Cambridge University has received Pounds 1 million from an Indian billionaire businessman to establish the first research institute in Europe dedicated to the study of India's religio-cultural and scientific traditions.
The Dharam Hinduja Institute of Indic Research -- which opens in January -- is being funded by Srichand Hinduja. Similar Hinduja-financed research institutes have been established in Delhi and New York.
Based in the divinity faculty's centre for advanced religious and theological studies, the Cambridge institute will study the Vedic tradition, which dates back 3,500 years, and its relevance in the modern world.
The Vedas are the canonical scriptures of Hinduism. They gave rise to a tradition of religious, philosophical, scientific and medical reflection and commentary.
Julius Lipner, lecturer in Indian and the comparative study of religion, who has been appointed the first director of the institute, said the scope of the research will be broad. Gandhi's work will be examined, particularly his idea of non-violent protest, as well as issues such as the just war, alternative and complementary medicine, and the science of yoga.
Mr Hinduja said: "The purpose of the institute is not only to research the ancient Vedic traditons, but to find ways to make this rich treasury of philosophical, scientific and practical wisdom relevant to the daily lives and problems of mankind."
The Hinduja connection with Cambridge began in 1991, when the Hinduja Foundation set up the Hinduja Cambridge Trust with a Pounds 2 million endowment to promote education and research for Indian students at the university.