Arvind Subramanian resigns from Ashoka University after P.B. Mehta’s exit

He says he has been devastated by circumstances involving professor’s resignation

Former Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian has resigned from his position as professor at Ashoka University.

In his resignation letter, Prof. Subramanian said he had been “devastated” by “the circumstances involving the ‘resignation’ of Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta two days earlier.

“That someone of such integrity and eminence, who embodied the vision underlying Ashoka, felt compelled to leave is troubling,” he wrote in his letter to Vice-Chancellor Malabika Sarkar.

“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,” Prof. Subramanian added.

His email was shared with members of the university’s economics faculty.

Prof. Subramanian added, “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.”

Prof. Mehta’s exit

The university’s student newspaper The Edict reported that in Prof. Mehta’s email to his students, he said that “after discussions with the university about prevailing circumstances, it became clear to me that it was best to move on.”

The paper also elaborated on the circumstances surrounding Prof. Mehta’s exit.

“A source, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Edict that the resignation of Professor Pratap Bhanu Mehta was endorsed by the Founders of the University,” said an article.

“This endorsement, according to a senior faculty member with whom our source spoke, was motivated by an understanding that if Prof. Mehta resigned, the University’s efforts to acquire a new plot of land to expand the campus would get much smoother. Additionally, formal recognition for the fourth-year post-graduate diploma, Ashoka Scholars’ Program, was also hinted at being part of the deal,” the article added.

Prof. Mehta told The Hindu he did not wish to comment on his departure from the university.

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