Calcutta University introduces Buddhist studies to mark Pali Dept centenary

by Shiv Sahay Singh, Express India, May 26, 2007

Kolkata, India -- The Calcutta University (CU) is all set to introduce a new course in Buddhist studies in the forthcoming academic session.

The course, which offers students a Post Graduate Diploma in Buddhist Studies (PGDBS), is being introduced to mark the centenary of the university’s Department Of Pali. Pali was introduced in 1907 by then Vice-Chancellor Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee.

“We plan to tie up with the Thai University in the near future, so that we can introduce a students’ exchange programme,” said CU Registrar Samir Bandopadhyay. He said the university already has a Thai teacher and a Buddhist scholar, and will be hiring two more post graduate research scholars from Japan and China.

The one-year course has been divided into two semesters and the course fee for Indian students is Rs 6,000 per semester, while foreign students will have to pay Rs 10,000 for each semester.

The course content includes Buddhist religion and philosophy, Buddhist epigraphy, art, iconography and archaeology, canonical and non-canonical Pali literature, mixed Sanskrit Buddhist literature, pure Sanskrit Buddhist literature and Buddhism outside India. The medium of instruction in classrooms will be English and Bengali, and the university will give preference to students with a literature background, said the registrar.

Classes will be held from 5.30 to 7.30 pm, Monday to Thursday, at the Ashutosh Building in the College Street Campus. “Initially, only 30 students will be admitted. The course will provide students within the country and abroad a unique opportunity to understand the basic tenets of Buddhist history and philosophy,” said Bandopadhyay.