Anand rebuffs birthers, rejects honorary doctorate

8/24/2010 – It happened to Barack, now World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand faces doubt concerning his nationality. Anand was born in Chennai (at the time Madras), India, where he has a residence. But he also has one in Spain, which led to the confusion. The result: Anand declined receiving the honorary doctorate he was to be awarded. Naturally he is an Indian citizen. Press reports and video.

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World chess champion Viswanathan Anand may have brought laurels to India many a time but doubts have been cast over his nationality, throwing a dampener on University of Hyderbad's plans to honour him with a doctorate. Hailing from Tamil Nadu, Anand made Spain his second home for some years now but continues to hold an Indian passport.

Even after a series of clarifications, including submission of his passport copy, the ministry has kept the file on hold. But with the clearance being withheld, the ceremony has been put on hold too. Full story here...

You can also watch this report on the citizen controversy in Hindi here:


The university’s executive committee had several months ago approved proposals to confer honorary doctoral degrees on Anand and a senior American mathematician, David Mumford, university officials said. The university had forwarded the proposal to the HRD ministry by mid-July. It received a response claiming, mistakenly, that since Anand — who lives in Spain — is a foreigner, the proposal would also have to be processed by the external affairs ministry.

“We were shocked that someone had raised this issue — we always think of Anand as an Indian,” Tandon said. “We contacted Aruna (Anand’s wife), and she sent us a copy of his Indian passport,” he said.

In her email to ICM organisers, Aruna wrote: “I do not understand from where the confusion on Anand’s citizenship comes from. Anand is and has always been a citizen of India.” University sources said all relevant documents were forwarded to the ministry, which was expected to approve them and send them to President Pratibha Patil, who holds the official title of Visitor at the University of Hyderabad, a central university. Full story here...


Anand denied honorary doctorate by bureaucracy

The proposal to honour Mr. Anand had been mooted by the EOC about a year ago. This had been enthusiastically supported by the Central University of Hyderabad (UoH), which was to confer the Doctorate on Monday at a special convocation ceremony.

Indeed, Mr. Anand, who is scheduled to play simultaneous chess with 40 mathematicians on Tuesday, arrived in the city on Sunday itself in the belief that the function to honour him was going to take place as scheduled. Though Mr. Anand is supposed to have taken the incident quite sportingly, he is apparently a little upset at the Delhi babudom raising issues about his nationality. “I want my country back,” a somewhat annoyed Mr. Anand is supposed to have remarked. Full article here.


Unfazed by row, Anand plays chess with 40 mathematicians

Unfazed by the row over his nationality, world chess champion Viswanathan Anand Tuesday played chess against 40 maths wizards simultaneously at the ongoing International Congress of Mathematicians (ICM) here. Anand, a keen follower of developments in mathematics and science, later interacted with the delegates. The world champion was unfazed by a controversy in which his nationality was questioned by the human resource development ministry, preventing him from receiving an honorary doctorate from the centrally-run University of Hyderabad.

Hailing from Tamil Nadu, Anand has made Spain his second home but he continues to hold an Indian passport. Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal intervened and apologised to the chess genius. He blamed the lapse on 'procedural issues'. An acutely embarrassed university too said sorry to Anand. Full story here...


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