In modern India, there are many universities, research institutions which claim to be world class institutions. Irony is, in spite of such claims, that students are moving at a very large scale for getting world-class education towards west. Ask any student, he/she in no minutes will have name of several universities before you- Cambrdge University, Oxford University, Harvard, Stanford, MIT and many more. What about India ? You have JNU, TIFR, Delhi University, IISc, IITs, several NITs, Madras University and many other. If given the choice, students will go for a foreign university first, leaving these so called center of excellence for their considerations later. Ground reality is that our educational institutions are no where par with internationally recognised foreign universities.
But, there was a time in the Indian history when we possessed a university which boasted of to be a world class learning center. It was in real sense an international university with more than 2000 teachers and around 10000 students coming as far as China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal and Ceylon. It was great Nalanda University.
There are many meanings of Nalanda.
One is that Nalam means Lotus and Da means to give. Both combined together, Nalanda means Giver of Lotus. Since Lotus is supposed to represent knowledge, Nalanda means Giver of Knowledge.
The courses offered at Nalanda included the study of scriptures of Mahayana and Hinayana Schools of Buddhism, Brahminical vedic texts, Philosophy, logic theology, grammer, astronomy, mathematics and medicine.
And all these things happened, in between 5th and 12th centuries. After the demolition of this great university not even a single university from India has been to achieve the status this university had.
In many ways it seems to have been like a modern university.There was a rigorous oral entry examination conducted by erudite gatekeepers,and many students were turned away.To study or to have studied at Nalanda was a matter of great prestige.
But, today, there are very few taking pride in studying in any Indian Universities unlike Nalanda University. So, in the area of education, our system is facing a downslide. And it seems everyone has completely closed our eyes and ears on this issue. If we have to see India as a knowledge superpower, if we have to become world-guru then we have to open our eyes and ears and start addressing this problem.
Why can not Nalanda get its lost identity “Giver of Knowledge”? Why can not we resurrect Nalanda University and upgrade many more existing institutions so that we can also attract scholars as well as students from across the globe.
Let’s join hands and get going to fulfil this mission.