Patna: The revived Nalanda University, an ancient international centre for learning in Bihar which has attracted over 1,000 applications from around the world, will begin its first academic session today with 15 students, including five women, and 10 faculty members, its vice
“We are ready to start the academic session of Nalanda University Monday,” Vice Chancellor Gopa Sabhrawal told IANS.
Sabhrawal said a three-day student orientation programme for the School of Historical Sciences and the School of Environment and Ecology for the first session 2014-15 commenced Friday in the makeshift campus at the Buddhist pilgrim town of Rajgir, about 100km from Patna. The university will come up in Rajgir, 12km from where the ancient Nalanda Univeristy stood till the 12th century, when it was razed by an invading Turkish army.
The formal inauguration is expected in mid-September, Sabhrawal said. The fully-residential university, to be completed by 2020, will eventually have seven schools, all for post-graduate and doctoral students, offering courses in science, philosophy and spirituality and social sciences.
“Over 1,000 students from 40 countries have sought admission in Nalanda University. But only 15 students have been selected, including one each from Japan and Bhutan and others from India,” Sabharwal said.
More students will be enrolled in September as the selection process is still under way, she added.
It was initially decided to enrol 40 students — 20 each in the two schools — but after scrutiny and interview only the best students have been selected, Sabharwal said. Applications have been received from the US, Russia, England, Spain, Germany, Japan, Myanmar, Austria and Sri Lanka, among others, as also from West Asian and Southeast Asian countries.
Those 15 selected students will be housed in Hotel Tathagat, owned by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) in Rajgir.
The classes will be held in the nearby convention hall of the state government.
Rajgir attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year. It is the second most visited tourist place in the Buddhist circuit in Bihar after Bodh Gaya, considered as the birthplace of Buddhism, where Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment over 2,500 years ago.
Rajgir (then Rajagriha) was the first capital of the Magadha kingdom and one of the favourite places of the Buddha.