Nalanda University’s third chancellor will be Vijay Bhatkar, a well-known computer scientist.
He president of RSS-affiliated outfit Vijnana Bharati, which promotes ‘swadeshi’ science.
He was formerly chair of IIT Delhi’s board of governors.
The university’s newly-constituted governing board recommended Bhatkar’s name to the Visitor, President Pranab Mukherjee, who then approved the appointment on Friday, January 27.
Bhatkar’s appointment was confirmed after George Yeo, former Singapore foreign minister, resigned from the post in protest.
He said Indian government had not consulted him before making a series of decisions, including deciding:
- Not to extend the term of the Nalanda Mentors Group-Governing Board,
- Ending interim vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal’s extended term and
- Determining the constitution of the new governing board.
Yeo had succeeded Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, after the latter withdrew himself from consideration for a second term, accusing the government of intervening in the university’s affairs.
Bhatkar led India’s supercomputing initiative by setting up the Center for Development of Advanced Computing in Pune in 1987, which is responsible for creating Param 8000 and Param 10000, India’s first supercomputers.
Bhatkar received a Padmashri in 2000 and a Padma Bhushan in 2015.
Niti Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya, ICCR president Lokesh Chandra and Arvind Sharma of McGill University are the new members of the board.
China and Thailand have re-nominated their members, while Laos and Australia are yet to confirm the names of their representatives.
N.K. Singh, former revenue secretary and Rajya Sabha member, was the only Indian nominee left out from the previous mentors’ group.
As per the statutes, the governing body has to recommend at least three names for appointment as vice-chancellor to the president.About Nalanda University
- Nalanda University in Rajgir, Bihar, is a cluster of multi-disciplinary schools.
- Currently, the School of Historical Studies, School of Ecology and Environment Studies, and the School of Buddhist studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religion have admitted students.
- Five more schools in linguistics, international relations, information science and technology, economics and management, and public health are also planned.
- India had proposed the revival of Nalanda University at the East Asia Summit in 2007. This is showcasing the project to evoke India’s cultural linkages with the South East Asia and beyond.