The Vision statement of the University says: “It (Nalanda University) must be adapted to the rhythm of Nature where it is located and enrich the lives of the people in the neighbourhood.” The University is therefore committed to engaging with its neighbourhood.
The ancient Nalanda University was supported by its neighbouring villages and had very close ties with them. The new Nalanda aspires to carry this tradition forward.
Currently the University is connecting with the neighbouring community by sourcing its linen from the weavers of Nepura and Baswan Bigha. The two villages are famous for their weaves of Bawan Buti (52 motifs) handloom silk sarees. The University also sources its food from local farms.
Our students are also learning about farm techniques from the villages around the campus.
The outreach plans in future include sharing latest agricultural technologies with local farmers from the research carried out on University farms, collection of biomass from nearby villages to generate energy and creating programmes that connect local weavers and farmers to the world.
The University also has close ties with educational and other organisations in Rajgir including Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya and Veerayatan.
The village is located about 12 km from Rajgir. It is said that of the three Mango Groves of the ancient Nalanda University,
one of the Groves was situated here. Apart from its historic significance, the Village is also known for its Tussar Silk weavers. Of the 250 families of the village, 50 are weavers. Pit loom weaving and thigh reeling is still prevalent here.
Visitors to the village can see the silk production and weaving in action. The weavers of Nepura are frequently invited to display and sell their products to visitors at the University. The University also sources its gifts like stoles and scarves from the Nepura weavers.
Nepura is also being developed as a tourist village by the Government of Bihar.
Basawan Bigha Village
Basawan Bigha is famous for its cotton weaves. The weavers of this village had made curtains and supplied fabric to Rashtrapati Bhawan for the first president of India Dr Rajendra Prasad. The weavers still refer to those designs as Rashtrapati Bhawan designs.
In 2009 Delhi-based Asian Heritage Foundation, aided by the World Bank, and Japan Development Social Fund gave the weaves of Basawan Bigha an international makeover.
Designer Rajeev Sethi Chairman of the Asian Heritage Foundation led the effort of reviving hand spinning traditions. Project Consultant, Designer Rita Kapur Chishti and Project Designers Pradeep Pillai and Hitesh Rawat worked with the weavers of Basawan Bigha to prepare new designs.
Even though the project got over in 2012, one of the Designers, Pradeep Pillai still continues to work with the weavers here.
Pillai has helped in transferring the logo of the University into weave vocabulary and enabled the weavers to supply curtains for the University with the logo.
The University is also engaged with other villages where mushroom farming has been introduced such as Sarilchak and where SRI cultivation and rice and organic farming are being undertaken