Rudrangshu Mukherjee, the Chancellor of Ashoka University in Sonipat, has responded to the attacks after the institute’s commitment to the core values and the role of its founders and trustees were questioned in the wake of the recent resignation of reputed political commentator Pratap Bhanu Mehta.
Mehta and noted economist Arvind Subramanian, two vocal critics of the Narendra Modi government, recently resigned from the university.
“I want to respond to this. First, Pratap is a close personal friend and someone whom I immensely respect. I was involved in bringing him to Ashoka, and he succeeded me as the Vice-Chancellor. He has made invaluable contributions to building Ashoka into the institution it is today,” Mukherjee said.
“We all regret what has happened, but I am sure we will recover and move forward from the situation we find ourselves in,” he added.
“Today when the founders are being attacked for trying to compromise and curtail academic autonomy and freedom of expression, I find it necessary as Chancellor, and given my association with Ashoka from its inception, to state unambiguously that the founders have never interfered with academic freedom: Faculty members have been left free to construct their own courses, follow their own methods of teaching and their own methods of assessment. They have also been left free to carry out their own research and publications,” Mukherjee added.
“Ashoka University’s commitment to core values and our founders and trustees’ role are being questioned in the wake of the recent resignation of Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta. I want to respond to this,” Mukherjee said.
“As the Chancellor, I see it as my duty that the core values as laid out above are unfailingly adhered to, as Ashoka University overcomes these difficult times and moves forward”, he added.