Nalanda Mentor Group plays down Dalai Lama`s omission
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 03, 2010, 18:41
New Delhi: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen headed mentor group, spearheading the revival of the ancient Nalanda University, today played down omission of the Dalai Lama from the international project, saying religious studies could be imparted without involvement of religious leaders.

"He (The Dalai Lama) is heading a religion. Being religiously active may not be the same as (being) an appropriate person for religious studies," Prof Sen told reporters here.

"There is a distinction between religion and divinity school," Sen said to a question on why the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was not associated with the project to resurrect the ancient seat of Buddhist learning in Bihar. The University was founded in the fifth century.

Questions have been raised in the country as to why the 75-year-old temporal head of Tibetans was kept out of the ambitious project.

Dalai Lama is seen as one of the greatest exponents of Buddhism’s Nalanda tradition. It was the Tibetan Buddhists, like the Dalai Lama, who kept the "Nalanda tradition" and the teachings of Buddhism’s Mahayana sect alive after the burning of the university in the 12th century by invaders.

The views of Sen assume significance against the backdrop of reports that the omission of the Dalai Lama was keeping in view "China's sensibilities".

The university is being revived under an international initiative spearheaded by the East Asia Summit, a bloc of which India is a member along with China and 14 other nations. Buddhist teachings will be an integral part of its curriculum.

The Ministry of External Affairs is actively involved in the one billion dollar project. The MEA has already finalised the Nalanda University Bill, which is expected to be introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament.

The mentor group, which will draft the regulations, will be the university’s interim governing body till the member-countries of the East Asia Summit nominate board members.

The international university will be an autonomous institution with the Nalanda seal--kept in a museum in Bihar’s Nalanda--as its emblem.


First Published: Tuesday, August 03, 2010, 18:41

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