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Nalanda University reopens after 800 years, Sushma Swaraj inaugurates academic session

Classes at the varsity started September 1 with 15 students and half-a-dozen faculty members.

By: Indo-Asian News Service | Patna |
Updated: September 19, 2014 5:52:57 pm
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj lights the lamp with Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi during formal inauguration of Nalanda University at International Convention Centre in Rajgir on Friday (Source: PTI Photo) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj lights the lamp with Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi during formal inauguration of Nalanda University at International Convention Centre in Rajgir on Friday (Source: PTI )

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Friday inaugurated the revived Nalanda University, renowned as a centre for learning till it was burnt down 800 years ago by an invading Turkish army.

Swaraj said it was a matter of pride for her to inaugurate the academic session of the university after a gap of over 800 years.

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi presents a bouquet of flowers to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Rajgir on Friday. (Source: PTI) Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi presents a bouquet of flowers to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj in Rajgir on Friday. (Source: PTI)

“I am really upbeat that I got this opportunity…,” she said at an event held in the Buddhist pilgrim town of Rajgir in Nalanda district, about 100 km from here.

The university will be built in Rajgir, 12 km from where the ancient Nalanda University stood till the 12th century.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the formal inauguration of Nalanda University at International Convention Centre in Rajgir on Friday. (Source: PTI) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at the formal inauguration of Nalanda University at International Convention Centre in Rajgir on Friday. (Source: PTI)

Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi also accompanied her. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi was also present.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets students of Nalanda University during the university's formal inauguration in Rajgir on Friday. (Source: PTI) External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj meets students of Nalanda University during the university’s formal inauguration in Rajgir on Friday. (Source: PTI)

However, former Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, who played a major role in setting up the university, was not invited, university officials said.

Also Read- Opinion: How history was made up at Nalanda

According to the university Vice Chancellor Gopa Sabhrawal, ambassadors of Singapore, Thailand and representatives of other countries involved in setting up the university were present at the function.

Classes at the varsity started September 1 with 15 students and half-a-dozen faculty members.

Nalanda University Vice-Chancellor Gopa Sabarwal presents a memento to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the university's formal inauguration in Rajgir on Friday. (Source: PTI) Nalanda University Vice-Chancellor Gopa Sabarwal presents a memento to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj during the university’s formal inauguration in Rajgir on Friday. (Source: PTI)

The fully-residential university, to be completed by 2020, will have seven schools, all for post-graduate and doctoral students, offering courses in science, philosophy, spirituality and social sciences.

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