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After life term for murder, MLA earns Ph.D on Lord Mahavir

If RJD muscleman and ‘Sultan of Siwan’ Mohammed Shahabuddin could get a Ph.D in political science...

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
December 17, 2008 12:03:26 am

If RJD muscleman and ‘Sultan of Siwan’ Mohammed Shahabuddin could get a Ph.D in political science, suspended JD(U) MLA Narendra Kumar Pandey a.k.a. Sunil Pandey — currently serving time behind bars — has gone one step further.

On November 27, surprising everyone who knows Pandey in the state by reputation or association, he was conferred Ph.D in Lord Mahavir’s doctrine of non-violence. His topic was: “Mahavir ke updesh adhunik pripekshya mein (The relevance of Mahavir’s teachings in modern context).”

Till now, the Piro MLA has been known for his public brawls, including in 2006, when he clashed with mediapersons while apparently inebriated in a posh Patna hotel and threatened to shoot a photojournalist, the incident caught on camera. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who had just left after a function at the hotel, was not amused and Pandey was suspended from the JD(U).

Early this year, Pandey got into another fracas when he threatened a Bhojpur district judge during court proceedings and was handed three months’ imprisonment for “misdemeanour” and contempt of court by the Patna High Court.

Recently, after being charged in over a dozen criminal cases including murder, kidnapping and extortion, Pandey was given a life term for kidnapping a doctor. He is also serving two years in jail for violating some prohibitory orders in 2006.

Veer Kuwar Singh University (VKSU), Ara (Bhojpur), conferred the doctorate degree on Pandey for his work on Lord Mahavir. Says Vice-Chancellor Dr Rampal Singh: “This is not the first time that a person facing criminal charges has sought a doctorate on non-violence. But Sunil Pandey, facing criminal charges, getting a Ph.D on Mahavir, does surprise people and calls for some serious thought.”

Danish Rizwan, an “acquaintance” of Sunil Pandey at Ara, claims to have had many discussions with Pandey on the topic. “Pandey’s several trips to jail reinforced his resolve to get a doctorate on Mahavir, who symbolises non-violence along with Buddha,” says Rizwan.

He also hoped that the honour would convince Pandey to change for the better.

Pandey had taken his viva voce examination for the Ph.D on November 25 after taking special permission from Sasaram jail. He conducted his research under the guidance of Professor Ramji Rai, the Head of Department of History of Ara’s S B College.

He is out on parole for five days from Sunday from jail. Celebrations are surely due.

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