India, Universities and World Ambitions

south asian university logo
By creating quality institutions like the SAU and reviving old ones like Nalanda (below) India is trying to establish itself as regional hub of excellence.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

All the chaos surrounding sloppy preparations for the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi in October may give an impression that India has a long way to go to become a global power. One may cite the overflowing Yamuna running into residential areas of Delhi as a proof that India is still an improvised third-world country that has million of hungry stomachs to feed. True. But make no mistake. India is not watching this all quietly with its hands folded. There are so many progressive activities happening in India today that it is sometime difficult to keep track of all of them. Highways are being expanded all over the country, for example, and competition among foreign companies to open shops in India has only intensified. Take, for example, the two incidents on Thursday which offer an insight into India’s preparations to become an advanced nation with global influence.

Nalanda University India ruins
Nalanda University India. Ruins

The Indian parliament passed a bill that authorises the government to revive an ancient university in Nalanda, Bihar. Nalanda University will be an Indian answer to Oxfords and Cambridges of the West, said parliamentarians across the political spectrum before ditching their ideological differences to vote unanimously for the bill. Lawmakers were full of praise for the Indian heritage that once produced universities like Nalanda, Vikramsila and Pushpagiri centuries ago that, as centers of excellence, attracted students from foreign countries.

On the same day, in a quiet corner of the mammoth campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, the South Asian University began its first ever academic session without much fanfare. Continue reading India, Universities and World Ambitions