Today, Nalanda University website recently launched at www.nalandauniversity.org (October 7,2011) has vanished from the public view. The much-touted University whose revival was being worked out by the Government of India lies in tatters a la bunch of Oxbridge educated smug under the leadership of a development economist, India-born Amartya Sen. The University which commenced from 25th November, 2010 after the operation of the Nalanda University Act,2010 have invited criticism for the opaque functioning, incompetence of the Mentor Group and splurge of money on merry making in various international location without iota of ground work in Rajgir. As of now, neither there is any statute , nor any Governing Board for the University. With the expiry of the term of Nalanda Mentor Group on 24th November, 2011; the whole structure of the University has crumbled down. No regular Governing Board envisaged under the Act has yet been formed as this requires various nations to make contribution to this ambitious project and only the top five contributing nations can nominate one representative each in the Governing Board for a term of three years. But, apart from China, which has contributed a peanut of one million dollar, no money has been contributed by any of the East Asian nations, though Japan and Singapore were enthusiastic supporters of the revival idea. In the absence of the list of contributing nations, the Governing Board itself is in limbo and with the departure of Amartya Sen, Meghnad Desai, George Yeo , N.K.Singh, Wang Bangwei w.e.f.24th November; the fate of University looks bleak.
There is still confusion over the position of the Visitor. Though former President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam has ruled out his role as the Visitor of the University, the Nalanda University Act,2010 has made him the first Visitor till 25th November, 2015. Since there is no statute, the responsibility to frame the same was entrusted to the Nalanda Mentor Group, there is no provision for dissociation of the First Visitor either through resignation or other methods. Kalam has clarified that the incumbent President will take up the role of Visitor since it is a Central University and also added that she will look into the complaints against the competency of the Vice Chancellor.
A controversy had raked up upon the appointment of the Vice Chancellor when the Government stated in a reply to the Parliament question that no VC has been appointed on August,25. But, a DU Reader, Gopa Sabharwal continued to claim that she was the VC and she had been given “free hand” by Amartya Sen-led Nalanda Mentor Group. When Sen was confronted with the facts that the appointment of a VC was not his entrusted responsibility, but that of the Visitor; it was later clarified by him that she was merely the Vice Chancellor-Designate and not the Vice Chancellor. With the news cropping up about the pending enquiry against illegal appointments by the President of India, the fate of the incumbent VC-Designate seems sealed.
The Nalanda University stands at this juncture due to the dystopian vision of the Mentor Group. The Nalanda Mentor Group, from very onset, began to dismiss Buddhist studies and Nalanda Tradition from their purview. East Asia summit had mooted the idea in January,2007 with an aim to develop new connectivities across Asia riding on historic bonds, in which Buddhism played the pivotal role. Once the approach became evident, major nations dissociated from the whole scheme. The partisan approach of Amartya Sen and George Yeo to placate China at the cost of the Nalanda tradition and Buddhism proved to be costly misadventure. Dalai Lama is the living Nalanda Master. Amartya Sen made it a routine to attack Dalai Lama . He snubbed with his haughty remarks and tried to win brownie points with Chinese authorities. George Yeo, who was born in China and has Chinese ethnicity, went to meet Panchen Lama as the Foreign Minister of Singapore on September 14, 2010. He became the first foreign member of government to meet officially with Panchen Lama, at the Xihuang Monastery in Beijing, China. It is world known that Chinese authorities abducted the Dalai Lama appointed Panchen Lama and foisted own Panchen Lama, Gyaltsen Norbu and is promoting him as a counter to Dalai Lama in the Buddhist world. George Yeo was signaling China to walk extra mile if money flows for Nalanda project. Its another matter, George Yeo lost the cabinet berth and the elections this year and China has embarked upon its own policy of establishing Lumbini as a major centre of Buddhist pilgrimage and studies at a cost of three billion dollars. Though, merely one million dollar fund came from China, the approach of Sen and Yeo gave a wrong signal to other Buddhist nations. In fact, Japan invited Dalai Lama to Sendai, the worst effected city in the earthquake to pray for the victims and there was a tremendous response to Dalai Lama. Even within China, the adherents to Buddhism and believers in Dalai Lama has grown majestically.
Rescuing the Nalanda Project from the brinks
The Nalanda University Project , can be completed within a record time if and only if those in command have scant respect for Nalanda tradition, understanding about the delicate fusion of various traditions and Asiatic wisdom. Nalanda tradition is an experiential tradition and not merely an argumentative tradition. Its another matter that the sophisticated public debates were part of the studies. The need of the time is to bring a person who is conversant with both Nalanda Tradition and wider globalized world, spiritual wisdom and administrative acumen. If such a person is chosen as the Vice Chancellor through a public debate, the Buddhist nations of Asia will relook into the whole project afresh. One billion dollar is not a big amount for a multinational project. What lacked was the vision, commitment ,sincerity and humble attitude!
To my mind, Tsona Gontse Rinpoche appears to be an apt candidate suitable for the historic job . Jetsin Tenzin Jampel Wangchuk , the thirteenth Tsona Rinpoche is regarded as re-incarnation of Thupten Jampel Wangchuk. Born on 19th August,1967, in Mon- Tawang ,Arunachal Pradesh, he is young and a bundle of energy. He was recognized as reincarnation of Thupten Jampel Wangchuk by The Dalai Lama . After his education at Drepung Loseling Monastery, South India ,He obtained the doctorate degree of Geshe Lharampa in Buddhist philosophy.
He functioned as the president of Himalayan Buddhist Culture Association(HBCA) which works across various Himalayan states in India on education, environment, language and culture preservation. He gained ample experience as administrator as Minister of State, industry, Textile and Handicrafts and Cabinet Minister of Tourism, Chairman of Advisory council for Tourism Development (ACTD) in the Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh. Even now ,he now holds the position of Chairman, Hydropower Development Corporation, (APHPDC) ,Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh.
He has got international recognisation as an authentic and excellent social worker and fully accomplished spiritual master. He received several national and international awards for his tireless efforts and social works for the well being of people around the world.He has the privilege of attending the millennium UN world peace summit at the United Nations Assembly Hall as the first ever Buddhist representative from the entire Himalayn region.
After he obtained his degree, he becomes the president of Buddhist Culture Association of Himalaya. As a president he worked towards the development of mutual relationship between various culture and religion of India and endeavoured towards preservation of flora and fauna to maintain a peaceful environment. Further, he has taken the great responsibilities of developing the religion and the culture of Mon region. He has established numerous monasteries, Educational Centre. Stupas and Cottage Industries. He was Minister of State, industry, Textile and Handicrafts and Cabinet Minister of Tourism, Chairman of Advisory council for Tourism Development (ACTD), Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh. And he now holds the position of Chairman, Hydropower Development Corporation, (APHPDC) Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh.
He is an international teacher of dharma. Recently, he accepted the role of Patron –Saint for Tamengs of Nepal. He is also working on development of model cluster of hundred villages in Assam. He has been frequently addressing international gatherings and has the privilege of attending the millennium UN world peace summit at the United Nations Assembly Hall as the first ever Buddhist representative from the entire Himalayan region.
Nowadays he runs various activities through sherab Shangpo Society. Along with Dalai lama, he appears on a daily Buddhist programme, “Noble wisdom” on Sadhna Channel from 6.40-7.00p.m. and delivers philosophical teachings for benefit of viewers. Apart form being a teacher and administrator, he is also known as a great builder of stupas and Chortens. Building of the majestic Bomdila Monastery has been completed by him. Bomdila monastery is an imitation of the Tsona Gontse Monastery, located at Tsona in South Tibet and known worldwide as major centre of Mahayana Buddhism. It was his tireless efforts in spreading education, morality and ecology preservation which impressed the then President Abdul Kalam, when he had gone to visit Bomdila. Kalam continues to praise about this young creative monk in most of his meetings.
Tsona Rinpoche is believed to be the reincarnation of Lhari sDe sNod zinpa, who in turn is believed to be the emanation of Nagarjuna as per the prophecies. Tsona Rinpoche is accepted as the best masters of Buddhist Vinayas.Through Nagarjuna, the Tsona Rinpoche have connection with Nalanda as Nagarjuna is believed to have founded the Nalanda University of yore.
Since, Tsona Rinpoche is young, experienced in establishing centers, as well as administration; and he is a learned scholar of Nalanda Tradition itself, he fits in the scheme of things to expedite the revival of the Nalanda University. Since he is a Buddhist master who is popular within India, Eat Asia and the west and who is an eloquent speaker in chaste Hindi, English, Tibetan and other Indian languages; he will prove an asset to the University in attracting governments, scholars and students alike.
This is an open suggestion and we will take up the matter with the Ministry of External Affairs in coming weeks. Every conscientious citizen who have pledged to revive Nalanda varsity within earliest possible time are requested to kindly provide feedback and suggest some other names so that regular structure comes in place and the ground work commences with the spirit of a great historic mission.
*(Society for Asian integration)
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