India may soon have a new, and very old, university. According to an article by James Lamont in the Financial Times (requires login):
One of the world’s oldest universities – Nalanda, in the impoverished Indian state of Bihar – is to be refounded… fulfilling the dreams of scholars from India, Singapore, China, and Japan.
India’s parliament will this week consider legislation allowing foreign partners to help recreate the ancient Buddhist centre of learning close to the red-brick ruins of the original university, 55 miles from Patna, Bihar’s capital.
The project of reviving Nalanda (image of ruins at right) enjoys the support of India’s foreign ministry and the government of Singapore. Supporters hope to attract financial support from religious organizations and international rich people. According to the article, the new Nalanda should have “faculties across the full spectrum of learning, including philosophy, mathematics, medicine and information technology.”
Nalanda, “one of the first great universities in recorded history,” was founded in 427.
It’s been a very long time since anyone has studied at Nalanda, however; in 1193 Muslim revolutionary Bakhtiyar Khilji destroyed and burned the center of Buddhist scholarship. [Image via]