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Kalam's dream project a step closer

July 09, 2007 14:35 IST

Outgoing President A P J Abdul Kalam's dream for setting up an international university in Nalanda in Bihar is now closer.

The first meeting of the Nalanda Mentor Group headed by Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen to oversee the opening of the university will be held in Singapore on July 13 and 14, N K Singh, deputy chairman, Bihar State Planning, said.

"Now the dream of outgoing President Kalam for setting up of the university in Nalanda is not far away," Singh told rediff.com over telephone on Monday.

The Nalanda Mentor Group headed by Amartya Sen will discuss the proposal of foreign investments and syllabus of the proposed university in its first meeting, Singh said.

Other members including Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, representatives of the government of China and Japan, Lord Meghnad Desai of England and Sugata Bose, a grand nephew of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, who teaches at Harvard University, will attend the meet.

Last month External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced in Singapore the formation of the Nalanda Mentor Group headed by Amartya Sen.

Mukherjee said this would help in determining the pedagogy, structure and management of the proposed university in Bihar.

The idea of the university was first mooted in the late 1990s, but it was Kalam's initiative in early 2006 that gave shape to the project at the ancient site of Buddhist learning.

After the Singapore meeting, three more meetings will held in China, Japan and Bihar. Singapore and Japan are keen to fund Nalanda University.

Officials said the state government has begun acquiring 500 acres of land for the university.

The proposed university will be fully residential, like the ancient Nalanda seat of learning. In the first phase of the project, seven schools with 46 foreign faculty members and over 400 Indian academics would be established.

The university will impart courses in science, philosophy and spiritualism along with other subjects. A renowned international scholar will be its chancellor.

Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna