Eight hundred years after it was razed by foreign invaders, Nalanda University is set to kick off its first academic programme from September 1, reviving an institution that was in existence long before Harvard and Cambridge were set up.
The ministry of external affairs will support six students from Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam at Nalanda, which has been revived by a group of scholars led by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen as part of a wider Asian renaissance.
The ancient university in Bihar was once a centre of excellence not just for philosophy and Buddhist studies but also for literature and mathematics.
The new university aims to rebuild the intellectual rigour of the old school initially with a school of environmental studies and a school of historical studies.
The orientation will be on August 29 and a larger event is planned in mid-September when external affairs minister, Sushma Swaraj, visits the campus.
“At present, we have a total of eight faculty members in both schools and some are in the process of freeing themselves from other commitments and will join soon,” Dr Gopa Sabharwal, vice chancellor of the university, told HT. “We have one student from Japan and are in the process of getting some students from the some East Asian countries.”
The school currently offers MA, MPhil and PhD programmes that focus on global and comparative history.