New Chancellor has great plans for Nalanda University (Interview)

Pune, Jan 30 (IANS) Vijay Pandurang Bhatkar, the new Chancellor of Nalanda University, plans to explore collaboration with ancient abodes of learning, especially in Asia, as he prepares to take charge next month.

Nalanda was a renowned place of learning and it was amazing how such universities of great repute were created “in the great golden days in our country”, technocrat Bhatkar said.

“Princes, royalty, monks and students from different parts of the world travelled long distances to study here, they lived together for years before going back,” Bhatkar told IANS.

He said it would be good to explore reviving and developing opportunities with other similar ancient places of learning since “education is all about universalization of the mind”.

The modern day Nalanda University is named after the famed place of learning in ancient India’s Magadha kingdom which flourished between the 7th and 12th centuries.

Discussing his plans for Nalanda University, Bhatkar said he would first like to meet the varsity’s Governing Body and then make his maiden visit to the Rajgir campus in Bihar and understand its accomplishments so far.

“I shall discuss all aspects concerning the university, take stock of the situation and then chart out my future course of action by end-February or early-March,” the 70-year old Chancellor said.

President Pranab Mukherjee, in his capacity as Visitor to Nalanda University, named Bhatkar, a technocrat considered the father of the Indian Supercomputer, as Chancellor of Nalanda University, with effect from January 25, for a three-year term.

An earlier report mistakenly referred to Bhatkar as Vice Chancellor.

Born in Pune on October 11, 1946, Bhatkar was educated at IIT, Delhi, Sir Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology, Nagpur, and MS University, Vadodara.

He is known as the architect of India’s initiative in supercomputing, the Centre of Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in Pune, leading to the development of the first indigenous supercomputer Param 8,000 in 1991, followed by Param 10,000 in 1998.

Bhatkar has also served as member, Scientific Advisory Committee to the Cabinet, and in the Governing Board of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

He has been honoured with Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan.

Established in November 2010 as a Central University, Nalanda University is spread over 443 acres and started offering academic programmes in 2014.