President Mukherjee bats for full revival of Bihar’s Vikramshila varsity

Like the university of Nalanda, Vikramshila deserved to be revived as a fully functional seat of higher learning, President Pranab Mukherjee said after a visit to the excavated ruins of the varsity.

india Updated: Apr 03, 2017 21:25 IST
Avijit Biswas 
Avijit Biswas 
Hindustan Times, Bhagalpur
Vikramshila varsity,President Mukherjee,Bhagalpur trip
President Pranab Mukerjee at the excavated ruins of the Vikramshila university in Bhagalpur, on Monday. (Niraj/HT photo)

President Pranab Mukherjee, on Monday, justified the popular demand for full restoration of the past glory of the Vikramshila University, once a seat of Buddhist higher learning, along with the universities of Nalanda and Takshila.

Speaking at a civic reception organized in his honour, soon after he had visited the excavated ruins of the university in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district, the President said Vikramshila should not be showcased only as a museum. Rather, it ought to be revived as a functioning university as was Nalanda, he said.

Before signing the visitors’ book at the excavation site, Mukherjee indicated he would broach the subject of Vikramshila’s revival as a university with prime minister Narendra Modi.

In August 2015, the PM had announced a Rs 500 crore package for the Vikramshila university, while the state government was expected to provide around 500 acres of land for the revival of the institution. However, not much progress is known to have been made on the matter since then.

In his address, the President said revival of the past glory of Vikramshila university was a legitimate desire of people. He said like Nalanda, Vikrmashila university had contributed to the spread of knowledge in a very significant way.

“Vikramshila should not be a museum only, it should be developed as a university of the highest standard,” he said.

Stressing the need to augment higher education infrastructure in the country, the President said these seats of learning ought to provide scholastic stimulation to students.

“This is possible only when top class institutions adorn our higher education landscape,” he said.

The President said the resurrection of Vikramshila university would be an important step in preserving the Indian civilisational ethos.

Mukherjee said Vikramshila University should source the best faculty and pursue collaborations with foreign

institutions for research and, at the same time, establish tie-ups with local innovators.

He said monuments and museum of Vikramshila, though in ruins, reflected an era wherein a rich culture of learning flourished.

The institution, one of the two important seats of Buddhist teaching in India during the Pala dynasty rule, was

established by King Dharmapala as a centre of Buddhist and Tantric learning, he said.

Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Godda MP Nishikant Dubey, local MP Shailesh Kumar aka Bulo Mandal and former MP Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, were among those who shared the dais with the President.

Bihar minister Rajiv Ranjan Singh aka, Lalan Singh, assured the President of the Bihar government’s full co-operation in the centra’s effort to revive the Vikramshila university.

During his visit to the excavated site, the President saw the main stupa and also visited the museum on the site. DN Sahay, superintending archaeologist of the Archaeological Survey of India’s Patna Circle, briefed the President on the historical importance of Vikramshila.

Mukherjee was also told about similarities between Somapura Mahavihara in Bangladesh and Vikramshila, both established by Pala rulers.

The President, who arrived at Kahalgaon Sunday evening, also visited Gurudham, an ashram located in Bounsi block of Banka district and interacted with the people there. The ashram is also known as Shyama Charan Laheri Peeth.

First Published: Apr 03, 2017 21:25 IST