University in Turmoil: Scandalous Unveiling of Ashoka’s Secrets! (Ashoka University) 2023

Sonipat, New Delhi: Ashoka University has garnered significant attention over the past month, consistently making headlines. What originally began as a Twitter storm surrounding an unpublished and non-peer-reviewed research paper has evolved into a profound period of introspection for the nine-year-old institution, leading to a fundamental question of its identity.

At the core of this unfolding situation is a clash between the university’s financial backers and its faculty members. Often referred to as “Haryana’s Harvard” and a prestigious institution for well-heeled students, Ashoka University finds itself entangled in a very public dispute. The entire sequence of events has unfolded openly, with no attempt to keep it concealed.

Assistant Professor Sabyasachi Das posted a link to his working paper on the 2019 Lok Sabha election results on Twitter, leading to the university distancing itself from his work and subsequently, his resignation. Faculty members united in response, expressing concerns about the perceived erosion of academic freedom. The situation escalated further as an Intelligence Bureau team visited the campus, a founder voiced frustrations on Twitter, and a data center was disbanded.

However, this ongoing saga is far from its resolution.

In less than a decade, Ashoka University has experienced significant turmoil, characterized by uncertainty, shifting priorities, debates over academic freedom, and a deviation from its original vision.

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“Excessive involvement in the wrong kind of politics can undermine a university. At Ashoka, if such politics prevail, every donor may withdraw their support. That’s not the kind of politics we want here at Ashoka,” remarked Sanjeev Bikhchandani, a founder and trustee of the university.

From its inception, Ashoka’s core founders have maintained an active involvement, refraining from adopting a more passive role even after providing financial support. However, today, as noted by professors and research scholars, the university’s governing body is increasingly asserting itself.

“In times of crisis or controversy, they tend to assert control in a manner with which they are familiar, which often conflicts with the principles of academic freedom,” stated a former professor.

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