Responding to the controversy following media reports that Visva Bharati has named him among those occupying additional illegal plot, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen has said that the entire land occupied by him is registered in records and is entirely on long term lease.
In a mail to the media on Friday, Mr Sen also referred to a big yawn between the culture espoused in Santiniketan and that of the VC, apparently “empowered” by the government at the Centre.
Referring to media reports that Visva Bharati Vice-chancellor Bidyut Chakrabarty is busy arranging the eviction of unauthorized occupation of leased land in the campus and that he has also been named in the list of occupants, Mr Sen said in the statement that the central university has never complained about any irregularity of landholding either to him or his family.
The Nobel laureate asserted that the Visva Bharati land on which his house is situated is entirely on a long-term lease, which is nowhere near its expiry.
“Additional land was bought by my father as free hold and registered in land records under mouja Surul,” he said.
“I could comment on the big gap between Santiniketan culture and that of the V.C., empowered as he is by the central government in Delhi with its growing control over Bengal,” Mr Sen added.
“I would prefer to use Indian laws as they exist. For mental strength, I may clutch the beautiful old picture of our home by Abanindranath Tagore, among others,” he said.
Abanindranath Tagore is a famed painter of the Bengal School of Art. Mr Sen was born in Santiniketan in 1933 and his maternal grandfather Kshitimohan Sen had joined the Brahmacharyashram at the call of Rabindranath Tagore and was its first Deshikottam, the highest accolade by the university, in 1952.
Referring to recent reports on the VC’s claim to the faculty that Mr Sen had called him up against eviction of hawkers before his Pratichi residence, Mr Sen said “He would be spared the necessity of inventing completely imagined conversations with me, beginning impossibly with me introducing myself as Bharat Ratna something that no one has ever heard me do”.
He described Mr Chakrabarty as “an inventive artist as well.”
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is standing by Amartya Sen, had earlier expressed anguish at recent developments alluding to the world-renowned economist’s familial properties in Santiniketan.
Asking Mr Sen to count her as a sister and friend in his war against “intolerance and totalitarianism,” Ms Banerjee wrote that some “nouveau invaders” in Visva Bharati have started raising surprising and completely baseless allegations about his familial properties in Santiniketan.
BJP state President Dilip Ghosh Friday said being a Nobel winner and economist of international repute, Mr Sen should see to it that he is not used by some forces to score their political interests.
“We may disagree with him ideologically, but we have our respect for him. We urge him not to be used by anti-development political forces in West Bengal,” Mr Ghosh told reporters.