Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The evaporated dream of Santiniketan or the lost vision of Auroville

Reviving Nalanda WHERE MONEY TALKS Sunanda K Datta-Ray business-standard New Delhi July 21, 2007
India needs school buildings that afford protection against rain and sun. Schools cannot function without qualified and adequately paid teachers. They also need textbooks, stationery, libraries, fully equipped laboratories and facilities for studying the sciences. Colleges and universities must be more than factories to dole out the meal ticket of a meaningless degree. Friends in the US, themselves IIT alumni, tell me that even these training grounds of the movers and shapers of the future are now badly in need of upgrading.

India manages, even winning Nobel Prizes, because of the basic genius of the Indian people. But genius has to be nurtured if there is to be a uniform standard of education. That demands firm countrywide foundations before dreaming up the superstructure of what is being called “an icon of the Asian renaissance”. If basics are ignored, Nalanda II may not be any more meaningful than the evaporated dream of Santiniketan or the lost vision of Auroville.

Perhaps I am confusing purposes. The new Nalanda may be an attractive international resort, the thinking man’s Sentosa leisure ground. It may hum and buzz with conferences and seminars, resonate with rhetoric about the dialogue of nations and discourse of civilisations, and stake a claim to contemporary relevance with faculties devoted to global governance, understanding terrorism and the challenge of the Internet.

But A P J Abdul Kalam’s promise last year to recreate the “holistic traditions of knowledge creation, acquisition and dissemination as practised in ancient Nalanda” was a reminder that Chag Lotsawa, the Tibetan pilgrim who visited Nalanda 42 years after it was sacked by Bakhtiyar Khilji, found that scholarship, like love, survived among the ruins. A solitary teacher, 90-year-old Rahul Shribhadra, still devotedly discharged his duty to 70 students.

Can that spirit be revived? Today, the flickering lamp of Pali studies at the Nava Nalanda Mahavira is the only link with the glorious past of a university that lay forgotten for centuries until British archaeologists unearthed its remains in 1860. sunanda.dattaray@gmail

1 comment:

  1. I am a regular reader of S.Dutta-Ray's column & admirehe fact that he has seen the Mother & perhaps also had the darshan of Sri Aurobindo. But my question is how can he say the 'lost vision' of Auroville? Isn't the vision an eternal one, an everlasting hope for mankind showing the way forward towards a more completer unity & aren't people there trying, however imperfectly/ sincerely to work out that vision. This much at least must be said of their sacrifice & dedication. The Vision is not lost, it can never be only its actualisation shall take a long time, till then Savitri Erans put in your positive best to its fulfilment.