The Madhya Pradesh government plans to invest Rs 300 crore to promote ‘peace and harmony” by setting up a Buddhist university that will also promote tourism and cultural trade.
Although there are several Buddhist universities across the globe, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday said this would come up at the world heritage site of Sanchi and would be the first in the world to impart knowledge on the Buddha and Indian philosophy. The state government has allocated an area of 100 acres for the purpose.
The main objective of the university is to conduct advanced Buddhist studies and co-ordinate with other Buddhist universities and other academic institutions which offer studies of Buddhism and related subjects all over the world in the field of research, training, spiritual practice and education based on Buddhism.
A study exchange programme with all Buddhist countries would also follow. Bhutan has agreed to open a study centre at the university. The state government will be chancellor of the university, which will also boast a huge library and five study centres, mainly for Boudh philosophy, Sanatan dharma, Indic studies, international Boudh Studies, comparative studies, literature, linguistics and art.
Chouhan said, “Apart from land allocation, we would earmark a total budget of Rs 300 crore to this university, to be named International Sanchi Buddhist University and Indic Studies. The first part of the Rs 100 crore will come in the forthcoming second adjunct budget.”
The university will be jointly inaugurated by Bhutan Prime Minister Jigme Yoser Thinley and Lankan President Mahindra Rajapaksa. In the meantime, over 1,500 workers of the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) are participating in a dharna to protest the university at Chindwara. MDMK leader Vaiko and t party workers have travelled from Tamil Nadu to protest Sri Lankan President Mahindra Rajapaksa's visit to Sanchi.
Vaiko was stopped at the Chhindwara border before he, along with his supports, could reach Sanchi to protest against Rajapaksa. His party workers, including chief Vaiko, have been camping there since Wednesday evening.
Thinley and Rajapaksa will be reaching Sanchi on Friday via Bhopal to lay the foundation stone for the university.
Chhindwara’s district collector told Business Standard that Vaiko wants the government to allot a space for him and his protesters to hold a silent protest by showing black flags in Sanchi.