The Telegraph
Monday , June 9 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

MPs chalk out plans to get tag for Vikramshila

- Long-pending demand for inclusion of ancient seat of learning in the Buddhist circuit gets a push

Newly elected MPs Ashwini Kumar Choubey and Nishikant Dubey of Godda, Jharkhand, have vowed to work to include the Vikramshila Mahavihara in the Buddhist circuit.

The inclusion of the ancient seat of learning in the circuit has been an old demand of the residents here. According to sources, the defeat of the BJPs Syed Shahnawaz Hussain and RJD’s Bulo Mandal victory had cast a cloud over the welfare of Vikramshila.

Many residents feel that Mandal will not be as vocal as Shahnawaz and would not be able to place their demands regarding Vikramshila on the floor of Parliament.

Choubey, who represented the Bhagalpur seat over 19 years in the Assembly and won from Buxar in the Lok Sabha polls, visited Bhagalpur and said he would continue his fight to include Vikramshila in the Buddhist circuit. He has been fighting for the cause since 2005.

“Nitish Kumar’s political ego came in the way of not including Vikramshila in the Buddhist circuit,” Choubey said.

He added: “It was a conspiracy. Buddhism spread across the world owing to efforts by the Vikramshila Mahavihara and its renowned scholar Atish Dipankar Srigyan. But this ancient seat of learning is yet to be attached to the Buddhist circuit. It would have paved the way for development in Bhagalpur.”

In March 2013, Atish Dipankar Welfare Foundation, an organisation working under the International Rabten Institute, laid a foundation stone for a Buddhist stupa and a 40-room monastery near the half-excavated site of Vikramshila at Malakhpur. Choubey had played an important role in the process.

Choubey said he would soon call on the Prime Minister and the Union tourism minister and provide them documents in support of the inclusion of Vikramshila in the circuit.

“I believe our government led by Narendra Modi at the Centre would help us. Even though I have become the MP from Buxar, I would continue my fight for Vikramshila,” he added.

Nishikant Dubey, another BJP MP from Godda in Jharkhand, has already approached President Pranab Mukherjee for a trip to Vikramshila and other neighbouring places of religious and historical impotence. “Soon after winning the Godda seat, me and my wife called on the President and invited him to Vikramshila and other places. He accepted my invitation. He hopes to come down either in September or October,” Dubey said.

Dubey, who has been active in raising his voice for the cause of Vikramshila, said the President’s proposed visit would certainly help to include Vikramshila in the Buddhist circuit.

Residents are excited over the MPs efforts. “We hope Choubey’s and Dubey’s efforts would be fruitful and they would be able to convince the BJP leadership of our long demand,” said N.K. Jaishwal, the president of Vikramshila Nagarik Manch, a voluntary body here fighting for Vikramshila.