Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Nalanda University of India

In its heyday, the ancient University of Nalanda was the premier education institution of higher learning in the world, long before the universities of Oxford, Heidelberg, or Bologna even came into existence.

Nalanda was started in the 5th century, and it took 200 years for the original Nalanda to flourish into a leading center of learning. It was primarily a religious institution and taught Buddhism, medicine, philosophy, and mathematics. Thousands of students and scholars came from all over the world to study and to teach there. Extensive dormitories and kitchen facilities served to keep up with the influx of people. Big lecture halls as well as small ones served to meet the needs of the various courses taught there. The university was destroyed by invaders in 1193, leaving behind only ruins as testimonial to its glorious past.

An international effort by modern-day scholars is working towards achieving their vision to rebuild Nalanda into a world-class university once again. The Nalanda Mentor Group is chaired by Nobel Laureate, Professor Amartya Sen, who is also the university's chancellor. They draw inspiration from the essence of the old Nalanda: A place where cutting-edge knowledge was produced.

The first students arrive this year. Modern Nalanda will be teaching the modern subjects of humanities, economics, management, sustainable development, Asian integration, and oriental languages. As before, professors and students from all over the world have been attracted to Nalanda's storied past and ambitious present. They want to participate in the forefront of history in the making.