On a day when Panjab University (PU) was ranked 13th in the Times Higher Education BRICS and Emerging Economics Rankings 2014, former PU Vice-Chancellor and eminent mathematician Professor RP Bambah stunned the university authorities by deciding not to accept the honoris causa (honorary degree) which the University Senate was planning to confer upon him after clearing it in its upcoming meeting on December 8.
The PU Senate was slated to confer the honorary degree to Professor Bambah in its upcoming meeting scheduled for Sunday. However, before the agenda could come up for the meeting, Professor Bambah requested the Syndicate in its meeting held on Thursday, to withdraw the recommendation regarding the degree from the Senate agenda.
“As a sitting member of the PU Senate, I do not find it appropriate to accept the degree,” quoted PU Vice-Chancellor (V-C), Professor Arun Kumar Grover from the letter written by Professor Bambah.
Speaking to Newsline, Professor Bambah said, “I am honoured by the respect and affection given to me by the members of the Senate and the Syndicate, who thought that I should be conferred this degree, but I personally do not feel comfortable in accepting the degree as a Senate member.” He added, “I do not intend to disrespect the Senate’s decision, but this is how I feel.”
The V-C Professor Grover, expressed immense sadness about the decision. “He is like a father-figure to me, and I respect him very much. So, I was surprised when he met me around 1 pm and gave me the letter,” said a visibly shaken PU VC. Asked about the possible reasons that could have led to Professor Bambah declining the degree, the VC said, “He has his own reasons, and if this is what he desires, then what can be done. I respect him.”
The move has sent a shock wave across the fellows of the university, who have emphasized upon the respect that the former VC commands in the university. “Professor Bambah has always spread goodwill in the varsity, and is immensely respected,” said Ashok Goyal, member of the Syndicate.
However, the Syndicate members unanimously rejected the request laid by