Murmurs at IIC: Gandhi replaces Vatsyayan a week after her death

New Delhi, Sep 22 : A development at the India International Centre (IIC), a cultural hub where the Capitals creme de la creme hobnob, has raised eyebrows among some of its members.

In the latest turn of events, the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi, has been appointed Trustee of IIC.

The sudden move comes just days after renowned scholar and art administrator Kapila Vatsyayan, who was also a trustee of IIC, passed away.

Vatsyayan, a culture connoisseur, helped establish leading institutes such as the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. A Padma Vibhushan, a former Member of Parliament who had authored nearly 20 books and a well-known scholar of art history, she died last Wednesday at the age of 92.

Vatsyayan was not only the chairperson of the Asia Project at the India International Centre (IIC) but also its Trustee.

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However, less than a week after her death, the IIC seems to have filled the vacancy. Though a senior official at the IIC called it a “rumour”, another trustee and former Solicitor General Soli Sorabjee’s office has confirmed the news. “Mr Sorabji has confirmed that Gopalkrishna Gandhi has confirmed his acceptance,” his office told IANS.

Earlier, his office said an offer was made to Gandhi and a decision by him was pending. However, they could not give the exact date of Gandhi’s acceptance of the post that belonged to Vatsyayan less than a week before.

Some members of IIC who refuse to come on record have questioned the “tearing hurry” of this appointment.

While none of the members questioned the “stature” of Gandhi, the urgency of the appointment to fill the vacancy has evoked the discomfiture of some of the members.

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However, the website of India International Centre still shows “Dr. (Smt.) Kapila Vatsyayan” as part of the ‘Board of Trustees’.

Meanwhile, Gandhi himself could not be contacted. An email sent to him has not elicited any response so far.

“Considered one of the country’s premier cultural institutions, the India International Centre is a non-government institution widely regarded as a place where statesmen, diplomats, policymakers, intellectuals, scientists, jurists, writers, artists and members of civil society meet to initiate the exchange of new ideas and knowledge in the spirit of international cooperation,” is how IIC is described in its website.


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