The proposal of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) to appoint Nita Ambani, wife of industrialist Mukesh Ambani, as a visiting professor, has met with resistance by a small group of students. BHU's Social Sciences Faculty had reportedly sent a proposal to Reliance Foundation, asking Nita Ambani to join the university as a visiting faculty at their Women Study Centre.
However, a Reliance Industries spokesperson told ANI that the reports about Nita Ambani becoming a visiting lecturer at Banaras Hindu University are false. "She hasn't received an invitation from BHU," the spokesperson said.
A group of about 40 students, on Tuesday, protested outside the residence of Vice-Chancellor Rakesh Bhatnagar on the campus and submitted a memorandum. Research scholar Shubham Tiwari, who was among the protesting students, had said that the step would set 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.
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."
The proposal has been sent only to Nita Ambani but authorities said that the other two names considered for the remaining two visiting faculty posts were that of Priti Adani, the wife of 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.