushal Kishore Mishra, the Dean of the Social Sciences faculty, told the news agency that the university does “academic and research work related to women empowerment, along with graduation and post-graduation courses. Following the BHU tradition of involving philanthropic industrialists, we sent a letter to the Reliance Foundation asking Nita Ambani to join the Women Study Centre as a visiting professor so that we can benefit from her experience. We did this because the Reliance Foundation has done a lot of work in the field of women empowerment.”
Research scholar Shubham Tiwari, who was protesting alongside other students, said that the move would set a wrong example.
“Being the wife of a rich person is not an achievement and these people cannot be our icons. If you talk about women empowerment, then invite icons like Arunima Sinha, Bachendri Pal, Mary Kom or Kiran Bedi,” Tiwari told IANS.
The agency reported that authorities said that two other names were also considered for the two posts of visiting faculty, that of the wife of another industrialist, and Usha Mittal, wife of UK-based steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.
The Women Study Centre at the Social Sciences Faculty was reportedly established close to two decades ago and had three posts for visiting faculty.
Meanwhile, Prof. Nidhi Sharma, coordinator of the Centre for Women’s Studies and Development, said the proposal to make Nita Ambani a visiting professor has been sent to the authorities.
She said, “Ambani is a woman entrepreneur. If she joins our centre, the women of Purvanchal will get the benefit of her experience.”
With PTI Inputs