During the six centuries of its storied existence, there was nothing else quite like Nalanda University. Probably the first-ever large educational establishment, the college – in what is now eastern India – even counted the Buddha among its visitors and alumni. At its height, it had 10,000 students, 2,000 staff and strove for both understanding and academic excellence. Today, this much-celebrated centre of Buddhist learning is in ruins.
Now this famed establishment of philosophy, mathematics, language and even public health is poised to be revived. A beguiling and ambitious plan to establish an international university with the same overarching vision as Nalanda – and located alongside its physical ruins – has been spearheaded by a team of international experts and leaders, among them the Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen. This week, legislation that will enable the building of the university to proceed is to be placed before the Indian parliament.
What a beautiful idea. I’d teach there…
Website note: I’m transferring nicolagriffith.com to a new web host this weekend, so if weirdness occurs when you’re sampling audio or reading an interview or watching a video, don’t get bent out of shape. It’ll all get sorted eventually. And when I’m back from LA I’ll get to work on making a new website. I mean it this time!