Thursday, August 5, 2010

Nalanda university poised for revival after 800 years

Nalanda University, an ancient seat of learning destroyed in 1193, is poised for revival.

According to The Independent, an ambitious plan to establish an international university with the same overarching vision as Nalanda -- and located alongside its physical ruins -- has been spearheaded by a team of international experts and leaders, among them the Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen. This week, legislation that will enable the building of the university to proceed is to be placed before the Indian parliament.

“At its peak, it offered an enormous number of subjects in the Buddhist tradition, in a similar way that Oxford [offered] in the Christian tradition -- Sanskrit, medicine, public health and economics,” Mr. Sen said on Tuesday, August 3 in Delhi.

“It was destroyed in a war. It was [at] just the same time that Oxford was being established. It has a fairly extraordinary history -- Cambridge had not yet been born.” He added, with confidence: “Building will start as soon as the bill passes.” The plan to resurrect Nalanda -- in the state of Bihar -- and establish a facility prestigious enough to attract the best students from across Asia and beyond, was apparently first voiced in the 1990s. But the idea received more widespread attention in 2006 when then president, APJ Abdul Kalam set about establishing an international “mentoring panel”.

Full report here Hindu

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