While the memory of the ancient Nalanda University has often been invoked in recent years as a symbol of educational excellence and pan-Asian unity, particularly with reference to the creation of a new international university in Bihar, India, these discourses often overlook and erase the significance of Nava Nalanda Mahviahra that was created in India's postindependence period as an institute devoted to the study of Buddhist texts and languages near the archeological site of the ancient university. This article looks at the Indian Buddhist scholar Jagdish Kashyap and his role in creating the state-sponsored institute, the symbolism of cultural revival it represented, and the excitement it generated in international Buddhism, attracting monks and lay students from around the Buddhist world. The article also discusses the institute's links to China and its sensitive relation to the dynamics of the Cold War in the 1950s and ’60s. It then discusses how these two Nalanda insitutions speak to issues of heritage diplomacy and the politics of revival in contemporary India and beyond.

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