Banaras Hindu University (BHU) students have reportedly opposed the institution's proposal to appoint Reliance Industries executive director Nita Ambani as visiting professor.
Citing it as a "wrong example" being set by BHU, students even protested at the university on Tuesday, March 16. A group of over 40 students staged a demonstration outside the residence of Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar on campus and submitted a memorandum as well, the Indian Express reported.
The students are of the view that instead of Nita Ambani, those who have set an example for women empowerment, should be invited. BHU's Social Sciences Faculty had recently forwarded a proposal to Reliance Foundation, requesting Nita Ambani to join the university as a visiting faculty at their Women Study Centre, the report added.
Although the proposal has been sent only to Nita Ambani, authorities affirmed that the other two names reviewed for the remaining two visiting faculty posts were that of Usha Mittal, wife of UK-based steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal, and Priti Adani, wife of Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani. The Women Study Centre of the Social Sciences Faculty has three vacant posts for visiting professors. The centre was set up around two years ago.
"We do academic and research work related to women empowerment, along with graduation and post-graduation courses. Following the BHU tradition of involving philanthropic industrialists, we sent a letter to the Reliance Foundation asking Nita Ambani to join the Women Study Centre as a visiting professor so that we can benefit from her experience. We did this because the Reliance Foundation has done a lot of work in the field of women empowerment," Kaushal Kishore Mishra, Dean of the Social Sciences Faculty, told the publication.
Meanwhile, Shubham Tiwari, one of the protesting students, claimed that the move "smacked of a conspiracy".
"We are setting up a wrong example. Being the wife of a rich person is not an achievement and these people cannot be our icons. If you talk about women empowerment, then invite icons like Arunima Sinha, Bachendri Pal, Mary Kom or Kiran Bedi," Tiwari noted.
He also alleged that Vice-Chancellor Bhatnagar told the students that he had no information about the proposal being sent to Nita Ambani.