At a ceremony on 4th Feb’14, University of Alzeim Azhari, Khartoum, Sudan conferred an Honorary Doctoral Degree on Mr.Salman Khurshid, Indian Minister of External Affairs. The Indian Foreign Minister was on a state visit and met his Sudanese counterpart Ali Karti and other senior officials in Khartoum. Mr.Salman Khurshid took some time out and met the members of the Indian community at the residence of the Ambassador of India Mr.Sanjay Kumar Verma. While addressing the gathering the Minister said that he was elated as this was his first PhD. He added that this honour was not for him but very clearly for India. He said that being the Foreign Minister of India means having the best of goodwill all over the world. India has been very cautious and careful in Africa but needs to reach out more and particularly in Sudan as Sudan is a very important partner. He has discussed with the Sudanese Foreign Minister about creating a park in Sudan and naming it after Mahatma Gandhi. India will also bring in some interesting trees, plants and flowers in the park. He concluded by saying that India owes a lot to Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore because without these great souls India would have had an empty plate.
Dr.Salman Khurshid is a writer and his play in search of India titled ‘Sons of Babur’ was much appreciated in Sudan and may be one of the many reasons of being awarded an honorary doctoral degree. It is reportedly being translated into Arabic with the title ‘Ibna Babur’. The name of the protagonist in ‘Sons of Babur’ is Rudranshu Mitra. I asked His Excellency Salman Khurshid whether his friend in Oxford Rudrangshu Mukherjee was the inspiration for the name. He agreed immediately and added that he had sent the script to Rudrangshu before publishing but he did not correct the spelling with the ’g’. He remembered the debates he had with Rudra in Oxford. I remember Rudrangshuda from our days in Presidency College. I have seen the historian in action as a pace bowler in the college pitch.