The Bihar Post

Amid growing tension, two Pakistani students want admission at revived Nalanda University


PATNA: Amid the prevailing tension between the two neighbor countries, two students from Pakistan have been granted admission to the Nalanda University in Bihar.

However, both the students are yet to formally enroll themselves with the University, an ancient international centre for great learning in Bihar, which formally reopened for the world in September 2014, some 821 years after it was fully destroyed by the invaders.

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“The university has offered admission to 83 students, including two from Pakistan this year,” Nalanda’s officer in charge of admissions Saurabh Chaudhary was quoted as saying by the IANS today.

According to the officials, delay in visa clearance has prevented from reporting to the university.

Both are scheduled to study in the School of Environment and Ecology.  As per report, the university authorities have received admission applications from students from 50 countries across the globe.

Only last week, President Pranab Mukherjee attended the first convocation ceremony of the university in the presence of Bihar chief minister and Governor, and awarded degrees to the students.

The academic session began in September 2014 from a makeshift building at Rajgir in central Bihar’s Nalanda district with 15 students, including five women, and 10 faculty members in initially two schools—the School of Ecology and Environmental Studies and School of Historical Studies.

The makeshift campus is some 12 km from the ruins of the ancient Nalanda university where the campus of the new university coming up. The building of the new university coming up on 443-acre campus is to be completed by 2020.

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Authorities said initially around 1,000 applicants had sought admissions in the university but only 15 were selected after multiple tests and screening even though each discipline is to have a maximum of 20 students.

The focus, authorities said, is on maintaining the quality of the institution and restoring its lost when it attracted thousands of students from across the world.

The world’s first residential university believed to be built in the 5th century AD accommodated over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers in its heyday.

Famous Chinese traveler and scholar Xuanzang who studied, taught and spent nearly 15 years at the university has in his book given detailed account of how this university had attracted scholars from 93 countries.

Records of the history say the university was attacked thrice by the invaders in the past but the final blow by the Turkish army of Bakhtiya Khilji in 1193 AD destroyed it beyond repairs as it was set ablaze. According to historians, the books burnt for months.

The idea to revive the destroyed old Nalanada University was first mooted by late Indian President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam during his address to the Joint Session of the Bihar Legislature on March 28, 2006.

“It’s a great opportunity for Bihar to house a major Universal Institute of Learning that can be the beacon of light for the modern world. The focus of the university can be the evolution of world, free from crime, terrorism and wear,” was how Dr Kalam told the lawmakers adding, “I look forward to scholars from all countries of the world coming here to create knowledge, share knowledge and make Earth a conflict-free peaceful place”.

The Bihar government hurriedly picked up the idea and began its search for a suitable location for new university. It finally settled for a location close to the ruin of the ancient university to build a new one to restore the ancient glory of the Nalanda which once was a seat of learning.


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