‘Considered a political liability for university’: Mehta in letter

Mehta said that his public writing in support of constitutional values is perceived to carry risks to Ashoka University.

‘Considered a political liability for university’: Mehta in letter PB Mehta (source: Wikimedia Commons)
Team Careers360 | Mar 19, 2021 - 9:41 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: Ashoka University professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta, in his resignation letter, said that his resignation comes as it has become “abundantly clear” that his public writing in support of constitutional values “is perceived to carry risks for the university”. Mehta said that his association with the university may be considered a “political liability” by the administration.

Mehta resigned from Ashoka University on Tuesday following which the former chief economic advisor, Arvind Subramanian, also resigned from his teaching position at the university. Ashoka University students had organised protests demanding to bring back Mehta and also make his resignation letter public.

The full text of Mehta’s letter is given below.


Prof. Malabika Sarkar,

Vice- Chancellor, Ashoka University.


Dear Prof Sarkar,

I write to tender my resignation from Ashoka University as University Professor. After a meeting with Founders it has become abundantly clear to me that my association with the University may be considered a political liability. My public writing in support of a politics that tries to honour constitutional values of freedom and equal respect for all citizens, is perceived to carry risks for the university. In the interests of the University I resign. I would request that the resignation take immediate effect. I am teaching one class, and would not like to leave the students stranded. But I think the university can find a solution. I can informally finish out the rest of the classes, if no other solution is found.

It has been a great privilege to get to know the students and several wonderful colleagues at Ashoka. I hope that the institution continues to thrive. I thank you and the Chancellor for your personal kindness over the years of my association with Ashoka. It is clear it is time for me to leave Ashoka. A liberal university will need a liberal political and social context to flourish. I hope the university will play a role in securing that environment. Nietzsche once said that “no living for truth is possible in a university.” I hope that prophecy does not come true. But in light of the prevailing atmosphere, the Founders and the Administration will require renewed commitment to the values of Ashoka, and new courage to secure Ashoka’s freedom. My only request is that the administration cooperate in making all the transition formalities as painless as possible. If any arrangements can take due consideration of my driver, Gajendra Sahu, I will be most grateful. He moved jobs with me and should not be penalised. If some interim help can be granted to him, while I make alternative arrangements to transfer him to an appropriate payroll, I shall be obliged. I will forever remain a supporter of the values Ashoka is meant to embody. Please convey my deepest gratitude to all of Ashoka’s faculty, students and staff. They have all been unfailingly professional, supportive and generous. will have a hard copy with my signature sent to you as well. But this mail be treated as my resignation.

With warmest personal regards,

Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Cc: Chancellor, Rudrangshu Mukherjee

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