I read about Hiuen Tsang who came from China to India in 7th century in our history course as student for school final examination. And with a little interest in history of Bihar, I kept on reading whatever and whenever I got about him and his account of Nalanda University.
It was in December1966 that I visited Nalanda as tourist after my adventurous social service work with Jai Prakash Narayan’s Bihar Draught Relief at Noorsarai along with some foreign volunteers. It is interesting to know from media that 2006 has been declared as India-China friendship year. A temple dedicated to the Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang, lying in ruins for long at the university town of Nalanda has been reconstructed through a joint India-China effort. As reported, various craftspersons, artists and technicians from India as well as China are working in Nalanda to complete the renovation by October 31. Murals from Luoyang near Xiang, Hiuen Tsang’s birthplace, have been flown. A mammoth, gleaming and impressive monastery-like structure-over 56 feet tall-is being readied. Care has been taken to keep the architecture as authentic as possible. A statue of Hiuen Tsang, cast in bronze and weighing 750 kg, stands guard at the entrance. The temple will also house ancient manuscripts from Thailand, Sri Lanka and China. Once the temple is ready after renovation, Hiuen Tsang’s mortal remains, currently housed in Patna Museum, will be formally moved to Nalanda.
The temple will add to the tourist attraction of Nalanda. There is also an ambitious plan to restore some of Nalanda’s lost glory. A new cultural village that can add to visitor’s attraction is on the drawing board
As it appears Nalanda has and can provide a lasting link between the intellectuals of China and India. It is Nalanda where Hiuen Tsang spent almost 12 years in the company of several thousand scholar-monks. Hiuen Tsang studied logic, grammar, Sanskrit and the Yogacara school of Buddhism, and returned with 650-odd Sanskrit texts.
Plans are also afoot to replicate the ancient Nalanda University, where Hiuen Tsang spent considerable time in the 7th century AD. Nitish Kumar is taking a keen interest. Interestingly, Nalanda is his home constituency too. The plan is afoot to set up an international university of Nalanda spread over 500 acres. As reported, Korea, Japan, and Thailand have shown interest to pitch in with the funds. Singapore and Japan officials have already met with CM to discuss the project.
I dream of a University of Nalanda, that can academically compete with the best of the universities in the world in thousands of acres properly landscaped with all academic facilities better than the best of the universities in the world. Let each of the participating country build one college of specific branches of knowledge. Let there be American Institute of Advanced Sciences, German College of Engineering, Italian Institute of Fashion Design, French Institutes of Fine Arts, Russian College of Aeronautical Engineering, Indian Institutes of Applied Philosophy, International Management Institute funded by Switzerland, Asian Agricultural Institute, and many more from different countries but at the same time the best in its core domain knowledge with all the best infrastructure for learning, libraries, auditorium, playgrounds as well as the township. All institutes in the university must be open to all countries based on merit with no quota of any type.
I don’t know if Nitish can take the project as a mission of his life and build something that can be remembered in the same way as old Nalanda University is remembered even today after thousands of years. It is possible if he decides to request either Singapore or Japan to get the project executed.
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