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  • Malkiat Singh Duhra

Nalanda University

Nalanda University is an international and research-intensive university located in the historical city of Rajgir in Bihar, India on 179 hectares. On March 28, 2006, the 11th President of India A.P.J. Abdul Kalam proposed the idea while addressing the Joint Session of the Bihar Vidhan Mandal for the survival of Nalanda University. It was established by an Act of Parliament to emulate the famous ancient University of Nalanda, which functioned between the 5th century BC and the 12th century AD. The idea to resurrect Nalanda University was endorsed in 2007 at the East Asia Summit, represented mostly by Asian countries including China, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, and Vietnam, apart from Australia and New Zealand, and as such, the University is seen as one of the flagship projects of the government of India. It has been designated as an “International Institution of National importance“ by the parliament, and began its first session on September 1, 2014.

The first Chancellor of the University was Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, followed by former Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yeo. Nalanda is exclusively a graduate school, currently only offering Master’s courses, with Ph.D. Programs starting in gradual phases from 2020.

Schools and Departments:

Currently, four schools have been established.

  1. School of Historical Studies

  2. School of Ecology and Environmental Studies

  3. School of Buddhist Studies, Philosophy, and comparative religions.

  4. School of Management Studies, MBA in Sustainable Development and Management.

The following schools will be started later, in a phased manner.

  1. School of Language and Literature.

  2. School of International Relations and Peace studies.

  3. School of Information Sciences and Technology.

  4. School of Business Management, public policy, and development studies.

Nalanda University was one of the first universities in the world, founded in the 5th century BC. At its peak, in the 7th century AD, Nalanda held some 10000 students and 2000 teachers when it was visited by the Chinese scholar Xuanzang. The University of Nalanda obtained significant fame, prestige, and relevance during ancient times and rose to legendary status due to its contribution to the emergence of India as a great power around the 4th century. It is said that the Jain Tirthankara, Mahavir, spent 14 rainy seasons at Nalanda and Gautama Buddha also visited there to deliver lectures. Nalanda University was destroyed three times, and it was rebuilt two times. The third time, it was destroyed completely around 1193 AD by Muhammad Bin Bakhtiyar Khalji, a Turkic General. It kept on burning for four months and many library books were burnt. It was a great loss of useful literature.

Ancient Universities ( 8 ) in India.

  1. Nalanda : Bihar, 500 BC- 1200 AD.

  2. Takshashila : Punjab, 1000 BC -500 BC.

  3. Vikramashila : Bihar, 783 AD- 1200 AD.

  4. Valabhi : Gujarat, 600 AD- 1200 AD.

  5. Somapura : Bengal, 800 AD- 1200 AD.

  6. Jagaddala : Bengal, 1077 AD -1120 AD.

  7. Odantapuri : Bihar, 800 AD - 1200 AD.

  8. Pushpagiri : Orisssa, 200 AD -1500 AD.

All these universities were learning centers of Buddhism, Hinduism, and many other subjects.

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