After BHU students protests, Reliance Foundation Refutes reports of Nita Ambani joining BHU faculty

The students say that appointing Nita Ambani, the wife of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, as a visiting professor is setting a “wrong example” being set by the university.

Banaras Hindu University (BHU) is in news again for the recruitment of faculty. This time it is about the proposal to make Nita Ambani, Chairperson Reliance Foundation a visiting professor to teach Women Studies.

Last Friday, the university’s Social Sciences Faculty had sent a proposal to Reliance Foundation, asking Nita Ambani to join the university as a visiting faculty at their Women Study Centre.

Yesterday around 30-40 students from BHU protested outside the residence of Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar and submitted him a memorandum.

The students say that appointing Nita Ambani, the wife of billionaire industrialist Mukesh Ambani, as a visiting professor is setting a “wrong example” being set by the university.

Research scholar Shubham Tiwari, who was among the protesting students, alleged that the step “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 said.

While the proposal has been sent only to Nita Ambani, authorities confirmed that the other two names considered for the remaining two visiting faculty posts were that of Priti Adani, the wife of billionaire industrialist Gautam Adani, and Usha Mittal, the wife of UK-based steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal.

The Women Study Centre of the Social Sciences Faculty, which was set up nearly two decades ago, has three posts for visiting professors.

In their defence, Kaushal Kishore Mishra, Dean of the Social Sciences Faculty said- “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,”

Reliance Industries Limited, however, has said Ms Ambani, has not received any such invitation.

Responding to the reports, Reliance Industries Limited spokesperson told news agency ANI: “Reports that Nita Ambani will be a visiting lecturer at Banaras Hindu University are fake. She hasn’t received an invitation.”

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