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No plans to revive Nalanda univ

The Tourism Ministry said Nalanda won't be revived as the ruins are protected.
IANS | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 14, 2007 03:28 PM IST

The central government clarified on Tuesday that there were no plans to revive Nalanda, one of the first universities in recorded history of world, contrary to certain media reports.

"There is no proposal with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to develop ancient Nalanda as a university. The excavated remains at Nalanda are protected as a site of national importance," Minister of Tourism and Culture Ambika Soni said on Tuesday.

ASI is India's nodal body responsible for the upkeep of 3,667 monuments and heritage sites.

"Regular conservation and preservation measures are undertaken for its proper maintenance and upkeep. Tourist amenities like toilet blocks, drinking water facilities, signages, publications counters, pathways and approach road have also been provided," Soni informed the Rajya Sabha.

On December 9, 2006, The New York Times had run an Open Editorial saying: "No one should underestimate the potential benefits of this project [revival of Nalanda] to Asia, or the influence it could have on Asia's role in the world, or the revolutionary impact it could make on global higher education."

The university, a 5th century architectural marvel in Bihar, was home to over 10,000 students and nearly 2,000 teachers. Nalanda is the Sanskrit name for 'giver of knowledge'.

Nalanda University, which existed until 1197 AD, attracted pupils and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey, besides being a pedestal of higher education in India.

Though it was devoted to Buddhist studies, it also trained students in subjects like fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics and the art of war. It was the largest residential centre of learning that the world had ever known with a library located in a nine-storied building.

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