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University of Delhi to Establish Centre for Advanced Studies in Buddhism


India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs has approved a plan by the University of Delhi to establish a Centre for Advanced Studies in Buddhism. The proposed center is aimed at enhancing the ability of India’s higher education system to understand and preserve Buddhist culture and history. The cost for the center has been estimated at 350 million rupees (US$4.2 million).

According to a statement from India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs, “The university will collaborate with the subject matter expertise and develop curriculum guidelines and course materials for all required courses including certificate courses, diploma courses, and PhD programs in Buddhist studies, tailored to meet the needs and interests of minority students.” (

The Times of India newspaper reported that students from India had increasingly found a home in higher education institutions in the United States, notably Columbia University and Duke University. The program in Delhi will be aimed at promoting academic collaboration, research, the preservation of languages, translation of ancient texts, and the development of skills for the country’s Buddhist population.

The move came in response to increased demand for Buddhist studies courses in the country, according to a university official quotes by The Times of India. The University of Delhi also plans to introduce a program focused on the science of happiness in five of its women’s colleges.

“Happiness is most important in life,” said vice chancellor Yogesh Singh. “Understanding the idea and need for the science of happiness, DU has decided to include the course on Science of Happiness in the curriculum of the programs running in its departments and colleges.” (News 18)


The move comes as part of a larger Indian government plan to promote Buddhism across the country. The government is planning additional programs, in particular in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and in the Union Territory of Ladakh, with the objective of secularizing and standardizing education to ensure that people can receive a modern education, preparing them for the demands of the future economy.

India is a predominantly Hindu country, with some 79.8 per cent of the population adhering to Hinduism, according to 2011 census data.* Islam is the second-largest religion in India, representing 14.2 per cent of the population. Christianity is the third-largest religion, with some 2.3 per cent of the country’s populous. Sikhism is fourth, at 1.7 per cent. Buddhism is India’s fifth-largest religion, making up just 0.7 per cent of the population. The state of Maharashtra has the highest number of Buddhists, largely due to the conversion efforts of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and his followers. Other areas with large concentrations of Buddhists include the Union Territory of Ladakh and the state of Sikkim, both inhabited by many Tibetan Buddhists, and the Chakma autonomous region on the border with Myanmar, where more than 90 per cent of the people practice Theravada Buddhism.

* A census planned for 2021 was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was rescheduled for 2022 but delayed again and then for 2023. In 2023, administrative boundaries were frozen but the census did not take place. It is currently scheduled for late 2024.

See more

Delhi University Gets Minority Affairs Ministry’s Approval For Setting Up Centre For Advanced Studies In Buddhist Studies (
Minority Affairs Ministry Approves DU’s Proposal To Establish Centre for Advanced Studies in Buddhism (News 18)
DU centre on Buddhist studies gets central nod (The Times of India)
DU approved for ‘Advanced Studies in Buddhism’ by Minority Affairs Ministry (India Today)

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