Nalanda International University

Nalanda International University
Nalanda International University
Vice-Chancellor Gopa Sabharwal
Location Nalanda, Bihar, India
Campus Urban
446 acres (180 ha)

Nalanda International University (also known as University of Nalanda or Nalanda University) is the name of a proposed university in Nalanda, Bihar which is expected to be functional from 2013[1] with seven schools or more and will expand in later years.[2] The university is based on the ideal of the ancient center of higher learning which was present from the 5th century CE to 1197 CE.

Contents

History

Origin

The seal of Nalanda University set in terracotta on display in the ASI Museum in Nalanda
Nālandā University as it stood before it was excavated.

Historical studies suggest that the University of Nalanda was established during the reign of a king called Śakrāditya.[3] Both Xuanzang and Prajñavarman cite him as the founder, as does a seal discovered at the site.[4]

Nalanda University was the first great university in recorded history[5] and one of the world's first residential university as it had dormitories for students. It is also one of the most famous universities. In its heyday, it accommodated over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers.[6] The university was considered an architectural masterpiece, and was marked by a lofty wall and one gate. Nalanda had eight separate compounds and ten temples, along with many other meditation halls and classrooms. On the grounds were lakes and parks. The library was located in a nine storied building where meticulous copies of texts were produced.

The Tang Dynasty Chinese pilgrim and scholar Xuanzang studied, taught and spent nearly 15 years at Nalanda University.[7] He has left detailed accounts of the university in the 7th century.[8] Yijing has also left information about the other kingdoms lying on the route between China and the Nālandā university. He was responsible for the translation of a large number of Buddhist scriptures from Sanskrit into Chinese.

Destruction and Demise

According to records of history, Nalanda University was destroyed three times by invaders, but only rebuilt twice. The first time was by the Huns under Mihirakula during the reign of Skandagupta (455-467 AD). But Skanda’s successors promptly undertook the restoration, improving it with even grander buildings, and endowed it with enough resources to let the university sustain itself in the longer term.[9]

The second destruction came with an assault by the Gaudas in the early 7th century. This time, the Hindu king Harshavardhana (606-648 AD) restored the Buddhist university.[10]

The final blow came when it was violently destroyed in an Afghan attack led by Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193.[11] In 1193, the Nalanda University was sacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Turk;[12] this event is seen by scholars as a late milestone in the decline of Buddhism in India. The Persian historian Minhaj-i-Siraj, in his chronicle the Tabaquat-I-Nasiri, reported that thousands of monks were burned alive and thousands beheaded as Khilji tried his best to uproot Buddhism.[13]

Academia

At its peak, the university attracted scholars and students from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Turkey, Greece, and Persia.[14][15][16] The subject on which teaching occurred included religion, history, law, linguistics, medicine, public health, architecture, metallurgy, pharmacology, sculpture and astronomy.

Formation and Reconstruction

Nalanda University Bill

On 28th March, 2006 then President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam proposed the idea while addressing the Joint Session of the Bihar Vidhan Mandal for revival of Nalanda university. The Nalanda University Bill, 2010[17] was passed on August 21, 2010 in Rajya Sabha and August 26, 2010 in Lok Sabha. The bill received Presidential assent on September 21, 2011 thereby becoming an Act. The University came into existence on November 25, 2010, when the Act was implemented.

International Funding

Japan and Singapore are financing the construction work, with contributions totalling around US$100 million.[18] Gopa Sabharwal has been appointed the first Vice Chancellor of this university in February 2011.

It has been estimated that US$500m will be required to build the new facility, with a further US$500m needed to sufficiently improve the surrounding infrastructure. The group is looking for donations from governments, private individuals and religious groups.[19]

The State Government of Bihar handed over 443 acres of sprawling land acquired from local people, to the University, where construction work has begun. It is a dream project of the former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam.[20]

Infrastructure and Architecture

For best architectural design, a global competition will be held for construction of an international state-of-the-art institution.[21][22]

Mentor group

The Government of India constituted a Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) in 2007, under the Chairmanship of Professor Amartya Sen to examine the framework of international cooperation, and proposed structure of partnership, which would govern the establishment of this University as an international centre of education. The University of Nalanda is proposed to be established under the aegis of the East Asia Summit (EAS), as a regional initiative. The NMG also has representatives from Singapore, China, Japan and Thailand. The NMG has met six times. The last meeting was held in New Delhi on 2-3 August 2010.[23]

The Nalanda mentor consists of:

Timeline

  • On December 9, 2006, the New York Times detailed a plan to spend $1 billion to revive Nalanda University near the ancient site. A consortium led by Singapore and including China, India, Japan and other nations will attempt to raise $500 million to build a new university and another $500 million to develop necessary infrastructure.[15]
  • On May 28, 2007, Merinews reported that the revived university's enrollment will be 1,137 in its first year, and 4,530 by the fifth. In the second phase, enrollment will reach 5,812.[24]
  • On June 12, 2007, News Post India reported that the Japanese diplomat Noro Motoyasu said that "Japan will fund the setting up an international university in Nalanda in Bihar." The report goes on to say that "The proposed university will be fully residential, like the ancient seat of learning at Nalanda. In the first phase of the project, seven schools with 46 foreign faculty members and over 400 Indian academics would come up." ... "The university will impart courses in science, philosophy and spiritualism along with other subjects. A renowned international scholar will be its chancellor."[25]
  • On May 5, 2008, NDTV reported that, according to Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, the foundation of the university would likely be in the year 2009 and the first teaching class could begin in a few years from then. Sen, who heads the Nalanda Mentor Group, said the final report in this regard, is expected to be presented to the East Asia Summit in December 2008.
  • On May 11, 2008, The Times of India reported that host nation India and a consortium of East Asian countries met in New York to further discuss Nalanda plans. It was decided that Nalanda would largely be a post-graduate research university, with the following schools: Buddhist Studies, Philosophy, and Comparative Religion; Historical Studies; International Relations and Peace; Business Management and Development; Languages and Literature; and Ecology and Environmental Studies. The objective of the university was claimed to be "aimed at advancing the concept of an Asian community...and rediscovering old relationships."[29]
  • On December 16, 2010, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao contributed US$ 1 million dollars for the Nalanda University during his visit to India.[30]
  • In May 2011, George Yeo confirmed his suppport of the project to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. [31] During May, Nitish Kumar also met SM Krishna to receive reassurement that the Central Government would allocate sufficient funds to the project.[32]
  • On July 7, 2011, iNewsOne reported that a global competition will be held to get the best architectural design for the Nalanda International University at the ancient seat of learning in Bihar, officials said. For the sake of the best design for Nalanda university, a global competition will be held soon,’ said N.K. Singh, a member of the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) headed by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. [33]
  • On September 16, 2011, Zee News reported that former president APJ Abdul Kalam has dissociated himself from the upcoming Nalanda International University in Bihar. [34][35][36]
  • On 15 Nov, 2011 the Economic Times announced that China's ambassador to India, Zhang Yan had handed over a cheque of USD 1 million for the building of a Chinese-type library.[37]
Rear view of Sariputta's stupa.

References

  1. ^ "Nalanda International University Updates". http://nalanda-international-university-news.blogspot.com/. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  2. ^ Sinha, Amitabh (February 28, 2011). "Nalanda International University will start with seven schools or more and expand later". Indian Express. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/nalanda-to-know-more-experts-want-to-dig-more/755551/0. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  3. ^ Altekar, Anant Sadashiv (1965). Education in Ancient India, Sixth, Varanasi: Nand Kishore & Bros.
  4. ^ Sukumar Dutt (1962). Buddhist Monks And Monasteries Of India: Their History And Contribution To Indian Culture. George Allen and Unwin Ltd, London. pp. 329. ISBN 8120804988. 
  5. ^ "Prelude to an Asian awakening". http://www.thestatesman.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=356041&catid=89. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  6. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (2010-08-04). "Oldest university on earth is reborn after 800 years". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/oldest-university-on-earth-is-reborn-after-800-years-2042518.html. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  7. ^ "The new Nalanda University". http://www.indianexpress.com/news/the-new-nalanda/203387/0. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  8. ^ Rene Grousset (1971). In the Footsteps of the Buddha. Orion Press. pp. 159. ISBN 0766193470. 
  9. ^ "Nalanda’s glorious past a uniting factor in future". http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/Nalanda__8217_sgloriouspastaunitingfactorinfuture/Article/. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  10. ^ "Nalanda’s glorious past a uniting factor in future". http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/Nalanda__8217_sgloriouspastaunitingfactorinfuture/Article/. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  11. ^ "Nalanda’s glorious past a uniting factor in future". http://www.nst.com.my/nst/articles/Nalanda__8217_sgloriouspastaunitingfactorinfuture/Article/. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  12. ^ Scott, David (May 1995). "Buddhism and Islam: Past to Present Encounters and Interfaith Lessons". Numen 42 (2): 141. doi:10.1163/1568527952598657. 
  13. ^ Young Oon Kim (1976). World Religions: Volume 2: India's Religious Quest. Golden State Publishing Co. 
  14. ^ Nalanda Digital Library. "Nalanda Digital Library-Nalanda Heritage-Nalanda,the first residential international University of the World". Nalanda.nitc.ac.in. http://www.nalanda.nitc.ac.in/about/NalandaHeritage.html. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  15. ^ a b "Really Old School," Garten, Jeffrey E. New York Times, 9 December 2006.
  16. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (2010-08-04). "Oldest university on earth is reborn after 800 years". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/oldest-university-on-earth-is-reborn-after-800-years-2042518.html. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  17. ^ "Bill No. XLIX of 2010: THE NALANDA UNIVERSITY BILL, 2010". http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Nalanda/Nalanda%20University%20Bill%202010.pdf. Retrieved 2011-11-04. 
  18. ^ "Nalanda International University: A Great Initiative". http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=8,3893,0,0,1,0. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  19. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (2010-08-04). "Oldest university on earth is reborn after 800 years". The Independent (London). http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/oldest-university-on-earth-is-reborn-after-800-years-2042518.html. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  20. ^ Sinha, Ashish (August 14, 2008). "Nalanda University set to reopen in '10, Amartya on faculty?". The Times Of India. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Nalanda_University_to_reopen_in_10/articleshow/3362587.cms. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  21. ^ "Global competition for Nalanda university design". http://nalanda-international-university-news.blogspot.com/2011/07/global-competition-for-nalanda.html. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  22. ^ "Global design competition for Nalanda university". http://www.sify.com/news/global-design-competition-for-nalanda-university-news-education-lcvvOmfddbc.html. Retrieved 2011-07-13. 
  23. ^ "Nalanda University Bill". http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=64617. Retrieved 2008-08-18. 
  24. ^ "Nalanda Int’l University: A commendable initiative", K.jha, Ashok, Merinews, May 28, 2007.
  25. ^ "Japan Eager To Invest In Nalanda University," News Post India, June 12, 2007[1].
  26. ^ "Kalam to join Nalanda University soon," The Times of India, August 15, 2007[2].
  27. ^ http://zeenews.india.com/news/bihar/apj-kalam-dissociates-himself-from-nalanda-univ_731857.html
  28. ^ http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/kalam-not-ready-to-reconsider-decision-on-nalanda-nitish/829158.html
  29. ^ "Nalanda to move from ruins to riches", May 11, 2008.
  30. ^ http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/fullnews-106258.html
  31. ^ http://www.straitstimes.com/GeneralElection/News/Story/STIStory_671092.html
  32. ^ http://m.timesofindia.com/city/patna/CM-seeks-funds-for-Nalanda-university/articleshow/8447417.cms
  33. ^ http://www.inewsone.com/2011/07/07/global-competition-for-nalanda-university-design/61483
  34. ^ http://zeenews.india.com/news/bihar/apj-kalam-dissociates-himself-from-nalanda-univ_731857.html
  35. ^ http://www.hindustantimes.com/Kalam-opts-out-of-Nalanda-University-revival-project/Article1-747154.aspx
  36. ^ http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-09-16/news/30165359_1_nalanda-mentor-group-gopa-sabharwal-world-class-university
  37. ^ http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/et-cetera/china-donates-one-million-for-nalanda-university-revival/articleshow/10742865.cms

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