The Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Gorakhpur University is planning to start compulsory regular credit and certificate courses on the “Nath Sampraday [Nath sect]” for postgraduate students in subjects such as philosophy, tourism, yoga and Vedic studies, and cultural and religion studies, its Vice-Chancellor Rajesh Singh said on Monday.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is from the Nath Sampraday, which is a Shaiva sub-tradition within Hinduism, and is the head priest of the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur.
The university is planning to set up a “world-class” institute on the sect to spread its knowledge, and people’s awareness about it.
While the university’s Mahayogi Guru Gorakhnath Shodhpeeth (research centre) is already working on a detailed encyclopedia on the “Nath Panth [the Nath tradition]”, it will eventually be brought under the Mahayogi Guru Gorakshanath Global Institute for Cultural and Development Studies.
The university administration said a proposal on the matter had been approved by the concerned body, and Adityanath had asked them to go ahead with the initiative. On Saturday, Rajesh Singh had presented his roadmap for the institute to the Chief Minister.
According to Singh, the university already has been allotted a Rs 37-crore budget by the state government for the research centre. To develop the institute, around Rs 200 crore will be needed.
“We already have a research centre sanctioned by the government in November 2018 and are planning to make it bigger and proposing to make a multi-disciplinary world-class institution. The ‘Nath Panth’ is linked with three to four things and is spread widely. The whole ‘sampraday’ is linked to several languages such as Odia, Kannada and Nepali, and to Buddhism. The institute will be called Mahayogi Guru Gorakshanath Global Institute for Cultural and Development Studies and the research centre will come under it,” the Vice-Chancellor told The Indian Express.
The institute will also have a language school, a yoga and Vedic studies school and a School of Cultural and Religion Studies, along with a school for sustainable development economic studies, a School of Buddhist studies and one for tourism.
“We will pass these five courses in the present academic council and run it from next year. We have the infrastructure as a new building is already under construction. However, we will be needing staff and will have to reorganise a few things. We might bring some teachers on a transfer basis from other departments and make some new recruitment too. For foreign languages, we will have a tie-up with foreign embassies… About the budget needed, if the government will not sanction the amount, there is a higher education funding agency at the Central government level and I will approach that. However, I believe that we will get the sanction as the Chief Minister is interested in the institute and this is an attempt for an international level institute,” he said.
Singh said there would be regular credits for some of the courses while some would be made optional. “For example, if there is a two-year Master’s degree in philosophy, there will be a six-month regular credit course on ‘Nath Panth’. This will mean that the student will get MA Philosophy with specialisation in ‘Nath Panth’. Similarly, if there is a two-year course on tourism, we will link the course with Nath Sampraday as it has a lot to do with religious tourism from all the way in Thailand to Karnataka etc. A multi-disciplinary course is needed because a degree on just ‘Nath Panth’ might not be very appealing at the start,” he added.
Asked about the encyclopedia on the sect that is being prepared, the vice-chancellor said the first volume would be launched in December. At present, the plan is to publish six volumes. The encyclopedia is being prepared by 30 to 40 experts from the Gorakhnath temple, and institutes all across India. A library, both digital and physical, with all the literature on the sect was also being made, Singh said. It is expected to be ready by next March. Its website will be linked to that of the university.
The Gorakshanath Global Institute for Cultural and Development Studies will have courses, including postgraduate degrees connected to other departments, certificate courses, and diploma courses. “While the certificate courses can be started now, we need to get permission from the government for degree and diploma courses,” said Singh.
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