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Vikramshila Mahavihara

Center wakes up from slumber; sending high- level team for central varsity at Vikramshila


January 24th, 2022

By our Bureau

Nearly after more than six year after prime minister, Narendra Modi had announced a central University at Bhagalpur for reviving the glory of ancient knowledge hub, Vikramshila world University, central government apparently in a mood to initiate for the proposed varsity.

A high-level team from union education ministry is scheduled to visit Bhagalpur on coming January 28 to inspect the 200-acre site demarked by Bihar government for the proposed central varsity. The team consists of senior faculty members from reputed varsities in the country, top ranking bureaucrats and technocrats would visit the site of the proposed central varsity near the half-excavated ruins of the ancient seat of learning, Vikramshila Mahavihara.

Ruins of Vikramshila.

On August 18, 2015, Modi in the run-up to assembly polls in Bihar had announced a package in his public rally. He said that his government has initiated for reviving the lost glory of Vikramshila Mahavihara and the proposed central varsity near the site of ancient Vikramshila would fulfill such desire of his government. Vikramshile contemporary to Nalanda and Taxila, another two Buddhist world varsities, towered tall in the world for its excellency in educational, religious and other philanthropical activities during the Pala dynasty in India.

After the formal announcement by Modi, the then union human resource development ministry had written to the Bihar government to suggest a possible site. Bihar chief minister, Nitish Kumar who is alleged for his negative role in suppressing the developmental issues related to Vikramshila, initially rejected the urge of the center for 500-acre of land. He even started criticizing such huge requirement of land for a proposed central varsity in his public rallies. However, the state government after spending four years, managed some land of 200-acre land near Vikramshila site falling under Kahalgaon sub-division in Bhagalpur district. Another two year has spent for awaking up the Center from its slumber. The Center finally woke up and ready to send the high-level team at Bhagalpur for approving the site of the proposed central varsity.

Bihar which already has three central varsities, would have another varsity soon as claimed by the sources from the union education ministry.  A senior team member on condition of anonymity lambasted the indifferent attitude of the government concerned. “There are several examples of opening of central varsities in different parts of this country within one-two year of announcement but the case of Vikramshila is a classic instance of governmental apathy,” he alleged.

The central monastery at Vikramshila

“Places mostly like Delhi is overcrowded by the students mostly from states like Bihar who came here for their enrolments in higher studies. Why such delay was created, is a matter of investigation. Even now no one could ascertain when this proposed central varsity would start functioning?” he pointed out.

The sources from the union education ministry revealed that the team would check the basic points like connectivity, facility for the faculty as well as students and the topographical condition of the land. “After the site is finalized , the central government would have to pass a bill in the upper house to establish the proposed central varsity at Vikramshila,” the source pointed out.

Unfortunately, Bhagalpur presently has no air connectivity and even the half-excavated site of Vikramshila has become isolated, as there is not even proper road connectivity to Vikramshila from Bhagalpur or from any nearby towns. “Vikramshila which was the workplace of Dipankar Sree Ghyan Atisa, always remains a popular tourist destination. Large number of religious tourists even from abroad round the year pay their visit at Vikramshila but they have to face tremendous problems mostly due to non-availability of even basic tourist facility,” alleged N K Jaisawala, the convener of Vikramshila Nagrik Samity, a body fighting for the cause of the ancient world varsity.

“The indifferent attitude of the Bihar government towards Vikramshila has so far doomed the prospect of the place as well as demolished many opportunities including revenue generating opportunity. It’s a matter of regret  that the government even failed to include this world class heritage site either in Buddhist circuit or in UNESCO’s world heritage site. After the former firebrand leader Late Bhagwat Jha Azad, there was not a single competent public representative from this region to highlight the issues related to revival of Vikramshila,” said Pawan Kumar Singh, a teacher at Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University.

Half-excavated Vikramshila.

When asked how such mismanagements crated by Bihar government ins and around Vikramshila would hamper the effectiveness of the high level team, the sources apprehended the worst possibility. “The team would inspect the basic facilities available at the site before giving the green signal for starting works for setting up the central varsity. But I don’t know how far such negativities would make the team members frustrated?” a high ranking official at union education ministry who didn’t want to be quoted said.

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