Kolkata: Visva Bharati Vice Chancellor’s comment about the residence of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has kicked up a storm in West Bengal. VC Bidyut Chakraborty -- who has been lately in news for his controversial remarks -- had claimed that Sen’s residence ‘Pratichi’ has encroached upon the land belonging to the university.
Following this comment, Left Front Chairman Biman Basu, in a press release, said, “The comment by VB authorities are obnoxious.” Basu has urged the authorities to solve the dispute, if any, over the land which belonged to Acharya Kshitimohan Sen, maternal grandfather of Amartya Sen.
Octogenarian Supriyo Tagore, one of the senior most ashramiks of Shanitiniketan told NewsClick, “In all probability, the land belonged to Amartya da’s father Prof A T Sen and was given by Rabindranath Tagore himself to him. After so many years, there is no rationale to create any hullabaloo about the houses on the Visva Bharati premises.”
Another senior ashramik, Supriyo Chatterjee, too expressed strong displeasure at the comments made by the VC. Students and professors of VBU, too, said that they have been peeved because of the various comments made by the VC in the past as well. They accused Chakraborty of adding fodder to the politicisation of the cultural space at Shantiniketan, especially during Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent visit.
It can be recalled that the Nobel laureate Sen is highly critical of the ruling dispensation. Sen had left the position of Acharya of the Nalanda University after Narendra Modi had sworn as the prime minister. On February 19, 2015, Amartya Sen had written an open letter to the Governing Board expressing regret that he had to leave the post of chancellor due to the Central Government's deliberate inaction over his term renewal. He had criticised the political interference in academic matters.
Former Rabindrabharati Vice Chancellor and renowned educationist Prof Pabitra Sarkar, said, “Sen is our pride, while the present VC of VBU is not the fittest personality for his post.”
Kumar Rana, former Research Director of Pratichi Trust, said, “What the Visva Bharati VC has said about Professor Sen's ancestral house is sad. However, he has not sent any letter or even queries to Prof Sen.”
Meanwhile, Prof Amartya Sen has clarified that he has got all the requisite documents to prove the status of the lease.
CPI(M) leader MD Salim, speaking with NewsClick, launched a strong attack on the attitude of the BJP. “BJP is against his intellect and independent thinking. Pratichi Trust, founded by Dr Sen, is doing great work for the education of poor children in the state. Such conspiratorial accusations are totally uncalled for,” he said.
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