AGARTALA, JANUARY 6: The International Buddhist Confederation is hoping to set up a Buddhist university in Tripura shortly to attract students from South East Asian countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, International Buddhist Confederation Secretary General Dhammapiya Sunday said that a delegation from the Buddhist community met Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb last week to discuss the proposal.
“I along with few other members of the Buddhist community met Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb at his office in Tripura secretariat last week. He was very positive and encouraging about the proposal. We have requested the state Government to legislate a university act after which we shall take it up with the Central Government for formal consent”, the supreme Buddhist leader said.
Dhammapiya founded Dhamma Dipa (Buddhist) Foundation at Manubankul in South Tripura district, 130 Km from Agartala several years back. He was unanimously selected secretary general of the International Buddhist Confederation – an international body of Buddhist world leaders in December 2017 at New Delhi.
He said there are a lot of students interested in studying Buddhist culture in South East Asian studies but academic institutions set up so far have failed to sufficiently attract them.
He also said such a university can work perfectly if set up in Northeast India since the region shares cultural affinity with adjoining South East Asian nations.
“In NE India, we have cultural affinity with these countries. People from those countries have been requesting us to have a Buddhist educational institution in India with well infrastructure. We are considering to build it in NE, especially in Tripura since we are culturally closer here”, Dhammapiya said.
Preliminary estimates say around Rs 100 crores might be spent for the project. The entire expenditure would be borne by the Buddhist community. “We hope to have top planners from Malaysia to do the planning for this institute. So, final expenditure is yet to be estimated. We shall request our Buddhist high community to bear the expenses”, he said.
The university, if built, would offer Buddhist education along with courses in other disciplines of modern education as well.
On BJP-led state Government’s approach towards Buddhism in Tripura, Dhammapiya said, “They are positive. Buddhists have our roots in Indian culture. It is part of the Indian philosophical system. We have seen the new state Government has shown positive and encouraging approach towards Buddhism so far”.
Sabroom MLA Shankar Roy, who joined the Buddhist leaders during discussion with the CM, said such a university would help in gaining greater cultural exchange and tourism in Tripura.