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Cool Bihari: Amartya Sen to head Panel on Nalanda University

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Amartya Sen to head Panel on Nalanda University

Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen will head a panel that will make recommendations to set up an international university in Nalanda. The first meeting will be held in Singapore in July.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi told on Saturday: "It is a big opportunity for us."Other members of the panel are Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose's grand-nephew Sugata Bose, who teaches at the Harvard University in the United States, Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, a Chinese minister and Japanese minister.

When it wa decided to establish the university, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had promised to involve Sen.After the first meeting, three more meetings will held in China, Japan and Bihar.Modi said the state government has begun the process to acquire land for the university. In March, the government had passed a bill in the state Assembly to set up the university.

The proposed university will be fully residential like the ancient Nalanda seat of learning. In the first phase, it will have seven different schools with 46 foreign faculty members and over 400 Indian academics, states the final DPR, which was submitted to the government in February.

The university will offer courses in science, philosophy and spiritualism apart from various other subjects. An international scholar will be the chancellor.

Japan and Singapore have shown keen interest to invest in the proposed university at Nalanda, the idea for which was first mooted in the late 1990s.

The excavated remains at Nalanda are protected as a site of national importance. The university, a fifth century architectural marvel, was home to over 10,000 students and nearly 2,000 teachers.

Nalanda is the Sanskrit name for 'giver of knowledge'. The university, which existed till 1197 AD, attracted students and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey, besides being a pedestal of higher education in India.

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Hope that this gets started soon without any issues in land acquisition. Land acquisition has been a big problem due to varios party's political interests.

The western world still thinks that the first ancient university started in Bologna, Italy. However Nalanda University existed 500 years before that one. The first anything in Europe/US is automatically assumed to be first in the world. High time Asians got together and revived our shared rich history of knowledge and development, one that involved the acquisition of knowldge as opposed to acquisition of colonies! I really hope this University becomes a reality and regains its former place of pride in the world !!

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