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Sushma Swaraj inaugurates Nalanda University : All you should know about its glorious past

By Mukul

Nalanda university
Nalanda University once again reopened for students after remaining closed for nearly 800 years. It was inaugurated formally on Friday by External Affair Minister Sushma Swaraj. The renowned University, once considered a big pride of India had started its first academic programme recently with 15 students.

The ancient University's glorious past can be gauged from the fact that it came into existence even before Harvard and Cambridge were set up by European countries.

Intellectual rigour will be restored?

• Through revival the aim is to recreate the intellectual rigour of the old school

• The University was once a centre of excellence not just for philosophy and Buddhist studies but also for literature and mathematics.

• According to report, a full-fledged campus is being developed currently which is around 12 km from the site of the ancient university. The campus will be spread over 455 acres.

• The university's official website states that Nalanda will initially establish seven Schools.

• And that is Historical Studies; Ecology and Environment Studies; Buddhist Studies, Philosophy and Comparative Religions; Linguistics and Literature; International Relations and Peace Studies; Information Science and Technology, and Economics and Management.

• Over the course of time, the schools shall offer Master's, M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees.

• The current batches have been taken for Historical Studies and Ecology and Environment Studies.

Foreign assistances

• According to the First post report, Thailand's Ambassador to India has donated $ 1, 00,000, while Singapore has promised around $5 million for the University.

• In 2011, China had contributed one million dollars which was given to establish a library at the campus.

• School of Ecology and Environment studies will be developed and for that Australia would provide 1 million Australian dollars

Plan of revival: Timeline

• After abandoned for years, resurrection plan of this famed University got momentum in 2006.

• APJ Abdul Kalam, then the President of India announced to establish an international "mentoring panel", membered by Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen and couple of foreign dignitaries.

• Then in September 2010, Parliament had passed a Nalanda University Bill endorsing its creation.

• To further streamlining the governance structure of the proposed university, the erstwhile Government UPA made some amendments to the University (Amendment) Bill in March 2014.

Glorious past of the university

• This ancient institution is located in Bihar, about 88 kilometres southeast of Patna.

• Had been a religious centre of learning from the fifth century AD to 1197 before it was destroyed by an army of the Mamluk Dynasty under Ikhtiyar ad-Din Muhammad bin Bakhtiyar Khilji.

• It is being said that Bakhtiyar Khilji destroyed this varsity just because he didn't like the fact that how a teacher of the university can cure him when his own people couldn't.

• Incensed over this fact that Indian teacher named Rahul Sri Bhadra cured him, the autocratic ruler ordered to burn down whole of the structure.

• Report says, the great library of Nalanda was so vast that it took three months before it was destroyed completely by fire set in by invaders.

• Before it was ruined by invaders, it was highly acclaimed center which attracted scholars and students from as far away as Tibet, China, Greece, and Greater Iran.

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