Namgyal Institute of Tibetology turns fifty

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Gangtok, Oct 1 (UNI) The five-day golden jubilee celebrations of world famous Namgyal Institute of Tibetology (NIT) was declared open by Sikkim Governor Balmiki Prasad Singh today in presence of a galaxy of Buddhist scholars.

Exactly fifty years ago in 1958 on this day, India's first Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru had declared this institue on Northern Buddhism open.

His daughter and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had attended the silver jubilee celebrations of NIT.

The XIV Dalai Lama had laid the foundation stone of this institute on February 10, 1957.

The Governor said the NIT would continue to work on the story of the movement of Buddhism from Nalanda in Bihar to the remotest parts of Tibet, Sikkim and Bhutan.

''The institute has been able to trace the history of passage of Buddhist faith from ancient India to Central Asia as well as its transmission across Eastern Himalaya to Tibet'', said the Governor.

Mr Prasad said the trinity of great minds of Pandit Jawarharlal Nehru, the then Chogyal of Sikkim and the Dalai Lama wanted NIT to be a centre of conservation of heritage, research and publications and a forum for scholars and academics to interact and meet and 'to understand their understanding of the Buddhist way of life'.

''There is no doubt that the institute has well served the vision of its founders'', he said.

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling said that the NIT will work hand in hand with Sikkim Central University in the fields of history, religions and cultures of Sikkim.

Sikkim Central University began its academic sessions in the state from this year.

''This NIT being the leading institute in the field of Sikkim studies, will be able to provide necessary support and research facilities for students and scholars in the new University in the fields of history, religions and cultures of Sikkim'', Mr Chamling said.

An international conference on the theme of 'Buddhist Himalaya: Studies in Religion, History and Culture' is also being organised during the golden jubilee celebrations.

More than 70 academic papers will be presented by local, national and international scholars during this conference while deliberating on a wide range of issues relevant to all sections of the society.

Delegates from more than 16 countries including Japan, Bhutan, Nepal, USA and European nations are participating in this conference.

UNI BG PC SLD PM1555

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