With a deplorable reputation in higher education -- where delayed academic sessions and erratic quality of teaching, has resulted in an exodus of students to other states -- the founders of the university come with enormous baggage from the past.
Still the state government is sufficiently upbeat and hopes the university will give Bihar a brand.
"There are a lot of things happening in Bihar's universities," says Dr Jha, "like restoring academic activities and the academic calendar of old universities that have acquired bad names. We are trying to offload that baggage."
The senior IAS officer, who is also Bihar's education secretary, packs it with a crisp, candid explanation:
"We have said if we are bad, we are not going to run this university. We will allow others to run it. The Bihar government will be a facilitator -- means we are acquiring land, we are making a law, which has sufficient mechanism to have representation from international donors, and to bring the university to such a situation where it is not even dependent on Bihar for money."
The university will be an autonomous institution and will not be run by the Bihar government. But the state will try to find the first visitor, the first vice-chancellor and constitute a core that will become autonomous.
"It will then withdraw completely," adds Dr Jha, "and the university will run as a community with a structure of the court and governing body which is given in the law."
Image: The ancient Nalanda University had eight separate compounds and ten temples. It had lakes and parks. The site still has beautiful gardens.
Also see: Nalanda: Huan Tsang memorial hall inaugurated