At its height, it had 10,000 students, 2,000 staff and strove for both understanding and academic excellence.Today, this much-celebrated centre of Buddhist learning is in ruins.For good and ill, ancient institutions inherit many things – the buildings, money, traditions, connections, reputation, wisdom, and the corruptions, complacency and false pride.
Probably the first-ever large educational establishment, the college – in what is now eastern India – even counted the Buddha among its visitors and alumni.
He left a fortune to found the hospital in London which is still named after him.
Alfred Nobel read his own obituary because a French newspaper thought he had died when he hadn’t. This nasty shock inspired the inventor and manufacturer of dynamite to endow a munificent Nobel Prize for Peace.
Now this famed establishment of philosophy, mathematics, language and even public health is poised to be revived.
A beguiling and ambitious plan to establish an international university with the same overarching vision as Nalanda – and located alongside its physical ruins – has been spearheaded by a team of international experts and leaders, among them the Nobel-winning economist Amartya Sen.