Mehta, who will continue to teach at the university, said he had increasingly begun to feel the tension between “my vocation as an academic and my obligations as an administrator.”
File photo of Pratap Bhanu Mehta.
New Delhi: Eminent scholar and Vice Chancellor of Ashoka University Pratap Bhanu Mehta has decided to step down from the post to focus on his academic ambitions. His resignation will be effective from August 1. Malabika Sarkar, principal advisor of the university, will take over from him.
Mehta’s decision to step down as vice chancellor has been accepted by Chancellor Rudranghu Mukherjee, who said the university fraternity was surprised by the former's move. Stating that he had considered the VC’s post as his privilege, Mehta said, “After much deliberation, I decided that I need to return to more full-time academic life.”
He said he had increasingly begun to feel the tension between “my vocation as an academic and my obligations as an administrator.” Mehta will continue to teach at the university, according to a statement issued by the university.
“It was time to give academic life one more shot before my synapses irrevocably hardened. The contemporary world has unsettled so many of our political and philosophical assumptions, and I increasingly felt the need to reorient myself academically. Hence, the decision to step down,” Mehta said, adding the decision was a personal one and that he had lots of freedom but little time.
Regarding Sarkar, Mukherjee said, “She is an eminent scholar who is exceptionally well qualified for the role, having had a four-year association with the university after a long experience in similar roles, as well as playing a key part in converting the Ashoka University vision into a reality. I am delighted to share that Professor Sarkar has accepted our offer.”
Sarkar is a former vice-chancellor of Presidency University in Kolkata (2011-14) and professor of English literature. An alumna of Cambridge university, she is said to have helped Presidency College transform into a university.
Sarkar was earlier the head of the Department of English at Jadavpur University, a member of the Jadavpur University Council and of various academic bodies of the university.
She was also a member of the University Grants Commission Panel of Experts in English and Foreign Languages and a panel member of the NAAC. Sarkar said she was looking forward to working with the faculty and students to build a world-class university. She had initiated Ashoka University's Ph.D Programme and created a research office.