Sunday, April 5, 2015

Nalanda opens door after 800 years

The Worlds First Residential University Reopened after 800 Years.

More than 800 years after it was reduced to ashes in an invasion by a medieval ruler, Nalanda University sprang back to life like the proverbial phoenix in the historic city of Rajgir in Bihar on Monday. 

Academic activities got underway at the new international university on a makeshift campus, about 12 kms away from the ruins of the famous ancient university, with classes in the School of Ecology and Environmental Studies and the School of Historical Studies.

Out of the 15 students enrolled for the inaugural session, only nine attended classes on the inaugural day. Among them were two foreigners - Yakiro Nakamora (Japan) and Ngawang (Bhutan)

The fully-residential university, expected to be completed by 2020, will have seven schools for post-graduate and doctoral students, offering courses in science, philosophy and spirituality and social sciences.
Each discipline will have a maximum of 20 students. There are altogether 11 faculty members on the campus at the moment.
Classes are being held at the International Convention Centre built by the Bihar government a couple of years ago.

A new campus is, however, coming up in an area spread over 455 acres and is expected to be fully operational by 2020.
The Centre has earmarked a fund of Rs 2,700 crore to be spent over a period of ten years for its development.

Several other countries have come forward to help revive Nalanda University. Singapore has pledged $5million for its development while China has contributed $1million to set up its library.
While Thailand has donated $1 lakh, Australia would contribute a sum of $1 lakh for a chair at the School of Ecology and Environmental Studies.

Happy over the start of academic activities at the international university, Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said that it was a red-letter day for Bihar.

He said that the university had come up because of the vision and efforts of his predecessor Nitish Kumar and an active support from former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.

The ancient residential learning centre at Nalanda used to attract thousands of students and researchers from different parts of the country and abroad between the 5th and 12th century before it fell prey to rampaging invaders led by Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193. Its ruins have since remained a big tourist attraction in Bihar.

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