|Location||Rajgir, near Nalanda, Bihar, India|
446 acres (180 ha)
Nalanda University (also known as University of Nalanda) is the name of a proposed university in Rajgir, near Nalanda, Bihar, India. The first academic session is set to start from 2014. The university is a plan for reviving and re-establishing Nalanda University which was one of the oldest ancient higher-learning institutions. Originally the university was established in the 5th century AD by Gupta Kings.
Historical studies suggest that the University of Nalanda was established during the reign of a king called Śakrāditya. Both Xuanzang and Prajñavarman cite him as the founder, as does a seal discovered at the site.
Nalanda University was the first great university in recorded history 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. 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. He has left detailed accounts of the university in the 7th century. 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 demiseEdit
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.
The final blow came when it was violently destroyed in an Turkic attack led by Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193. In 1193, the Nalanda University was sacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji, a Muslim Turk; 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.
At its peak, the university attracted scholars and students from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Turkey, Greece, and Persia. The subjects taught included religion, history, law, linguistics, medicine, public health, architecture, metallurgy, pharmacology, sculpture and astronomy.
Notable scholars who studied at Nalanda included Harshavardhana, Vasubandhu, Dharmapala, Suvishnu, Asanga, Silabhadra, Dharmakirti, Shantarakshita, Nagarjuna, Aryadeva, Padmasambhava (the reputed founder of Buddhism in Tibet), Xuanzang and Hwui Li.
Formation and reconstructionEdit
Nalanda University BillEdit
On 28 March 2006 then President of India 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 was passed on 21 August 2010 in Rajya Sabha and 26 August 2010 in Lok Sabha. The bill received Presidential assent on 21 September 2010 thereby becoming an Act. The University came into existence on 25 November 2010, when the Act was implemented.
Japan and Singapore are financing the construction work, with contributions totalling around US$100 million. 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.
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.
Infrastructure and architectureEdit
For best architectural design, a global competition was held for construction of an international state-of-the-art institution. Vastu Shilpa Consultants have been selected as the winner of the design competition with dbHMS providing the triple net-zero energy, water and waste strategic plan.
Organization and administrationEdit
In 2007, the Government of India constituted a Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) under the Chairmanship of Professor Amartya Sen to examine the framework of international co-operation, 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.
Later the Nalanda Mentor Group was renamed the Governing Board of Nalanda University.
The Governing Board of Nalanda University consists of:
- Amartya Sen – Professor at Harvard University.
- Sugata Bose – Professor at Harvard University.
- Wang Bangwei – Professor at Peking University.
- Wang Gungwu – Professor at National University of Singapore.
- Susumu Nakanishi – Professor at Kyoto City University of Arts.
- Meghnad Desai – Emeritus Professor at London School of Economics.
- Prapod Assavavirulhakarn – Professor at Chulalongkorn University.
- George Yeo – Former Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore.
- Tansen Sen – Associate Professor at Baruch College, CUNY.
- Nand Kishore Singh – Member of Parliament – Rajya Sabha, India.
- Chandan Hareram Kharwar – Pune university – India.
Schools and departmentsEdit
- School of Historical Studies
- School of Environment and Ecological Studies
- School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religion
- School of Languages and Literature
- School of International Relations and Peace Studies
- School of Information Sciences and Technology
- School of Business Management (Public Policy and Development Studies)
- On 9 December 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.
- On 28 May 2007, Merinews reported that the revived university's enrolment will be 1,137 in its first year, and 4,530 by the fifth. In the second phase, enrolment will reach 5,812.
- On 12 June 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."
- On 15 August 2007, The Times of India reported that Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has accepted the offer to join the revived Nalanda International University sometime in September 2007." But he later dissociated himself from project.
- On 5 May 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 11 May 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."
- On 16 December 2010, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao contributed US$1 million for the Nalanda University during his visit to India.
- In May 2011, George Yeo confirmed his support of the project to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. During May, Nitish Kumar also met SM Krishna to receive reassurement that the Central Government would allocate sufficient funds to the project.
- On 7 July 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.
- On 16 September 2011, Zee News reported that former president APJ Abdul Kalam has dissociated himself from the upcoming Nalanda International University in Bihar.
- 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.
- On 1 May 2012, Zee News announced that architecture students from the National University of Singapore had drawn up a master plan for the revival of the ancient Nalanda University. They wished to present this draft plan to the Nalanda University directors later this year and participate in the final competition for Nalanda campus master plan, according to Ng Si Jia, the group leader of the architecture students from the National University of Singapore.
- Times of India reported that the work for the construction of the University would begin by December 2013. It would be a "Net Zero" campus and will use green technologies like DEVAP. Vastu Shilpa Consultants of Ahmedabad won the Architecture Design Contest for the university and will build the campus.
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- Official website
- Reviving Nalanda University: A vision by Amartya Sen
- Nalanda - Tentative Lists at UNESCO World Heritage Centre
- Master plan for reviving Nalanda University
- Bureaucratic hurdles delaying Nalanda varsity
- China voices backing for Nalanda project as board meets in Beijing