Nalanda University - A Cultural Link


Ajit Kumar AJIT KUMARWISDOM IAS, New Delhi.

Ancient Nalanda University, which once attracted students from across the world, was formally inaugurated in in its modern ‘avatar’ in September 2014 by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Rajgir.
Hailing the occasion, Ms. Swaraj said as in the past the university would serve as ‘bridge and foundation’ in linking the country with the world through knowledge. It is wrong to say that today we are rejuvenating the 427 AD Nalanda University because tradition never dies ... Nalanda is not just a university but a tradition. Nalanda University is a link between the past, present and future,” she said.
Seeing the ‘tremendous response’ to the university it has now been decided that it would not be confined only to east Asian nations but would be opened to students from other countries too, she said and promised all help to it.
The Centre had already been allotted Rs 2,727 crore, which would be spent in building a high class campus of the university in 10 years. Bihar government had given 446 acres for the university and another 1400—1500 acres had been identified for constructing an airport. The state would also set up a development authority for the uplift of the surrounding villages in keeping with the ancient tradition.
The university came into existence by a special act — The Nalanda University Act passed by Parliament and classes in the School of Ecology and Environmental Studies and School of Historical Studies have already begun with 15 students and 11 teachers at the under—construction residential building on September 1.
On its scheduled completion in 2020, the revived university will have a seven schools for postgraduate and doctorate students.
The seven schools would be Economics and Management, Information Sciences and Technology, Linguistics and Literature, International Relations, Peace Studies and Buddhist studies Philosophy and Comparative Religion, besides Historical studies, Ecology and Environment.
The ancient university came into being during the Gupta period in 6th century AD and was destroyed in 1193 AD by the army of Turkish ruler Qutbuddin Aibak’s general Bakhtiyar Khilji.
After Dr. Kalam mooted it, the Singapore government proposed revival of the ancient university having international character and suitable to the modern times. China has contributed one million dollars, Singapore five million dollars, Thailand of one lakh dollars and Australia one million Australian dollars. Noble Laureate Amartya Sen was appointed the Chancellor in 2012. He was not present in the formal inauguration on Friday but a message from him was read out on the occasion.
Total built up area of the Nalanda University will be 3,66,811 square metres with 38 buildings which would accommodate 7,000 people at a time. There would be central library built on an artificial lake and have a full glass dome.

Monday, 19th Jan 2015, 07:40:33 AM

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