Nalanda International University and Politics

by Indra, Patna Daily, Aug 8, 2007

Why do some people see only the darker side of any endeavor to create a great thing? Why do they start having suspicion about the good intentions of some who can dream, take lessons from the failures in past and get ahead?

I came across one such article by Shri Sunanda K Dutta-Ray on ‘Reviving Nalanda’ in Business Standard. Shri Dutta-Ray is ‘not sure whether the $1 billion Nalanda Mark II project is meant to be a temple of higher learning, a money-making investment or an exercise in soft power to strengthen ties with China and Japan, draw Australasia closer and provide a cultural focal point for ASEAN and East Asia Summit countries.’ He goes further, “With most East Asian Summit members endorsing the plan at last January’s Manila summit, it sounds even more like politics than academics.”

Why is Duta-Ray so concerned and skeptical, when Amartya Sen is not? Why can’t he wait for a year or two and see the progress, when he himself mentions of “Amartya Sen, the NMG chairman, announcing last week that Nalanda would be ‘functioning in a small way’ by 2009 with ‘a few thousand students’ from all over the world. The curriculum would include philosophy and Buddhist studies, Asian history and classical and modern languages. Scientific research will follow.”

And what is wrong if the retired South Block mandarin bubbled about six-lane highways, airports at Gaya and even Nalanda and deluxe hotels, organised pilgrim tours, crash courses in Hindu and Buddhist thought, yoga centres, Ayurvedic clinics, meditation homes and all manner of facilities for rich intellectual pilgrims? Bodh Gaya is already an International airport. It can expand as and when required. It can be connected to the university site by a six-lane road. An international city can always be conceptualized and realized, though as separate project, in the vicinity of the University. It can consist of the second homes of the intellectuals of Buddhists countries who wish to spend their last part of life near a place of pilgrimage. What used to be Varanasi for Hindus, Boddh Gaya can be for Buddhists.

What is wrong if an eight-lane corridor is built by China, the master infrastructure builder, between Vaishali and Bodh Gaya as a good gesture or a diplomatic drive? Rich Jains from Gujarat can build hotels. Buddhist industrialists from Japan and Thailand can set up a number of technical training schools and help developing a manufacturing hub along the super expressway to make the people of the state, that gave them their religion, a little more prosperous.

If one is to build a great institution, one must dream. What is wrong in expecting some benevolent India baiters from US such as Bill Gates or John Chambers to set up the best software engineering institute of the world in the campus of Nalanda International University? Why can’t some influential Indologists from US, UK, and Germany make the best institutions and the governments of their countries participate in the project?

Why should Dutta-Ray be so skeptical if Railway’s initiative failed as Japanese travelers demand high standards of catering, comfort, punctuality, hygiene and cleanliness? After all our own managers have created Delhi Metro too.

I have been writing about the project myself for quite sometime. Even as a person older than Dutta-Ray, I have a hope that at least this project with interest shown by the present chief minister, with the experiences of NK Singh, and with mentors such as Amartya Sen, and blessings from the former President Kalam and others, will come up on a grand enough scale in next few years to give Bihar a place of pride in the world of education and knowledge. Why can’t Nalanda International University become the best in India and one of the best in the world?

Why should one bother why Singapore and China have chosen to play a significant role in the project till they keep on assisting in realizing the big dream in interest of the state and the nation?

And let Mr. Dutta-Ray understand that such a project has been successfully established in the country. ISB, Hyderabad is one such institution and the person behind that is Rajat Gupta of McKinsey. And Gupta happens to be from Bengal. Vedanta University is another project of a huge dimension coming up in Orissa.

I wish as an alumnus of IIT, Kharagpur, Rajat Gupta would have been also associated with the project of Nalanda International University to create one management school of Harvard or technological institute of MIT fame in the campus.

However, the success and uniqueness of project in depth and breadth will certainly depend on who becomes the de facto CEO, and how dedicated is he to create something that the posterity can remember and be proud of.

Mr. Dutta-Ray! Why don’t you put forward your own ideas that you shall like to get incorporated?

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: