I had been following the project of Nalanda international University closely and have some dreams about that. I have written too time and again. I was thrilled to see an editorial-‘Nalanda Redux’ in the ‘Times of India’ today.
The Nitish Kumar government is building a modern university in Nalanda, an ancient seat of learning, as the symbol of a new, resurgent Bihar. Nalanda-in-the-works could be a model for revamping existing universities in India. The proposed Rs 1,000-crore project has international collaboration and will offer courses in subjects like IT, bioinformatics, development studies and applied sciences. A mentor group headed by Amartya Sen, and including representatives from China, Japan and Singapore, will oversee the making of an international campus. A standout feature of the Nalanda blueprint is the suggestion to hire part of the faculty from abroad. Forty-six of 453 teaching staff will be from outside India. They will be paid an average annual salary of $36,000 per person.
According to another report, ‘foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee followed up on the Nalanda University initiative by setting up a Nalanda Mentor Group in Singapore, headed by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Singapore foreign minister George Yeo. Nalanda is at the heart of the Indian soft power push. It’s where China’s greatest Buddhist traveller, Hiuen Tsang, came to study Buddhism under a Bengali teacher called Shilabhadra in the 7th century BC.’
I never knew that the project has gone so far. And it is really prudent that the central government is taking keen interest too. I say so because a government change in Patna will not affect the project.
I only wish that Bihar government creates a website proving the updates on some of the key projects of importance such as this. After years of sanction, the AIIMS in Patna is still years away from getting operative. Even the sanctioned project for an IIT in Bihar must move fast. IIT could have been the part of this Nalanda University. And more and more such specialized institutes from all the developed countries could be part of the international campus.
As an old man I am hopeful that in years to come the Nalanda International University will be a showpeice for Bihar and India.