Lok Sabha nod to Nalanda university

The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed a legislation to establish a transnational university at Nalanda in Bihar with many MPs expressing hope that the proposed varsity would be on the lines of the renowned seat of learning in ancient India. Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha, five days after it was approved by the Rajya Sabha.Kaur said the university would be established as a non-state, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institute with a continental focus.

The Nalanda University Bill, 2010, seeks to resurrect the ancient seat of Buddhist learning at its original site in Rajgir to attract students and faculty from across south and Southeast Asia.

The Bihar government has already acquired 500 acres of land for the university on the lines of the ancient university, which was founded there in 5th century AD and became a centre of learning for students from across South Asia.

Sixteen countries in East Asia are partnering in the re-establishment of the university.

“The name and motto of the university will be decided by the group of mentors, an international architecture competition will be held for finalising the design of the university,” Kaur said.

The bill was adopted by voice vote which followed a debate of over three hours.

Noting that the ancient Nalanda University was an international symbol of India’s eminence in the field of knowledge, MPs hoped that the proposed varsity would truly be a new Nalanda.

“Let us re-establish the links between India and South and Southeast Asia,” Women and Child Development Minister Girija Vyas said.

The new university will have Buddhist studies, philosophy and comparative religions, historical studies, international relations and peace studies, business management, languages and literature and ecology and environmental studies.

It is being established as a regional initiative under the aegis of East Asia Summit.

At EAS, held in Thailand in October last year, the member countries issued a joint press statement which inter-alia supported the establishment of the university as a non-state, non-profit, secular and self-governing international institution with a continental focus.