Students gain from professor's harassment

Indian students applying for post-doctoral programmes abroad are cashing in on Ambikesh Mahapatra’s new-found fame.

A professor of physical chemistry at Jadavpur University, Mahapatra ended up in jail for circulating a cartoon that allegedly derided Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
Buoyed by Mahatpatra’s strong presence in the cyber world, Chemistry students applying for post-doctoral programmes in foreign universities are making a beeline for his recommendation.

“What can I say? I have a huge pool of students as I am associated with various other universities as a visiting faculty. Many of them often approach me for recommendations when they apply to foreign universities for post-doctoral study. I am happy to help,” Mahapatra told Deccan Herald. “Generally, students apply for post-doctoral fellowships in universities in India and abroad. In June and July, students apply to the IITs. Sometimes there is a recommendation form and at times a recommendation letter.”

Mahapatra has helped students in getting admission to Melbourne University in Australia, Tokyo University, Taiwan National University, RWCH Aachen University in Germany and Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich.

“It is undeniably true that the cartoon controversy and the subsequent media coverage helped me gain a strong presence on the web and it helped the officials of foreign universities to check the veracity of the recommending person,” Mahapatra said.


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