Padma for Singapore ex-minister with Nalanda connect

Padma for Singapore ex-minister with Nalanda connect

Former Singapore foreign minister George Yong-Boon Yeo - named for a Padma Bhushan award Wednesday - is helping set up an international university in Bihar's Nalanda.

The Nalanda Mentor Group, headed by Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, held a meeting last year in Patna to discuss the progress of setting up an international university at the ancient seat of learning. The meeting was attended by George Yeo, Lord Meghnad Desai, Sugata Bose of Harvard University and others.

The excavated site of the ancient university at Nalanda is a place of national importance. A fifth century architectural marvel, the university then was home to over 10,000 students and nearly 2,000 teachers. Named after the Sanskrit term for 'giver of knowledge', the ancient varsity, which existed until 1197 AD, attracted students and scholars from Korea, Japan, China, Tibet, Indonesia, Persia and Turkey, besides being a seat of higher education in India.

That is not George Yeo's only India connect. A blog says that George Yeo "requested that the National Heritage Board restore (a) memorial to Subhas Chandra Bose, who is celebrated in India as a nationalist and independence fighter".

Singapore's National Heritage Board has marked the site of the INA Memorial, the foundation stone of which was laid by Bose in July 1945 and subsequently destroyed by Lord Louis Mountbatten who was then the head of the Southeast Asia Command.

Besides George Yeo, another Singaporean finds mention in the prestigious Padma list tnis year. Gopinath Pillai is slated to get the Padma Shri in the trade and industry category.