Video: Nobel Prize Winner Amartya Sen Responds to Nalanda University Critics

In an exclusive interview at Asia Society in New York (embedded below), Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen responded to news that former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam would no longer be associated with the revival of Nalanda University, one of the oldest universities in the world.

Sen said the position of "visitor" — responsible for monitoring and reviewing the functions of a university in India — is meant to be held by the current president. "Now," Sen said, "Dr. Kalam decided that since he’s no longer president it would be only appropriate that it should go to the present president."

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil has agreed to be visitor, he said.

He also stressed that Nalanda is still in a "formative" stage. He added, "There has to be some kind of intelligent merging of the short-run challenges with the long-run challenges to be met."

He described the experience of reviving Nalanda as a "thrilling" one and acknowledged some criticism received. 

"One has to be very childish to protest about that because, after all, that is democratic criticism even when the criticism is wrong, which I believe it mostly is in this case," Sen said. He added that such criticism was healthy because it brought about a discussion, one you can view in part in the lively comments section of our recent Q&A with the Nobel laureate. 

Watch a video clip of Sen's comments below (4 mins., 27 sec.). The Q&A, a highlights video and the complete speech he gave at Asia Society on September 22 are also available.

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Shreeya Sinha is an award-winning Journalist, Multimedia Producer and Social Media Editor for Asia Society. She was raised in Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and India.