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Dalai Lama praises new Nalanda University, hopes for its prosperity in letter to PM Modi

“Committed as I am to creating greater interest and awareness in ancient Indian knowledge, it is wonderful that a new Nalanda University has been established in this historic location—may it prosper and thrive,” he said.

Dalai Lama praises new Nalanda University, hopes for its prosperity in letter to PM Modi AJR
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First Published Jun 22, 2024, 8:07 PM IST

The Dalai Lama on Saturday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on inauguration of the campus of the new Nalanda University at Rajgir in Bihar and wished that it “prosper and thrive”.

In a statement, His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet said: “I am encouraged by the growing interest among young people across India and further afield in ancient Indian knowledge and wisdom. It has such great potential to contribute to the creation of a more compassionate world.”

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“Committed as I am to creating greater interest and awareness in ancient Indian knowledge, it is wonderful that a new Nalanda University has been established in this historic location—may it prosper and thrive,” he said.

He also said that the original Nalanda University shone like a sun in the east. “Education, rooted in rigorous study, discussion and debate, flourished at Nalanda, attracting students from far and wide across Asia. In addition to philosophy, science, mathematics and medicine they learned about the age-old Indian traditions of ahimsa and karuna, which remain not only relevant but also essential in today’s world.”

“In addition to these positive qualities, students at Nalanda developed a thorough understanding of the workings of the mind and emotions, which arose out of the traditional Indian meditative practices for developing tranquility—shamatha, and insight—vipashyana.”

“I believe that the way the Nalanda tradition presented these qualities in terms of logic and reason means they can be readily combined with modern education for the wider benefit of humanity,” the Dalai Lama said.

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Destroyed by the Islamic invaders over 1600 years back, the Nalanda University officially reopened on June 19, which has been set up close to the ancient ruins of the University. Built at a cost of Rs 1749 crore, Prime Minister Modi and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar inaugurated the new Nalanda University campus, aimed to bring back India’s lost glory.

While inaugurating the University, Modi had said: “Nalanda is not just a name, it is an identity, a regard. Nalanda is the root, it is the mantra. Nalanda is the proclamation of the truth that knowledge cannot be destroyed even though books would burn in a fire.”

He underlined that the establishment of the new Nalanda University would initiate the golden age of India.    

It is pertinent to mention here that the Parliament of India set up the Nalanda University through the Nalanda University Act, 2010.

The Act came into existence after the decisions arrived at the second East Asia Summit (EAS) in Philippines in 2007 and the fourth East Asia Summit in Thailand in 2009 for the establishment of the university in the state of Bihar as an “international institution for pursuit of intellectual, philosophical, historical and spiritual studies”.

The University began academic activities in 2014 from a makeshift location with 14 students while the construction of buildings started in 2017.

Spread across 455 acres, the Nalanda University is situated in Rajgir, roughly 100 km from Patna, and merely 12 km away from the ruins of the eponymous ancient Buddhist monastery. It is considered to be among the greatest centres of learning in all of Antiquity.

Besides India, 17 other nations, including Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam participated in the grand inauguration ceremony of the University campus.

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These countries have signed MoUs in support of the University.

It offers 137 scholarships to international students.

These include scholarships sponsored/funded by ASEAN-India Fund, BIMSTEC scholarships and Bhutan Scholarship by MEA. It also offers Post Graduate and Doctoral research courses and short-term certificate courses.

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