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Bratya Basu

Governor is guided by Macbeth's ambitions: Bratya 

The day before, C.V. Ananda Bose had suggested he would be no Hamlet, pondering 'to be or not be', if he had to deal with a crisis

Subhankar Chowdhury | Published 10.05.23, 06:39 AM
(L-R) Bratya Basu, CV Ananda Bose

(L-R) Bratya Basu, CV Ananda Bose

The Telegraph

Education minister Bratya Basu on Tuesday said governor C.V. Ananda Bose was behaving like Macbeth, “guided by extreme ambitions”.

The day before, the governor had suggested he would be no Hamlet, pondering “to be or not be”, if he had to deal with a crisis.


Basu was at Rabindra Bharati University (RBU) when reporters sought his reaction to Bose’s speech at the university’s convocation on Monday.

The governor, who is the ex officio chancellor of RBU and other state universities, had said in his convocation address: “When there is a crisis — whether there is a legal crisis or constitutional crisis or political crisis — a governor should not be like Hamlet in Shakespeare... ‘To be or not to be’.”

The Bengal education minister, himself a playwright, said: “The way the chancellor bypasses the education department while seeking to appropriate all university campuses — our chief minister, too, spoke about this yesterday — gives the impression that not Hamlet, he is behaving like Macbeth, which is to say he is being guided by extreme ambitions. That was Macbeth’s tragic flaw, hamartia.”

After learning about the reference to Hamlet on Monday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said her government wanted the governor to sign the bill that seeks to make the chief minister chancellor of state universities, instead of the governor, or return it.

She accused Bose of interfering in the affairs of universities.

Continuing with Shakespearean analogies, education minister Basu said on Tuesday the governor could end up like Julius Caesar. “The way he is being surrounded by the BJP’s Marcus Brutus, I wonder whether he would end up like Julius Caesar,” Basu said.

The education minister and the chancellor have been on a collision course ever since Bose told the VCs of state universities to seek the chancellor’s approval for any decision “which has financial implications” and email a “weekly activity report” to Raj Bhavan.

An official in the state education department said the chancellor seems to be seeking to control campuses as he is not consulting the department and “meddling in the internal affairs of the universities”.

Bose had on April 4 sent a communique to the VCs of all state universities, asking them to email weekly activity reports to Raj Bhavan on the last working day of every week. A Bengal government rule that came into force in 2019 says all communications from a VC to the chancellor “shall be addressed to the (education) department”.

“In recent times, he has ordered two teachers to perform the duties of VC at Maulana Abul Kalam Azad University of Technology and Netaji Subhas Open University without consulting the department. He sought the names of five senior-most professors directly from the universities so he could appoint interim VCs from among them. All these acts show he is bypassing the state education department,” the official said.

A VC said the 2019 rules say every communication proposed to be made by the chancellor to any state-aided university will be “routed through the education department”.

An education department official said the governor who had said in late February, with the education minister seated next to him, that the litmus test of education was its ability to resolve conflicts, is not missing an opportunity to get into a conflict with the department.

Last updated on 10.05.23, 06:39 AM

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