Sunday, September 16, 2012

Lord Meghnad Desai: Nalanad University to be the best university of 21st century !!

London School of Economics's Professor Emeritus Lord Meghnad Desai was in the city on Wednesday to deliver a talk on 'The Bhagavad Gita: A secular inquiry into a sacred text' as part of a Distinguished Lecture Series organized by upcoming Nalanda University (NU). Also a member of the NU's governing board, he talked to TOI about his vision of the university, the 'global' tag it has and his fondness for novel writing. Excerpts:

Have you visited the NU site?

Yes... quite a number of times as a member of the varsity's governing board. The archeological site has been well preserved.

How do you visualize the future of NU?

We have planned to give it the shape of a distinctive campus for postgraduate studies. It will surely come up as one of the best universities of the 21st century. It will be a multimedia university equipped with a multimedia library.

Don't you think that Bihar lacks proper infrastructure to accommodate such a mega plan?

It's all about imagination. If the imagination is properly executed, infrastructure will automatically follow. The plan is to design and develop a mini town which will have schools and hospitals. An international jury will choose the designers and developers from across the globe to construct the structures on the varsity campus.

It seems to be a long-term project. When will it take the final shape?

The problem with the people is that they want more and they also want everything quick. The Nalanda University Act is only few months old and things have been moving fast and in the right direction. Had it been a private university, we would have wrapped everything by now. But it is going to be a global university... we cannot make mistakes... it will take time. History and Environment will probably be taught from next September.

In a country like India where there is reservation even in buses, you are unveiling a university sans quota. Why?

It is not another university in the list of existing Indian universities. NU is actually a global university meant for students all over the world. We want our students to be qualified, and those who are qualified do not need quota.

You are also known for writing novels. What was your last novel about?

It was a thriller titled 'Dead On Time', which is about the politics in the UK. And my latest book is 'The Rediscovery of India'.

Are more books on the cards?

Yes. One is about Hindi movie 'Pakeezah' and the other on Bhagavad Gita.
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