1. D1: Nalanda University
  2. D2: Railway link to Arunanchal Pradesh

D1: Nalanda University

Nalanda: Ancient times

  • During the rule of Kumargupta of Gupta dynasty.
  • Mahayana monks Asnaga and Vasubandhu said to have found Nalanda in 400-500AD
  • Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsang, came during Harsha’s reign, gave detail account of Nalanda University.
    • Nalanda was a huge monastic-educational establishment.
    • Teaching done in Sanskrit.
    • Primary teaching focus: Mahayana Buddhism, yet included other ‘secular’ subjects as well- Like, Grammar, logic, epistemology and sciences.
    • Active discussions and debates were taking place.
    • Harsha is said to have invited a thousand learned monks of Nalanda to take part in the philosophical assembly at Kanauj.
  • Another Chinese scholar, Itsing, mentioned that Nalanda housed 2,000 students, was funded by revenues of 200 villages.
  • Thus university continued to be the centre of intellectual activity till the 12th  century
  • 1193 AD: Turkish ruler Qutbuddin Aibak’s general Bakhtiyar Khilji destroyed Nalanda University.

Nalanda: Modern times

  • 2006: President Kalam proposed setting up this university as an international learning institute, a link between the past, present and future, a channel for knowledge exchange between scholars of the world
  • Singapore, China, Thailand and Australia have contributed funds.
  • university came into existence by a special act — The Nalanda University Act
  • 2012: Noble Laureate Amartya Sen was appointed the Chancellor
  • Total 7 schools- including ecology, environment and historical studies.
  • 2020: will become fully operational, with campus in Rajgir foothills.
  • Until then, temporary classes at Rajgir convention hall, students will live in a hotel.
  • Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj inaugurated in 2014, September.
  • University aims to become a research university, not a teaching university.

D2: Railway link to Arunanchal Pradesh

Q. Discuss the importance of rail connectivity to Arunanchal Pradesh and the recent initiatives taken therein. (100 words)
Railway link Arunanchal

  • In recent years, China has extended its railway network upto Xigaze- close to Sikkim; now planning to extend rail links upto Sino-Indian border just across Tawang Valley in western Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Therefore, Indian rail connectivity to Arunachal becomes top-strategic priority.
  • During peace times, it’d help boosting trade, tourism, connectivity and thus national integration.
  • During war, same can be utilized for moving troops, food, ratio and ammunition.
  • However, since late 80s, Arunachal had barely 1.25kms railway in East Kameng district.
  • In 2014, Northeast Frontier Railway finished rail station @Naharlagun, barely 10 km away from capital Itanagar. This links Arunachal to Assam and from there to rest of India.

~107 words. Visit Mrunal.org/Diplomacy for entire list articles on Diplomacy & International relations (IR) for Mains GS2 paper of UPSC Civil service IAS/IPS Exam.