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In the name of Nalanda, Saheli University emerges!

Author: Niraj Kamal
Publication: Bihar Times.in
Date: Saptember 18, 2011
URL:      http://www.bihartimes.in/Newsbihar/2011/Sep/newsbihar18Sep1.html

Nalanda University has attracted controversies even before the boundary wall has been erected for the campus at Nalanda. But, the blame goes to Amartya Sen led Nalanda Mentor Group which has contributed significantly in reducing this University into an institution mired in nepotism, favoritism and outright arbitrary acts and loot of public exchequer.

The controversy is raging against fat salary and to non-appointed VC and her OSD, both being friends and co-authors. But, there have  been other names which expose the blatant misdeeds of Amarty Sen-led NMG.

 From India, only four persons seems to have been involved besides Nalanda Mentor Group and all of those happen to be close friends from a single campus, Delhi University. The four sahelis from same campus viz. Gopa Sabharwal, Anjana Sharma, Upinder Singh and Nayanjot Lahiri are the only scholars and administrators of repute that a billion- strong population of India has produced to steer the signifier of Asian renaissance, Nalanda University.

 Upinder Singh is a Professor of Ancient Indian History in Delhi University. She is the eldest daughter of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.two others being Daman Singh, a budding novelist and Amrit Singh, an American citizen married to an American.

Nalanda Mentor group constituted by the Minister of external Affairs in June, 2007 appointed   an Advisory Council in its very first meeting held in Singapore from July 13-15,2007. Here is the list :

1. Prof. Tan Chung

2. Dr. Lincoln Chen, President, China Medical Board

3. Mr. Taufik Abdullah, former Director of Indonesian Institute of Sciences

4. Prof. Victor Mair, Unniversity of Pennsylvania

5. Prof. Nayanjot lahiri, University of Delhi

6. Prof. Upinder Singh, University of Delhi

7. Prof. Shelson Pollock, Colombia University

8. Prof. Charles Wilemen, University of Ghent, Belgium

9. Prof. R.Gombich, Oxford university

10. Prof. Higuchi Takayasu, Tokyo university

11. Mr. John Power, Australia

12. Ms. E. Guthrie, New Zealand

13. Prof Khoo Kay Kim, University of Malaya

14. Dr. Prapat, Thailand

15. Prof. Ishii Yoneo, Tokyo, Japan

16. Prof. Stanley Tambiah, Harvard University

17. Prof. Kim Yong-pyo, Dongguk University, ROK

18. Prof Le Manh That, Vice President, Vietnam Buddhist University

19. Prof. Lee Oh Liong, Professor at Rika Women’s University, former Minister of Culture, ROK

The 19-Member Council contained only two names from India, Upinder Singh and Nayanjot Lahiri, both belonging to same stream of archaeology and ancient Indian history  Both have co-authored many of the works and are close friends being in same campus in Delhi university.

Some of the co-authored work by the two ladies representing India in the Advisory Council are as follows:


1. 2009.  Upinder Singh, Nayanjot Lahiri,eds. Ancient India: New Research. N. Delhi, Oxford University Press.


1.  1999:  Upinder Singh, Nayanjot Lahiri: “In the shadow of Delhi: Understanding the     landscape through village eyes.” In Peter J. Ucko and Robert Layton edited, The Archaeology and Anthropology of Landscape (Routledge, 1999). This paper was presented at the 1994 World Archaeological Congress, New Delhi.

2.1996:  Upinder Singh,Nayanjot Lahiri and Tarika Oberoi: “Preliminary Field Report  on the Archaeology of Faridabad -- the Ballabgarh Tehsil,” Man and Environment XXI (1).

Recently, Nayanjot Lahiri and Upinder Singh co-coordinated jointly Buddhist revival in Asia Conference  in 2010 under the aegis of Nalanda Sriwijaya Centre with another NMG member, Tansen Sen.

 It is pertinent to mention that  this centre in Singapore  was founded by another NMG Member, George Yeo, the then Foreign Minister of Singapore. The Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, Singapore is proposed to become a regional Centre under the Nalanda University in later phase. There is a fear that the 19-Member  Advisory Council will be appointed as the first Academic Council of the Nalanda University and this is the reason of slowly getting Upinder Singh and Nayanjot Lahiri involved with Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre. This    fear is founded upon the insertion of Clause 43 (c) which is reproduced herein:

43(c) the first Academic Council shall consist of not ore than nineteen member, who shall be nominated by the Governing Board and they shall hold office for a term of three years.

The correspondence of number nineteen in both Advisory Council created arbitrarily by putting up acquaintances and the Academic Council  is not a mere coincidence. The  issue gets murkier as recently an Advisory Council Member, Dr. Prapat of Thailand has been roped into  Interim Governing Board arbitrarily by the NMG/GB,  though they have no authority to alter the composition of the Interim Governing Board.

*(Niraj Kamal is the President of Society for Asian Integration)
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