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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Nalanda Mentor Group plays down Dalai Lama's omission

August 5, 2010

IBN Life (India)
August 3, 2010

New Delhi, Aug 3 (PTI) -- Nobel laureate Amartya
Sen headed mentor group, spearheading the revival
of the ancient Nalanda university, today played
down omission of the Dalai Lama from the
international project, saying religious studies
could be imparted without involvement of religious leaders.

"He (The Dalai Lama) is heading a religion. Being
religiously active may not be the same as (being)
an appropriate person for religious studies," Prof Sen told reporters here.

"There is a distinction between religion and
divinity school," Sen said to a question on why
the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader was not
associated with the project to resurrect the
ancient seat of Buddhist learning in Bihar.

The University was founded in the fifth century.
Questions have been raised in the country as to
why the 75-year-old temporal head of Tibetans was
kept out of the ambitious project. Dalai Lama is
seen as one of the greatest exponents of Buddhism's Nalanda tradition.

It was the Tibetan Buddhists, like the Dalai
Lama, who kept the "Nalanda tradition" and the
teachings of Buddhism?s mahayana sect alive after
the burning of the university in the 12th century
by invaders. The views of Sen assume significance
against the backdrop of reports that the omission
of the Dalai Lama was keepingin view "China's
sensibilities". The university is being revived
under an international initiative spearheaded by
the East Asia Summit, a bloc of which India is a
member along with China and 14 other nations.

Buddhist teachings will be an integral part of
its curriculum. The Ministry of External Affairs
is actively involved in the one billion dollar
project. The MEA has already finalised the
Nalanda University Bill, which is expected to be
introduced in the ongoing monsoon session of
Parliament. The mentor group, which will draft
the regulations, will be the university's interim
governing body till the member-countries of the
East Asia Summit nominate board members.

The international university will be an
autonomous institution with the Nalanda seal --
kept in a museum in Bihar's Nalanda--as its emblem.
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