India’s Effort to Revive Its First University Creates a Local Uproar

India’s Effort to Revive 
Its First University 
Creates a Local Uproar 3

Alamy

The original Nalanda U., founded some 1,600 years ago, was among the world’s first residential universities, 
with more than 10,000 students. The campus was left in ruins by invaders late in the 12th century.

Amartya Sen first saw the colossal, red-brick ruins of old Nalanda University at the age of 11. After Mr. Sen told his family that he wanted to be a professor, his grandfather took the future Harvard University economist and Nobel laureate to see the remains of what is described as India’s oldest university, a place where history has the cast of epic myth.

Founded in the fifth century AD, Nalanda at its peak attracted some 10,000 students from across Asia to study Buddhism, law,