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Arvind Subramanian also quits Ashoka, says devastated by Mehta's resignation
New Delhi, March 18, 2021
Pratap Bhanu Mehta and Arvind Subramanian, two vocal critics of the Modi government, have resigned from the Ashoka University.
Mehta stepped down as a Professor at the Ashoka University on Tuesday, almost two years after he had resigned as its Vice Chancellor.
The noted political commentator is known as a staunch critic of the Modi government at the Centre and has been regularly expressing that in his writings.
Faculty members at Ashoka University in Sonipat displayed their ire by writing to the Vice Chancellor and board members, expressing anger and deep anguish over Mehta's resignation as a professor from the university.
The alumni council of the university has also released a separate statement expressing solidarity with Mehta.
The statement by the faculty members came on a day when eminent economist Arvind Subramaniam also resigned from the university.
The faculty members have noted that Mehta's exit has set a "chilling precedent for future removals of faculty" and is a "matter of great anguish".
Former Chief Economic Adviser Subramanian said in his resignation letter: "The circumstances involving the 'resignation' of Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, who is not just a dear friend but a truly inspirational national figure, have devastated me. I am acutely aware of the broader context in which Ashoka and its trustees have to operate, and have so far admired the University for having navigated it so well."
Subramanian's exit from Ashoka University became public on Thursday. He had joined the varsity in July last year as a Professor in the Department of Economics. He is also the founding director of the new Ashoka Centre for Economic Policy, devoted to researching policy issues related to India and global development.
Subramanian, in his letter addressed to Vice Chancellor Malabika Sarkar, wrote: "But that someone of such integrity and eminence, who embodied the vision underlying Ashoka, felt compelled to leave is troubling. That even Ashoka — with its private status and backing by private capital — can no longer provide a space for academic expression and freedom is ominously disturbing. Above all, that the University's commitment to fight for and sustain the Ashoka vision is now open to question makes it difficult for me to continue being part of Ashoka."
"So it is with a sense of deep regret and profound sadness that I am writing to submit my resignation from the University which will take effect from the end of this academic year. I wish you and the University, and especially its gifted and motivated students -- who are the heart of Ashoka -- success in the future," he said.