Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi

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Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies


Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies

The Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, Banaras Hindu University is one of the pioneering departments in the field of Buddhism in India. Teaching of Pali in Banaras Hindu University was started in 1940 in the Department of Sanskrit with the effort of Bhikkhu Jagdish Kashyap, a pioneer of the revival of Buddhism in India. Bhikkhu Kashyap came in touch with Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya ji and S. Radhakrishnan through the good offices of Seth Yugal Kishore Birla, the well known philanthropist of India. Birla ji felt the disappearance of Buddhism from the land of its origin as a great loss of the national heritage. He took interest to support the teaching of Pali in the university and also took the financial responsibility. Bhikkhu Kashyap offered his free service to teach Pali in the Sanskrit Department of the university. For this commitment he used to come from Sarnath to the university campus (17 km.) daily one way by cycle rikshaw and one way on walk. Birla ji noted his painstaking journey and made a cottage for him in the university campus, which is known as Buddha Kutir, and it was earmarked only for the teacher of Pali in future.

Bhikkhu J. Kashyap worked for nine years here in the Department of Sanskrit and taught all the papers for the graduate course in the subject of Pali. He tried his best to introduce Pali and Buddhism for M.A. and Ph.D. Degree and offered to teach all the papers single handed, if the university failed to recruit an additional hand. Bhikkhu Kashyap wanted to revive the glory of ancient Nalanda Mahavihara. He decided to leave Varanasi in 1949.

In 1952, Acharya Narendra Dev became the Vice Chancellor of BHU. As he was a well-known scholar of Buddhism, he took a personal interest in developing the Buddhist studies in the university by adding a new post of Lecturer. Dr. P.S. Jaini was appointed for the first time as a permanent lecturer to teach Pali and emerged as a famous scholar of Buddhist studies. He was invited to join the school of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and finally he left the department.

Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies
Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh


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