Showing posts from October, 2012

The Great nalanda University !!

Nearly 90 km from Patna lies a morsel of the past. Though dead and mostly buried, it jibes at the present: it speaks of a legacy that the state of Bihar perhaps so undeservedly lays claim to. Till recently, no one listened to the ruins of Nalanda. Now, their silence is being heard.

In a visionary gesture, the Nitish Kumar Government has decided to revive the university that was perhaps the biggest international seat of learning between 5th and 12th centuries AD, the first residential academic centre that attracted scholars from as far as China, Tibet, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey. Some of these countries, including China and Japan, are now coming together to bring Nalanda to life.

“You can gauge the enthusiasm from the fact that the issue figured in the recent talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao and then with the Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. It also figured in the East Asian Summit held in January in Philippines this y…

Global varsity dreams hit a familiar wall !!

When you have a professor in the prime minister’s chair, the creation of academic institutes is expected to be high priority. Manmohan Singh hasn’t disappointed, announcing the South Asian University and Nalanda University and envisaging these not just as an extension of India’s soft diplomacy but also as its attempts at creating its own Ivy League.

Unfortunately, the two have failed to soar above the mediocrity that defines most of our educational institutes and due to reasons that are familiar — lobbying, unimaginative academic leadership, coterie building and red-tapism. The blame must be shared by the MEA for taking up the running of the universities — a sector it has neither expertise or understanding in.

While the infighting within the SAU has increased to the extent that an eminent faculty member recently wrote to the PM warning that the “dream would die” unless action was taken, the university has also failed to create an academic environment that would attract students as well…

Dialogue must for world’s balanced development !!

Former Union Minister Murli Manohar Joshi has said that Dharma and Dhamma have similar roots. Dialogue between Sanatan Dharma and Buddhism is the need of the hour. This only will pave the way for balanced global development. Joshi was addressing the concluding session of two-day International Dharma-Dhamma Convention at Vidhan Sabha building here on Sunday. Culture Minister Laxmikant Sharma also expressed his views on the occasion.

Joshi said that Guatam Buddha never believed anything blindfolded. He used to examine a thing on merit basis and then accept or reject it.

Joshi informed that besides Buddhism, education of Vedas was also imparted at Nalanda. He said that such education should also be imparted at Sanchi Buddhist and Indic Studies University. Joshi also threw light on similarities between Buddhism and Brahmanism. He said that a balance and middle path will have to be adopted for human welfare and development. If we succeed in properly propagating principles of Dharma and Dham…

Indian universities should emulate Nalanda: Lord Swaraj Paul !!

Indian universities, which failed to make it to the top 200 World University Rankings, should draw inspiration from ancient academies like Nalanda to be recognised globally, says NRI industrialist Lord Swraj Paul.

Paul, an MIT alumnus and Chancellor of two British universities, said that his own experience in higher education suggests that the concept of community building brings significant benefits and results.

 "Wherever possible I have encouraged and promoted this idea. In every instance there has been a radical improvement in the performance and ratings of the university concerned. This is not especially new thinking.

"It is present in the spirit of the ancient academies like Nalanda, which we are now trying to rebuild, and in the notion that education is Goddess Saraswati's gift to India," he said.

His comments came after no Indian university figured on the list of top 200 universities on the prestigious QS World University Rankings announced earlier this mon…

From Vedas To Cloud: The Transformation Of Education In India !!

The education system in India has come a long way of evolution – from the vedic days dating back to around 1700 BC to today’s computer age and e-learning. Throughout, Indian tradition has always accorded special importance to education.

The Vedic Tradition

The Vedas were the main repository of knowledge and were passed on from generation to generation by the oral tradition, the teaching mainly taking place in the gurukul system (students in residence with the teacher). In later times the scriptures and other texts including poetry were recorded on palm leaves specially treated for preservation and written with a sharp writing instrument. The gurukul system was the main stay of education and was mainly availed by the higher castes – Brahmins and the royalty. During the Buddhist period the first “universities” appeared at Taxila (now in Pakistan) and Nalanda where a multitude of disciplines were taught: philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, grammar, logic, arts and crafts. Besides India, s…