Showing posts from December, 2011

Japanese PM, Nalanda and Buddha Land Bihar

Hailing from the land of the Buddha has a distinct advantage. After all, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, during his one-day visit to Delhi, found time to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

The number of Japanese tourists visiting Bodh Gaya has been rising steadily during the past few years. What came as a bonus for the Bihar CM was a promise by Noda to provide support for the Nalanda University and the development of the state's Buddhist circuit. The Bihar chief minister was a happy person as the Japanese leader said he would visit Bihar on his next trip to India.
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Nalanda University and Dr Amartya Sen Vision

Dr. Amartya Sen is spearheading the revival of the world's oldest university in Bihar, one of India's most impoverished states. Grounded in Buddhist teachings, Nalanda University:-

Few Questions and answers from Dr amartya Sen:-

What was the original ethos behind Nalanda University?

Old Nalanda as an educational institution was fully dedicated to the pursuit of learning. It was committed to educational excellence. Indeed, because it was largely successful in achieving and maintaining excellence that Nalanda attracted foreign students — from China, Japan, Korea and elsewhere. The institution was Buddhist in terms of its foundation, but Nalanda’s teaching and research were not confined to Buddhist studies. Indeed, it was well-known also for what it offered in secular subjects such as health care, linguistics and astronomy. Nalanda received patronage from Hindu kings (such as the Guptas) as well as from Buddhist kings (such as the Palas of Bengal). It was not, in any sense, a specif…

Dr. Amartya Sen on Reviving Nalanda University !!

As an Indian Nobel Prize winning economist, philosopher and humanitarian, Amartya Sen is an intellectual force who needs little introduction. As a young boy, he was influenced by the suffering he witnessed during the 1943 Bengal Famine and the India-Pakistan partition. Sen has influenced the creation of the United Nations' Human Development Index and he has deepened and expanded discourse in fields ranging from social choice and welfare economics to human rights and justice. Sen sounded the alarm about Asia’s more than 100 million missing women and his highly influential books, including Poverty and Famines: An Essay on Entitlement and Deprivation, changed the way countries understand and prevent famine.

Now, Sen is spearheading the revival of the world's oldest university in Bihar, one of India's most impoverished states. Grounded in Buddhist teachings, Nalanda University offered subjects including astronomy, politics, medicine and fine arts. Nalanda housed more than 10,00…

Nalanda and Sunanda K Datta-Ray: China: A suitable suitor?

In the West they say China is taking over the world. But, no, it’s only bankrupt Europe that faces the prospect of being taken over while monks and nuns come to a fiery end in Tibet, the Dalai Lama continues to mark time, and the Karmapa Lama’s millions of followers wait for India to adopt a rational policy towards a young incarnate monk who could be the face of Buddhism’s future.

The West is understandably impervious to these nuances because of its own priorities. Europe needs money and China, the world’s biggest creditor with foreign exchange reserves of around $3.2 trillion, has it. “If the Chinese, who have 60 per cent of the world’s reserves, decide to invest in the euro instead of the dollar, why refuse?” asks Nicolas Sarkozy archly, hoping to distract attention from Europe’s persistently extended begging bowl.

Klaus Regling, chief executive of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which was set up last year and has already provide financial aid to Portugal, Ireland an…

Nalanda University : To know more, experts want to dig more

As a new university is being established in Nalanda to revive the glory of ancient India’s most famous centre of learning, experts have asked the government to carry out more excavations at the site of the original university to dig out those parts of the institution that still remain undiscovered.

Some members of the governing board of the new Nalanda University, including chairperson Amartya Sen, last week held a meeting with top officials of the Culture Ministry to explore the possibility of further excavation at the site where the ruins of the world-famous ancient Nalanda University stand.

“There has been a long-felt demand that there should be much more excavation at the ancient Nalanda site. There is so much that we have read about Nalanda and there is a lot of indication that there was much more to the ancient university than what is reflected in the ruins today,” said Gopa Sabharwal, vice-chancellor of the new Nalanda University that is supposed to open by 2013.

Nalanda University Prelude to an Asian awakening

AT the 98th Indian Science Congress held at SRM University in Kattankulathur near Chennai in the first week of this month, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, head of the Nalanda Mentor Group, assured the nation that although restoring Bihar’s Nalanda University was a stupendous task given the hype generated over its revival and the huge expectation from the international community, the proposed university — a reincarnation of the world famous seat of learning in ancient India — was “being re-started right now”.
Although the new Nalanda International University was scheduled to be launched in 2009, issues like its basic structure and financial aspects have delayed its second coming. As creating an endowment of at least $1 billion for its re-establishment is badly needed, India’s dithering is understandable.
However, the Indian Parliament already passed the Nalanda University Bill with the Planning Commission following it up by earmarking Rs 50 crore “as endowment fund in the form of a special g…

India, Japan reaffirm support for Nalanda EAS as a forum for dialogue

Acknowledging the significant role that the East Asia Summit (EAS) can play as a forum for building an open, inclusive and transparent architecture of regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, India and Japan today reaffirmed their support for the EAS as a forum for dialogue on broad strategic, political and economic issues of common interest and concern with the aim of promoting peace, stability and economic prosperity in East Asia.

"They (Indian Prime Minister and Japanese Prime Minister) acknowledged the significant role the EAS can play as a forum for building an open, inclusive and transparent architecture of regional cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. They welcomed the participation of the United States of America and the Russian Federation in the EAS," said a statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) after the meeting between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his Japanese counterpart Yoshihiko Noda here today.

"They expressed suppo…

Karmapa Lama keen to Join Nalanda International University project !

Buddhist Kagyud Lineage 17th Karmapa Trinley Thaye Dorjee has expressed his willingness to get associated with Nalanda International University Project if he gets an official invitation. "Nalanda International University project is an important attempt to revive Buddhist knowledge and culture. I am ready to associate with the project provided I get an official invitation," Dorjee said while talking to reporters here last evening. He, however, clarified that he had not received any formal invitation as yet but he was aware of the project.

"Is is a good effot to revive the historic Nalanda University. I thank all those who have joined the project at present. It will not only benefit the followers of Budhdhism but also enrich the people with Buddhist tradition, culture and religion," Dorjee said. Karmapa further said Nalanda and Vikramshila are two centres of knowledge and efforts must be made for their revival. Born in Tibet, Karmapa said the Himalayan country lives i…

NIU and Educacation Experts for better higher education in Bihar

A two-day international conference on 'Quality in Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunity in India', organized jointly by the state HRD department and Institute of Public Enterprises (IPE), Hyderabad, for preparing a road map for higher education in Bihar commenced here with state HRD minister P K Shahi appealing to the academics to find out solutions to meet the challenges of higher education in the state.

He stressed on improving the academic environment and imparting quality higher education of international standard in the universities in Bihar. The 64-year-old practice of governor being the chancellor of universities had to be reassessed, he said.

"Efforts are on to develop 50 colleges in the state as centres of excellence," Shahi said, adding that migration of Bihari students to other states for higher education can be checked only by improving the higher education scene in the state. He said that non-availability of competent faculties was a hindering facto…

Buddist Pilgrims flocking to Nalanda University

Thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from Thailand and worldwide are flocking to the holy sites in northern India and Nepal in what is becoming one of the travel industry's biggest growth sectors: religious tourism.

The numbers are growing in line with significant improvements being made in infrastructure as well as the quality of supporting travel and transport arrangements. Roads, airports and railway services are being upgraded. Dozens of hotels have emerged. One of them in Bodhgaya is appropriately named "Thai International".

The circuit incorporates various holy sites in Bodhgaya, Sarnath, Rajgir, Varanasi, Nalanda, Lumbini, Kushinagar and Sravasti, all associated with places where the Buddha was born, preached, attained enlightenment and died.

Known as "Following the Footsteps of the Buddha", the sites attract several hundred people a day. Most appear to be Sri Lankans who also come in the low-season summer months to enjoy lower hotel rates and airfares.

In the win…

Reviving Ancient India Glory : Nalanda University !

Students and scholars from all over the world will soon be converging again at ancient capital of Magadha kings - Rajgir, Bihar to study at the new Nalanda International University.

The name “Nalanda” in Sanskrit means “giver of knowledge”: a combination of “nalam” (lotus, representing knowledge) and “da” (“to give”). Nalanda University of yore was founded according to historians in the fifth century (427 A.D.) as a place of learning for Buddhist monks and is known to have been one of the first great residential universities in recorded history. Today Nalanda is a World Heritage site. The ruins of the monastery are located about 55 miles south east of the modern Indian city of Patna.

The University taught a wide range of subjects besides Buddhism including fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, war tactics, and politics. Over ten thousand students were taught by a faculty of 2000 in the idyllic forested green surroundings. The ruins at Nalanda even today attracts a large nu…

Nalanda International University - the Buddha factor and India

The 17th Karmapa's monastery in Himachal Pradesh is among the highest seats of Tibetan Buddhism in the world. There is an air of unease here after the state police filed charges against the Karmapa for possessing unaccounted foreign currency. But commentators say the case will have little impact on the strategic nature of India's hospitality for Tibetan monks.

After the Dalai Lama fled Chinese-controlled Tibet to India in 1959, several key monks of Tibet have followed suit. “The presence of all the religious heads of Tibet on Indian soil gives India a kind of power that China cannot match... India hosts the emotional and cultural core of a vast part of Chinese territory,” said Tsering Phuntsok of Norbulingka Institute for preservation of Tibetan culture.

Sources in the Tibetan Government in Exile say China is faced with a unique security concern, as it fears that the Tibetan followers of the India-based lamas can unsettle Tibet any moment. About 30 per cent of the Tibetan refuge…

Let's build on Mauryan inspiration, says APJ Kalam

That modern India has been inspired by the Mauryan concepts of statecraft and governance is one of the significant insights provided in “The Dancing Girl: A History of Early India,” by Balaji Sadasivan (1955-2010), a neurosurgeon and Singapore's former Senior Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

Capturing this facet of the author's findings, the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who launched the book at a function organised by The Hindu and SRM University here on Wednesday, said Chandragupta Maurya had built an empire based on a strong central government and a large, powerful army. “This model is virtually akin to the model being followed after our Independence.”

Another contribution of the Mauryas during the reign of Asoka, the former President noted, was the provision of moral and ethical dimension. “He defined that the primary purpose of the government was to provide peace, prosperity and welfare to all the citizens. The author rightly brings out that modern India looks…

Dr. Amartya Sen on Nalanda's Critics-NIU


NIU Nalanda-The Ancient Buddhist University

The most famous International Buddhist center, Nalanda university campus of Ancient times, is present in Bihar state,India.It is about 120 Kilometers away from state capital-Patna.Archeological evidences have proved that it belongs to 5th century A.D.The place is well linked both by road and rail.Nalanda is the name given to the district also, in respect of the great center of Buddhist learning.

Visit this place, to know the grandeur of ancient Education system that prevailed in India.
How was Nalanda?

In its hay days,Nalanda was one of the five topmost universities teaching Buddhism. Though all the six philosophies of India were taught there, Buddhism was the main subject.The campus was spread over 14 hectares area. Of this only 10% has been excavated so far. if this small area sxposes so much, imagine how much must be still hidden!

Nalanda unversity had 10,000 learners then. Learners came from different countries like-present Afghanistan(that was not under Muslim influence then),China, …

Dr. Amartya Sen: Nalanda stood for the passion of propagating knowledge and understanding !!

"Science has to fight parochialism, and Nalanda was committed to doing that”

Science has to fight parochialism, and Nalanda University (which existed in Bihar during the early fifth century and the 12th century) was firmly committed to doing just that, according to Amartya Sen, Professor of Economics and Philosophy at Harvard University in the U.S. and chairman of the Interim Governing Board of Nalanda University.

Recalling that the university was “violently destroyed” in an Afghan attack led by Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193, Prof. Sen, who addressed the Indian Science Congress at SRM University in Kattankulathur near here on Tuesday, said it was being re-established through an Asian initiative, involving India, China, Singapore, Japan and Thailand.

Delivering a talk on Nalanda and the pursuit of science, Prof. Sen, the recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economics, said Nalanda stood for the passion of propagating knowledge and understanding. This was one reason for its keenness to acc…

Nalanda International University Funding

Japan and Singapore are financing the construction work, with contributions totalling around US$100 million. Gopa Sabharwal has been appointed the first Vice Chancellor of this university in February 2011.

It has been estimated that US$500m will be required to build the new facility, with a further US$500m needed to sufficiently improve the surrounding infrastructure. The group is looking for donations from governments, private individuals and religious groups.

The State Government of Bihar handed over 443 acres of sprawling land acquired from local people, to the University, where construction work has begun. It is a dream project of the former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam.

Nalanda University orphaned: Governing Board term expires

A constitutional crisis threatens the Nalanda University as the one year term of its Governing Board came to an end on November 25. But thanks to the lethargy of the authorities, no new governing board is not in sight.

As per Section 8 (2) of the Nalanda University Act, the Nalanda Mentor Group (NMG) was authorized to exercise and discharge the functions of the Governing Board for a period of one year or till such times when a new governing board came into existence, whichever was earlier. But whereas the Governing Board (earlier Nalanda Mentor Group) met thrice for board meetings during 2011 – New Delhi (February 22), Patna (July 6-7) and Beijing (October 14-15) it neither framed the statutes expected from it under Clause 28 (1) of the Act within six months nor worked on any succession plan.

The composition and tenure of the regular Governing Board is described in Clause 7 of the Nalanda University Act. It will include an officer from the MEA not below the rank of Secretary; two member…