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Nalanda University: Reviving India’s Ancient Seat of Learning with a State-of-the-Art Campus

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Nalanda, June 19, 2024 – Nalanda University, named after the ancient seat of learning that attracted scholars from around the world 1,600 years ago, has taken a significant step forward with its state-of-the-art Net Zero campus. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his happiness that the university’s around 500 regular students hail from 20 different countries. “Nationality was not a criterion for admission in the ancient Nalanda, and the new Nalanda will also develop on similar lines,” he said after inaugurating the sprawling campus.

A Modern Tribute to an Ancient LegacyNalanda University

Although the Nalanda University shifted to its new campus in 2020, the completion of the extensive infrastructure development has been a monumental task. Originally planned for inauguration in 2022, the event materialized in the first month of Modi’s third term as Prime Minister. A senior university official stated that the infrastructure development is 90% complete, with 24 large buildings already standing. Notably, the campus will feature a modern library and a 2,000-capacity auditorium, both still under construction.

The new campus of Nalanda University elegantly blends the essence of ancient Nalanda with modern facilities, creating an environment that honors its rich heritage while embracing cutting-edge technology. The campus inauguration marks a pivotal moment in India’s quest to regain its status as a global knowledge hub.

Sustainable Development and Green Initiatives

The first phase of construction included academic and administration buildings, residential facilities for faculty, staff, and students, and amenities buildings. Notably, the campus spans 455 acres and includes water bodies spread across 100 acres for rainwater collection and distribution. The entire construction adheres to green building certification requirements by GRIHA, incorporating net-zero energy, water, and waste management strategies.

Innovative technologies like desiccant evaporative (DEVAP) cooling have been employed to enhance the campus environment. Internal roads, walkways, and landscaping have been developed to create a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing campus.

Historical Significance and Visionary Beginnings

The vision to revive Nalanda University began in 2006 when former President APJ Abdul Kalam emphasized the need to restore the glory of ancient Nalanda during his address at the Bihar Legislature. Chief Minister Nitish Kumar acknowledged the university’s journey and thanked Prime Minister Modi for accelerating the construction work.

Nalanda University holds a unique place in history as the world’s first residential university, once housing 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers from across the globe. The ancient university was destroyed by Bakhtiar Khilji in the 12th century, coinciding with the rise of Oxford University. The new Nalanda aims to reestablish India as a global knowledge center.

Academic Excellence and International Collaboration

Currently, Nalanda University runs six schools: Buddhist Studies, Philosophy & Comparative Religions, Historical Studies, Ecology and Environmental Studies, and Sustainable Development and Management. The university offers 137 scholarships for international students, attracting a diverse student body from countries including Argentina, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Laos, Liberia, Myanmar, Mozambique, Nepal, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, the USA, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

The university collaborates with 17 nations, including Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. More international partnerships are expected to follow, further enhancing Nalanda’s global presence.

Challenges and Aspirations

The most significant challenge for the new Nalanda University will be to meet the high expectations set by its illustrious predecessor. The ancient university was a beacon of knowledge, attracting scholars from around the world and setting a standard for academic excellence. The new Nalanda aspires to match this legacy by becoming a premier institution of higher learning that draws students and faculty from across the globe.

Prime Minister Modi’s inauguration of the campus signifies a renewed commitment to education and knowledge as pillars of India’s growth and global standing. As the university continues to develop, it is poised to play a crucial role in establishing India as a leader in global education.

Conclusion

Nalanda University stands at the crossroads of history and modernity, embodying India’s rich educational heritage while embracing the future. With its state-of-the-art Net Zero campus and a diverse international student body, Nalanda is well on its way to becoming a global center of knowledge once again. The journey ahead is filled with challenges, but the foundation laid today promises a bright future for the university and its mission to restore India’s status as a world-renowned hub of learning.

Also read: TEZPUR MEDICAL COLLEGE AND HOSPITAL CELEBRATES WORLD BLOOD DONOR DAY

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