New Delhi, India (AHN) – A major controversy emerging over world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand’s nationality has landed the Ministry of Human Resource Development i a soup while embarrassing the University of Hyderabad, which wanted to confer an honorary doctorate degree on Anand. The controversy emerged because Anand, despite holding on to his Indian passport, has made Spain his second home.
The university submitted a file in October 2009 containing Anand’s name as well as that of Harvard University mathematician David Mumford for the honor, which would be presented during the ongoing International Congress of Mathematicians.
The file was submitted to the Ministry but was not sent forward for the President’s approval.
Rajat Tandon, head of the university’s mathematics department, said UoH had been left “extremely embarrassed” because of the controversy, and although they had planned to hold a function on Tuesday to confer the doctorate upon Anand, the champion is believed to have refused to accept the same.
Abraham Kuruvilla, Anand’s agent, told the press on Tuesday, “There is no way he is going to take the award now and during this Congress as far as I know.”
In a statement, Anand said, “I have always played under the Indian flag, held an Indian passport, right from the time I took my first overseas trip. I do not understand the issue. I am in Hyderabad to play against the mathematicians and to enjoy the Congress. So let us leave it at that.”
However, Kapil Sibal, the minister for human resource development, on Tuesday apologized to Anand for the “procedural error” in the case. He addressed a press conference in which he clarified that his Ministry had never questioned Anand’s nationality.
Sibal also claimed that after he spoke to the champion, Anand agreed to accept the honor.
The minister said, “I told him that the honorary degree could be conferred today itself. He indicated to me that he has some problem about this evening. Then I told him any date of his convenience for the function was okay. He has accepted it.