Political scientist Pratap Bhanu Mehta has stepped down from his position as vice-chancellor of Ashoka University effective August 1 to “return to full time academic life”. Malabika Sarkar, prinicipal advisor (academic) at Ashoka, will take over from him, the institute said Saturday.
Mehta, who is also contributing editor with The Indian Express, will continue to teach at the university.
In a letter to the varsity community Saturday, Mehta said, “….The Chancellor has kindly accepted my resignation. Being Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka has been an extraordinary privilege. But after much deliberation, I decided I need to return to more full time academic life. I will continue to be associated with Ashoka University. I will continue to teach, learn, write and enjoy the intellectual richness of this wonderful university, and help it in any way I can.”
“I was lucky enough to have the full support of the university in all my endeavours, including my writing. But I had increasingly begun to feel the tension between my vocation as an academic and my obligations as an administrator. The practical challenges of running a university left me without enough space for my academic interests. I had unlimited freedom but little time. It was time to give academic life one more shot, before my synapses irrevocably hardened. I wanted to carve out a space to engage with the practical and theoretical challenges of our time, and return to various unfinished academic projects. 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,” he said.
When contacted, Mehta said, “My letter says everything, I have nothing to add.”
Professor Sarkar, who will succeed Mehta, said, “I look forward to working with the faculty and students to build a world class university.”