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Parvati Soren, a third year student ran on the stretch of 9km in a record time not just to win the race but for the cause of the marathon ‘ run for the survival of Champa’ which she participated this morning.
Over more than 600 young boys and girls along with people from different fields in this historic silk city participated in the ‘run for revival of Champa’- as a part of awareness drive for saving river Champa. Champa, a tributary of Ganga which is also the only living evidence of the kingdom of Anga Pradesh, Champa (modern Bhagalpur), once ranked 4 th among the 16 oldest Mahajanapadas in India sometimes back in 6 th century AD.
The run was conducted by a Bhagalpur based NGO, Peepal -The Resilience Lab and the runners mostly youths but people from different walks of lives including senior citizens covered the distance of 9 km while running from Sandis compound ground to the bank of river Chamap, at Champanagar, a locality outskirt of this city for spreading awareness for saving the existence of Champa river better called Jamunia river.
Chief guest in the function, Vikash Vaibhav, deputy inspector of police, Bhagalpur police range while addressing the participants after conclusion of the run at river bank, underlined the historic significances of Champa, the erstwhile kingdom of Anga Pradesh. “ Gautam Buddha also spent Varshbash (spending three consecutive rainy seasons) at Champa as history mentioned. It was an oldest city prominent among the 16 oldest Mahajanapadas in the country. We only have this river which is the living evidence till now but it’s very unfortunate that major parts of this river has been encroached by garbage and other items. We should be careful to our such heritages and should take measures for it’s survival,” he urged the audiences.
Senior superintendent of police, Manoj Kumar in his brief address highlighted the significances and the erstwhile kingdom of Anga Pradesh and made the new generation cautious about rapid declination of Champa river. He pointed out how this only living existence today almost lost its existence and even people started calling it Champa Nala (drain). “We should take initiative for save this living history of this region,” he appealed.
Prizes also distributed by the guests after the conclusion of the marathon. Preety Soren and Vivek Kumar won the first prize of Rs 5 thousand each in boys and girls category of 9 km’s marathon of this morning. Besides winners in other categories also given prizes.
Rani Sahay, founder of the NGO said that the main aim of the run was create awareness for saving the river as garbage and others objects have giving potent threat to the existence of the river. “Only during floods times, water from Ganga entered in it and remaining part of the year, it gets dry,” she pointed out. According to her organization which has been working on cleanness drive, also initiated awareness drive for cleanness.
According to her Bhagalpur municipal corporation (BMC) earlier used to dump garbage on the banks of the river but as per strategy to check such things, Peepal already managed to involved BMC in its mission so that the river could be saved.
Rajendar Singh, a historians-cum-social activist who also wrote several books on the history of Champa acclaimed the step taken by Peepal for creating awareness drive among people here. “In my knowledge, it’s for the first instance that a NGO come forward for a great cause of Champa,” he said.
Other archaeologist’s and historians here welcomed such initiative for making people aware about such historical heritages. Prof. Raman Sinha and Prof. Behari Lal Choudhary, two senior teachers in the faculty of history in Tilka Manjhi Bhagalpur University (TMBU) also welcome such move and said awareness among the local denizens would help to save the river for being polluted. They however put emphasis on how to bring this ancient old place in the tourist map of India. “We recently visited some parts of ancient Champa and collected evidences. The place should immediately be protected and intensive excavation would be highly required to trace out the ancient city from the areas,” the duo said.
Arabinda Singha Roy, a teacher in the faculty of archaeology in Ranchi University who recently conducted a detail research works for the directorate of archaeology, Bihar said in order to explore cultural materials properly as well as to reconstruct the history and archaeology of Bhagalpur thoroughly, the directorate of archaeology , Bihar has taken an initiative to survey through out the areas properly. “ The detail report already sent to archaeological survey of India’s headquarter at New Delhi,” he told. But Singha Roy has strengthened the immediate need of acquiring the parts of Champanagar areas and declaring it as protected land for excavation to dig out ancient Chamap below the earth.
According to him the people are well aware about Champanagar, their sympathy and believes are always with this ancient capital of Anga, apart of this ancient town which is presently known as Karnagarh. He said several Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain literatures are mentioned about this ancient township. “Based on the descriptions of the chines travelers, Cunningham identified this ancient town. After Independence many of our eminent archaeologists have worked to unfold the history of the ancient capital of Anga. After the12 years of excavations B.P.Sinha brought some light on it,” he recalled.
“Though it is beyond any doubt that after excavation the whole area one can postulated a little idea about the structure of the township. And after B.P.Sinha, no one could not be taken any initiative to unearth this ancient capital,” he added.
He however claimed after a long time, his team, worked hard to reveal at least the area of the ancient Champanagar. “After an extensive survey and based on the collected cultural remains we prepared a map plotting the area of the mounds, ditches, mud walls, mud towers with the help of ARC-GIS,LANDSAT-IMAGES of ISRO and Geological Department of America, and DEMS. We Used GPS to traced the length and breath of the mounds, walls and ditches,” he mentioned with the map designed for Champa.