It is interesting that Amartya Sen and Sugata Bose are at the helms of affairs of setting up two world class great institutions of excellence: Nalanda International University and Presidency University. While the former one is to come up near Rajgrih in Bihar, the later one will grow out of the former Presidency College, Calcutta in West Bengal. As one from Bihar and also an alumnus of Presidency College, I am looking with a great hope for the two institutes to get shape. With the age factor against me, I don’t know if I shall see the institutes bloom in its full glory.
I sometimes wonder if the two distinguished professors will prove themselves two great managers too to complete these dream projects that can shape up and change the academic culture of the eastern India and bring a pride to the whole nation.
While Nalanda International University will come up as a new campus on 1000 acres, it is not known if Presidency University will have a new campus out of Calcutta. Perhaps it will be necessary for Presidency University to move to a new campus in an appropriate location because of the space constraints in present location today. Otherwise, it will have a similar disadvantage that IIT, Kharagpur faces today.
Academically, it will be easier for Presidency College to take shape of an University. It has already around 18 full-fledged departments of various subjects providing graduate and post graduate courses. And I hope that even after the damage caused by the leftists government, it must have some excellent faculty in each department and scaling up may not be difficult. Presidency University can also look to its alumni to assist in getting its dreams realized. I would have liked each of the department to become a full fledged school in the university, and the best of the alumni of the department from across the globe could head and help to make it world class.
In a country with $22 billion dollar worth of valuables stashed in just one temple, the fund can’t be a problem for this great cause. I wish the industrialists, alumni and also people of the country to donate generously for the fund required in making the dreams of Presidency University realized. I always look back to the example of Madan Mohan Malviya. If he could arrange the entire fund for seeing his dream shaped, why can’t it happened today in much more prosperous India of the day?
In case of Nalanda International University, I wish the teachers are paid in line with the best in the world and selected from all over the world. Each school such as the school of historical sciences and the school of environment and ecology that are starting next year must cover every aspect of the subject in different departments.
The centre and Bihar government must construct a 6-lane express way connecting the university from Patna airport and railway station, and plan a world class International satellite township with all infrastructural facilities on the periphery of the university campus. The region must remain sanitized for providing the academic ambiance.
I wish it happens faster with some Japanese or Chinese efficiency as both the countries are participating in the project. Interestingly, both the projects have a tacit support of the chief ministers of the states.