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  India   Politics  20 Jun 2024  Flames can burn books, not knowledge: PM

Flames can burn books, not knowledge: PM

Published : Jun 20, 2024, 12:41 am IST
Updated : Jun 20, 2024, 12:41 am IST

Modi says higher education to be research oriented

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara, in Nalanda district, Bihar. (PTI Photo)
 Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the ruins of Nalanda Mahavihara, in Nalanda district, Bihar. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi/Rajgir: ”The Nalanda University stands for identity, honour, values and pride and was an ancient inclusive university that welcomed thousands of students from all over the world," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday as he inaugurated its new campus near Rajgir in Bihar.

At the event, the Prime Minister asserted that the Central government is working towards making the country's higher education system more advanced and research-oriented. He called upon students to always remain curious and courageous.

Modi said that the university has now been revived and its reconstruction “heralds a golden era” for the country.

“Flames can burn books but not knowledge,” the Prime Minister said in the presence of a distinguished audience that included ambassadors of several nations, in reference to the tragic destruction of the great university more than eight centuries ago.

“The destruction of Nalanda filled India with darkness,” he said, adding, “Nalanda will again become a symbol of our cultural exchange.”

"Nalanda is a symbol of India's academic heritage and vibrant cultural exchange. It is not just a renaissance of India's past, but also the heritage of many countries are linked to this place," he said.

"Our government is working towards making the country's higher education system more advanced and research-oriented. I am confident that our youth will provide leadership to the entire world in the future," Modi said.

The Prime Minister said he wants India to become a global hub for knowledge and education. He said: "On average, one university has come up in the country every week in the last 10 years."

To mark the occasion, Modi also planted a sapling of the Bodhi tree at the campus.

Bihar governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, external affairs minister S. Jaishankar, MoS for external affairs Pabitra Margherita and chancellor of the university Aravind Panagariya were present at the inauguration ceremony.

Before inaugurating the new campus, the PM visited the "Nalanda Mahavihara", a Unesco world heritage site located close to the varsity.

The modern Nalanda University in Rajgir is located close to the site of the ancient ruins of Nalanda and was established by an Act of Parliament.

According to the ministry of external affairs, while the Nalanda University Act was passed by Parliament in 2010, the real impetus for the construction of the project came under the direction of Modi, with the construction of the present project beginning in 2017 and it started functioning in 2014.

The university adds meaning to India’s "Act East" policy.

Along with India, there are 17 participating countries in this endeavour — Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Mauritius, Myanmar, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Ambassadors of the aforementioned countries travelled to Nalanda to participate in the inaugural ceremony.

According to the foreign ministry statement, the design and architectural elements of the new Nalanda University 455-acre campus are inspired by the original monasteries and buildings at the ancient Nalanda Mahavihara. The new campus is also a "net zero green campus" and includes over 100 acres of water bodies, an on-grid solar plant, a domestic and drinking water treatment plant and a water recycling plant for reusing waste water, as well as over 100 acres of green cover.

The university also has a 250-capacity yoga centre, a state-of-the-art auditorium, a library, an archival centre and a fully equipped sports complex.
The university places emphasis on higher education and research and offers postgraduate and doctoral programmes in Buddhist studies, philosophy and comparative religions, languages and literature, ecology and environmental studies, sustainable development and environment and international relations and peace studies.

At present, students from over 20 countries, including India, are enrolled in various courses at the university.

Tags: prime minister narenda modi, nalanda university, higher education
Location: India, Bihar