Patna, Sept. 13: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today said recent archaeological evidences indicate that the ancient Nalanda University may have been established in the Before Christ (BC) era, and not fifth century AD as it is believed.
"The excavations at the ancient Nalanda University site involve just a small portion of its expanse," Nitish said. "Excavations conducted by the state archaeology department at Telhara University (in Nalanda district) have revealed that it dated back to before Christ. We believe Telhara must have been a part of Nalanda University. The view that it was established in the fifth century AD is an illusion."
The chief minister was speaking at the 49th national conference on "Immortal Memories: Conservation and Management" organised jointly by the Indian Association for the Study of Conservation of Cultural Property (IASC), New Delhi, and Bihar State Archives here in the state capital.
If the revelations on Nalanda and Telhara are proved correct, it could lead to a rethink of an important section of the history of Bihar and India.
Nitish also lambasted the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for refusing to conduct excavations at Telhara despite several requests from the state and the Centre.
"We had to finally take permission from the ASI to excavate the mound at Telhara," Nitish said. "Its date has already gone back to BC. Now we are again taking permission from the ASI to excavate further."
He accused the ASI of creating obstacles every time the state government seeks permission for excavations. "It seems the ASI feels bad if it doesn't excavate and some new things are discovered in a state," he said.
"Many more things have to come out in the state
because so far excavations here have been just perfunctory. Once things start coming out, people from the world will flock here," the chief minister added.
The chief minister also launched four books at the event: Documentation on Cinema in the Record of Bihar State Archives (three volumes); Documentation of the Record on Earthquake in Bihar, 1934 (three volumes); Speeches of Ramanand Tiwary in Bihar Legislature, and the seventh volume of Bihar Archives.
Cabinet secretariat department principal secretary Brijesh Mehrotra, Bihar State Archives director Vijay Kumar and IASC chairman B.V. Kharbade were present at the event. Vijay said more than 1 crore manuscripts have been digitised in the state so far.
Nitish also spoke on earthquakes, floods and man's meddling with nature.