New Delhi:Viswanathan Anand has put the controversy over his nationality behind him. The three-time world chess champion said that he didn't blame anyone, didn't feel humiliated, and that he accepted Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal's apology with complete sincerity.
"He called and said he was really sorry...didn't even try to blame anybody. I don't feel that I am in a country which is trying to genuinely humiliate me."
Anand is known to take opponents by surprise with the speed of his moves, but the move by the HRD Ministry, asking him if he is an Indian citizen, was a bolt from the blue. This was after the Hyderabad University and the maths congress wanted to confer an honorary doctorate on Anand which needed the approval of the HRD ministry. (Vishy Anand's life in pics)
"We got a call asking if we were sure he is an Indian and whether we could provide them with some evidence. It was embarrassing even to get the evidence, but we got it and provided it," said Rajat Tandon, Secretary, Organising Committee of Maths Congress.
The conference organisers slammed the HRD ministry's 'insensitive bureaucratic obstructions' forcing Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal to call up Anand to make amends.
"I rang up Viswanathan Anand at his hotel and told him that we are sorry for what has transpired and as far as we are concerned we wish to award him honorary degree. He indicated to me that this may create a problem because he has got some other functions so then I said then any date of your convenience which he has very kindly accepted. So it is not an issue any more," said Sibal. (Watch: Kapil Sibal apologises to Viswanathan Anand)
Anand, an NRI who lives in Spain, preferred to play down the controversy.
"I think it's an issue which has been blown out of proportion. It is a mild irritant to have something so much questioned but we have not given it much thought," said Aruna Anand, Viswanathan Anand's wife.