Nobel laureate Dr Amartya Sen has taken a leaf out of the BJP book and suggested the renaming of two things — the “science” that claims Kauravas were test-tube babies, and Nalanda, the university which no longer conforms to the Buddhist ideals it once stood for.
Speaking to NDTV after a seminar at Asiatic Society in Kolkata today, Dr Sen urged those attacking Naseeruddin Shah to desist. “Every human being has the right to an opinion, a right to express and resist what he thinks is wrong,” he said.
On Nalanda University, which Dr Sen quit as its chancellor back in February 2015 after differences with the BJP-led government at the centre, Dr Sen said, “Nalanda is a prime educational institute in India and a Buddhist foundation. But Nalanda is not functioning today in conformity with heritage.”
“RSS is dominant, the number of students has declined. We had 100 students join every year. Now that number is less than 20 students a year. People wanted something about international understanding and science and the open-minded Buddhist heritage that India has. But Nalanda is being governed in a very different way,” Dr Sen said.
In fact, asked about the recent name change like Prayagraj and Ayodhya, Dr Sen said, “I would be in favour of a name change for Nalanda because the university no longer conforms to what Nalanda stood for. It is no longer of the Nalanda tradition,” he said.
As for the claims at the recent Indian Science Congress about the Kauravas from the Mahabharata being test-tube babies, Dr Sen said, “I am in favour of giving it a word of its own rather than science — that Kauravas were test tube babies. In the name of science they are doing something else.”
With elections round the corner, would he want Naseeruddin Shah and others who have come under attack by the right wing to be patient, Dr Sen said, “I don’t want anyone to be patient. I think impatience is the most important virtue we have to cultivate.”
“I think India has suffered a lot with super patience with inequality with injustice on one side and absurdity on the other. Test tube babies is not injustice. It is an absurdity that we should be impatient with,” he added.