It is a general notion about the subcontinent that the region has always lagged behind in the field of education and that there has never been any proper institution before the advent of British imperialism in India. But this notion is the result of persistent ignorance of the ‘Orientalists’ who shaped the educational system of the subcontinent. As Lord Macaulay commented even a single section of a European library is better than the whole Indian literature; ironically he himself admitted that he has never read a single book from Indian literature. Therefore, incomprehension about our glorious past is not a surprising thing for the people who studied in the education system designed by Macaulay.
|Nalanda university had the faculty of law, science, philosophy, POLITICS, ARTS, psychology, astronomy, MEDICINE, ETC.|
Traditional Indian society did not only transfer the knowledge of mathematics, biology, medicine, geography, astronomy, philosophy, psychology, etcetera to the West, but also the evidences of the oldest universities can be found here: The Taxila University is considered as the oldest university in the world with some diluted evidences, secondly, The Nalanda University is the second oldest university with the strong existent evidences.
The word ‘Nalanda’ comprises two Sanskrit words: Nalin (knowledge) and Da (provider). The university was supposedly built in the 5th century CE during the peak era of the Gupta empire. The Nalanda University is situated in ancient Magadh (modern-day Bihar) – 67 kilometers away from Patna. The ruins of the ancient institution are spread upon the area of 67 hectares.
The Nalanda University had 11 temples, a multi-storey library consisting more than 9 million books. The campus had hosted 1500-2000 teachers and scholars with more than 10000 students. Scholars and students from the regions like China, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, and the Middle-East, etc. used to participate in the academic activities at the university. Estimated, there were 300 hundred hostel rooms for the foreign students and 8 auditoriums for the meeting and ceremonial purposes. The university had the faculty of law, science, philosophy, politics, arts, psychology, astronomy, medicine, etc. The most interesting thing about the university is that it was genuinely a non-profit organization with everything free from lunch to residence and the government was liable for every expense.
The main source of every major fact regarding the university is fetched by the works of Xuan Zang, a famous translator, traveler, and Buddhist scholar who came to the university for his research on Buddhism in the first half of the 7th century CE. He lived in India for almost 15 years and spent his 1.5 years on the campus. Not only Buddhism was the cynosure of its religiosity, but the university was also considered as the sacred place for the Jains and Hindus of that era.
According to the sources and traditions, it is said that the standards of the university were so high that only a few students could make it to the university amongst a plethora of applicants. Some traditions even tell us that the guards and gate-keepers of the university were highly educated; therefore, an applicant had to pass an informal oral exam at the entrance gates before being interviewed by the university management.
The university faced 3 massive destructions, and faced the most horrendous demolition at the hands of the Turkish invader Bakhtiyar Khilji, who allegedly burnt more than 9 million books only in a grudging inferiority complex. The ruins were found by the excavation of the ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) in two rounds between 1915 and1982. The campus is also regarded as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.