| French ambassador François Richier admires a sculpture at Patna Museum on Tuesday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Ambassador of France in India François Richier on Tuesday expressed his desire to explore the relation between Bihar and his country in the field of education.
On a visit to the site of the proposed Nalanda University and the old varsity ruins in Rajgir, Richier said: “I am very impressed with the Nalanda University and the heritage site. I look forward to future co-operation in various ways, particularly in the field of education. Bihar has the great potential in that field.”
He added: “I have come here to try and build various bilateral bridges with the fast growing state of Bihar.”
He made his first visit to Bihar to do the groundwork in the academic field. Vice-chancellor Gopa Sabharwal took him on a tour and also gave a presentation on the university.
Sabharwal told The Telegraph over telephone from Rajgir: “The purpose of his visit was to see the model and master plan of the university. Basically, I briefed him on global history, archaeology, art history and conservation. He wants a linkage with the university so that students of France can come and pursue education here. A scholar himself, Richier took keen interest in knowing the history of Nalanda and the university.” She added: “He explored the possibility of French institutions collaborate research links with institutions around the world.”
He also visited the old Nalanda ruins and praised the work of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Bihar government in preserving the heritage site. Before visiting Nalanda, the ambassador also visited Mahabodhi Mahavihara on Monday.
His three-day tour to Bihar is part of a series of travels throughout India to expand the scope of Indo-French co-operation and develop joint, forward-looking projects in various fields, notably economic exchanges, education, science and culture.
After visiting Nalanda, Richier visited Patna Museum and saw the rare collection of historic objects, stone sculptures, bronze, paintings, coins and miscellaneous art objects.
He was very impressed with the sculptures carved out of single piece stones, especially the famous statue of Yakshni. It is considered to be the finest art of the Mauryan period discovered at Didarganj in Patna.
He praised the rare collection and said he was privileged to get the opportunity to see the finest art of the Mauryan era.
“It is a brilliant piece of art and I have never seen such an extraordinary piece of work on stone,” said Richier.
Patna museum director Umesh Chandra Dwivedi briefed him on the rare collection.
On Wednesday, the French ambassador would visit the Sonepur cattle fair and would also interact with the members of chambers of commerce before exchanging views with students of Nati-onal Institute of Technology, Patna.