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Study Centre At Oxford University Uk To Be Named After Indira Should Be Oppossed By Sikh Groups

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A study centre is being planned at Oxford University UK named after Indira Gandhi. This is a deplorable act to use the name of mass killer at a reputable British University that gets Government funding. As the university is paid for by British tax payers it is something we all have a right to object to . Can the various Sikh organisations and Sikh Council take this up. It will also bring the Sikh Genocide out in the UK if Sikh objections hit the media.


Special to the tribune
Study centre named after Indira to come up at Oxford
Shyam Bhatia in London

An Oxford University project to create a new graduate studies centre named in honour of Indira Gandhi has attracted a contribution of Rs 25 crore (approximately £3 million) from the Government of India.

India’s contribution, which has been matched by a similar sum from Oxford, will help fund scholarships for postgraduate students from India to study at the centre - the Indira Gandhi Centre for Sustainable Development.

Details of the unique project have been revealed by the head of the college where Indira Gandhi herself was briefly enrolled as an undergraduate student studying history back in 1937.

Dr Alice Prochaska, Principal of Somerville College, explained: “The idea is we are offering these scholarships to students from India who have been offered places on master’s courses at Oxford.”

She added: There are several master’s courses that we’ve identified as relating to the first of the themes we wish to develop through the Indira Gandhi Centre. That theme is food security. There are several courses that students have applied for, which relate in one way or another to food security and policies surrounding food security. Each one of the courses has a slightly different design, but essentially they are a mixture of teaching and research.”

Since Oxford wants to attract the brightest and the best from India, including those who could emerge as future leaders, all applicants have been subjected to a rigorous screening process.

“What we did was to identify the eligible pool of candidates who are all from Indian universities, they are all of Indian nationality ordinarily resident in India and these candidates have been through the very rigorous Oxford University applications process and have been offered places on courses that they chose”, Dr Prochaska explained.

“Academically, we already know that they are very highly qualified. We wrote to all of them, to those who indicated they do not yet have funding and invited them to apply and asked them to write a letter explaining what they would like to do in the future when they have got their degree. How they see themselves bringing benefit to India in the future.”

Asked how the project will have a “transformational impact “on the lives of future leaders, Dr Prochaska said: “First of all we will identify those we think are future leaders through their applications. That is we’ve asked them to submit a personal statement which not only sets out their chosen course of study , but to say how they think it will equip them to respond to the challenges of sustainable development faced by India. And then to give an example that demonstrates their leadership and entrepreneurship potential. So we hope we are identifying people who see themselves as future leaders in whatever their chosen field of activity. And then we will give them a mix of mentoring and special seminars and, since it’s a small number of students in the first instance, we will be able to respond personally to their interests in developing their own leadership qualities.

“We want to select the finest students from India who want to come to Oxford, regardless of their financial means. They will be supervised by some of the best scientists in their respective fields in the world and this will make a huge difference to their opportunities in the future.”

Honouring an icon

The Indian government has contributed Rs 25 crore for the Indira Gandhi Centre for Sustainable Development at Somerville College

India’s contribution will be matched by a similar sum from Oxford and help fund scholarships for postgraduate students from India to study at the centre

Indira Gandhi was an undergraduate student of history at Somerville College in 1937

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IT would be better to name the college centre after Maharaja Duleep Singh who's daughters attended the college. Indira Gandhi actually failed the entrance exam and was a poor student, spending her time at parties in London.

Princesses Catherine and Bamba Duleep Singh (Somerville College)

Catherine and Bamba were daughters of the last Maharaja of the Sikh, Raj Duleep Singh.

He had been exiled to Great Britain as a young boy and was the ward of Queen Victoria. She insisted that the Maharaja's children be given the best English education and was instrumental in the princesses studying in Oxford in the 1890s.

It was a traumatic time for the girls. Their mother had recently died and their father was fighting a campaign to reclaim the throne of the Punjab.

"I think they would have wanted to study very quietly," suggested Peter Bance, historian and author of 'Sovereign, Squire and Rebel - Maharaja Duleep Singh'.

"They... had a very hard last few years leading up to Somerville, so I don't think they wanted to voice too much of their political or religious views in any way."

As adults they took part in the Suffragette movement, assisted Jews escape Nazi Germany, founded a Museum in Norfolk and served as patrons to numerous English establishments.

Bamba later styled herself as 'Queen of the Punjab' but when she died in 1957 she was the last surviving member of the dynasty

Indira Gandhi (Somerville College)

Indira Gandhi originally failed her entrance examination for Oxford but was eventually accepted at Somerville College.

She was the first, and to date only, female Prime Minister of India and the world's longest serving woman Prime Minister (1966 to 1977 and 1980 until 1984 when she was assassinated

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