Thursday, December 18, 2008

The ‘don’ of non-violence

Sanjay Singh
Tribune News Service

Patna, December 16People facing serious criminal charges being elected to the Vidhan Sabha and Lok Sabha is hardly a surprise in Bihar. Almost all political parties have a fair share of such don-turned-politicians. There are also instances of incarcerated MLAs and MPs doing graduation, postgraduation and Phd from different varsities.

But how about an MLA, involved in various crimes, including murder, loot, extortion and kidnapping, getting a doctorate for his research on non-violence. Meet Narendra Kumar Pandey alias Sunil Pandey, who has been awarded a PhD degree by Veer Kunwar Singh University (VKSU), Ara, for his research on the topic “Mahavir’s Preachings in Modern Context”. Interestingly, the legislator — who has been suspended by the ruling JDU for his continued criminal behaviour — made headlines four months ago when he was sentenced to life imprisonment by a court for getting a Patna neuro-surgeon Dr Ramesh Chandra kidnapped for ransom.

Once again, he is in the limelight but for totally different reasons. The university published the result on November 27. A varsity source revealed that a team of experts on Jainism had taken Pandey’s interview (viva-voce examination) for the doctorate degree on November 25. He had appeared in the oral examination under police custody and the vice-chancellor of VKSU was also present there.

Pandey’s guide for PhD was Dr Ramji Rai, head of the history department of S.B.College, Ara. Pandey has been awarded a gold medal by the institute for excelling in studies and extra- curricular activities. Considered as an authority on Jainism and Prakrit, he has to his credit many articles on ‘non-violence’. Pandey is said to be a lifetime member of All India Oriental Conference (Pune), Indian Society of Budhist Studies (Jammu) and Indian Society of Gandhian studies. If his supporters are to be believed, Pandey has set his eyes on DLitt now.

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