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Bhagalpur : When World Heritage Day WHD) is celebrated throughout the world mainly to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving various sites that have achieved world heritage status. It’s a chance to inform everyone about the efforts involved to protect and conserve, and just how vulnerable these sites are, unfortunately even no whisper is heard at the half-excavated runies of Vikramshila Buddha Mahavihara, the ancient world University, located some 48 Km east of Bhagalpur district headquarters.
The event is marked globally, and each year there’s a theme – this year it’s sustainable tourism.
A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection. These sites are officially recognized by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, also known as UNESCO. UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.
Noteworthy, Vikramshila once of the pioneer Buddhist Mahavihara which contributed for the survival of Buddhism, especially Lamaism in the word today, yet not included either in UNESCO’s World Heritage site or to the Buddha Circuit. Residents of Bhagalpur although fighting with the two demands for Vikramshila since long.
Established by King Dharma Pala in the 8 th century (750-800 AD), Vikramshila Buddha Mahavihara was instrumental to show the world a new approach not only for best methods of education but also the simplest way of adoption of spiritual practices in the contemporary societies at that time. Buddhism along with literature, philosophy grammar, and Tantric studies were in the curriculum of the varsity.
This varsity was first to introduce the system of convocation to confer the decree to the passing out students. Vajrayana, a sect in Buddhism developed in the lap of this varsity was a landmark event in the history of unity in diversity as it opened doors for all without any caste and creed discrimination besides including Hindu deities in its fold for promoting tolerance and universal brotherhoods. Vikramshila introduced the concept of social reconciliation for the first time in the history of this country just to maintain India’s old value traditions.
‘Lamaism’, a cult in Buddhism which today widely followed by the followers of the school of Buddhism was originated from this varsity. Noted scholar from this world varsity, Acharya Dipankar Srighyan Atish, the most respectable personality hierarchy wise Gautama Buddha and other monks, went to Tibet on the request of the than Tibetan monarch. During his 13 years’ stay there, Dipankar was instrumental in reforming and refining Buddhism. He was instrumental to introduce Lamaism which is being followed at Tibet and other prosperous countries in the world till date.
Not only that, Gautama Buddha during his life time also visited Champa (the ancient name of Bhagalpur) and stayed at many places here. Buddhasan Zheel, a big tank is existing till today located some few kilometer from this place where Buddha stayed and his foot- prints were at the stones of the water tank which subsequently was named after him. Many believed that staying of Gautama Buddha at the place was one of the strong reason of construction Vikramshila World University by the king Dharmapala at that place. Though river Ganga and three hills on other side was very important in the point of security views for the world University.
Not only that modern researchers have claimed that the original birthplace of Dipankar was near Vikramshila and contradicted the earlier claim of Bangladesh as the original birthplace.
Unfortunately, Vikrmashila resurfaced in seventies and it could not have the privilege to project its lost glory before the world. Very few works could be done so far of Vikrmashail in comparison to two other contemporary world Universities, Nalanda and Taxila. Misfortune continues to haunt Vikramshila, it yet not been included in Buddha circuit or to the World Heritage site of UNESCO despite the fact that it still fulfills all the criteria and deserves for a part of Buddha circuit.
President of India, Pranav Mukherjee recently visited the ancient seat of learning on April 3 amid the demands of local people to include it in World Heritage Site and also to Buddha Circuit. Press Club of Eastern Bihar, a body of local scribes also published a souvenir to high light the relevancy of Vikramshila as well for supporting organized efforts for its revival since there is an immense danger of its slipping down the annals of history. It also demanded for staring unfinished excavation works and claimed if it would started, many surprising facts with many history of yesteryear of Vikramshila would come out.
Vikramshila Nagrik Samity, a local body at Kahalgaon also alleged state government’s failure for arranging lands for a proposed central varsity in the name of Vikramshila. Some two year back the union government had announced a central varsity for Vikramshila with Rs 500 crores allocation. “The most pertinent question is how the government particularly Bihar government is serious about this world class heritage ?” is the common question here on every lips.