Nalanda Farmers sell land to cultivate knowledge


Villagers and Farmers of Nalanda district, Bihar are a happy a lot. Reason is they have sold their cultivable land for a greater cause. Their land will no longer yield grain but will certainly become fountain of knowledge from where the light of education will spread across the world.

Bisheswar Prasad, whose six bighas of agriculture land was acquired early this year, said his land has been blessed by goddess Saraswati. "What I want to see is that the dream project comes up during my life time,"' said the 80-year-old farmer of Bilkhi village under Chhabilapur police station.

The land of almost all farmers, big and marginal, in these two villages comprising a total of 500 acres have been acquired by the state government for the proposed Nalanda International University for which all basic formalities have been completed.

"No project could be as big as this and we are all waiting for the day when the dream will be realised," said Nanhu Singh, a youth at Khaira while praising chief minister Nitish Kumar for the revival of the areas ancient glory.

Nitish, at an election meeting in Nalanda, said: "We are all for the revival of the glory of Nalanda and want to make it a centre of knowledge once again. For this purpose, I took personal initiative to bring APJ Abdul Kalam. I had taken a pledge in the light of Kalam's Vision-2020 to make Bihar a developed state by 2015. I am committed to my pledge."

The University of Nalanda is proposed to be re-established under the aegis of the East Asia Summit as a regional initiative. As many as 16 countries in East Asia are partnering in the re-establishment of the university.

At the East Asia Summit held in Thailand a year ago, the member countries issued a joint declaration which inter-alia supported the establishment of the Nalanda University as a non-state, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institution with a continental focus that will bring together the brightest and the most dedicated students from all countries of Asia.

The Nalanda University Bill, 2010, which seeks to resurrect the ancient seat of Buddhist learning at its original site, was passed by the two Houses of the Parliament in August.

This proposed university will come in the near the ruins of the ancient seat of learning which still attract tourists. It was founded in 427 AD and survived till 1197 AD. It was one of the first great universities in recorded history which was devoted to Buddhist studies and attracted students and scholors from Japan, China, Tibet, Korea, Persia and Turkey.

The villagers also expressed the hope with the university coming into existence, the area will witness tremendous development.

"Visitors from across the world come here and this will boost economy of this region," said Ramesh Kumar who owns general store at Rajgir.

"Our children will get better education," said farmer Prahlad Singh.

The old seat of learning, which existed some 25 km away from the proposed site of the new university, died a slow death in the 12th century. It was around the same time when some of great European universities, including Oxford in England and Bologna in Italy, were just getting started.

The proposed university will have collaborations with other prominent universities, including the Al-Azhar ( Egypt), Oxford and Cambridge (UK) and Harvard (US). It will also have collaboration with China.

The new university will offer courses in Buddhist studies, philosophy and comparative religions, historical studies, international relations and peace studies, business management, languages and literature and ecology and environmental studies.
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