This town and railway station of Bihar are named after Ikhtiyar al-Dīn Muhammad Bakhtiyar Khalji who is remembered in history for setting the then famous Nalanda University and its library on fire and killing in cold blood many Buddhist monks, destroying precious documented knowledge of ancient India and writing his own bloodied chapter in the history of the nation
New Delhi: As Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh will turn back in history and once again be known as Prayagraj, there is a growing clamour in other states too to follow the move up and set the nation's history right. Now, Union minister of state (MoS) and BJP MP from Nawada in Bihar, Giriraj Singh, often in news for jingoistic statements, has called for the renaming of Bakhtiyarpur town in Patna district. There is also a railway junction there that goes by the same name.
While the demand met with sharp criticism from both Lalu Yadav-led RJD and coalition partner Nitish Kumar-led JD(U), the demand in itself is not anathematic to history. Bakhtiyar Khalji (also known as Khilji), after whom the town was named, had burnt down the Nalanda University including some nine million manuscripts, apart from turning out the monks and scholars.
“India is a free country today. We are not slaves of the Mughal or the British. Why should we keep names associated with them? Do people of Bihar not know that Khalji looted the state yet Bakhtiarpur is named after him. Names of around 100 places were changed, including Bihar's Akbarpur,” the minister for micro, small, and medium industries said.
Lauding Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, Singh said, “Yogi ji took a good step. I will demand that names associated with Mughals should be changed in the entire country including in Bihar.” Of course, the Khaljis preceded the advent of Mughal rule in India by a few centuries.
Nalanda, the second most ancient university of India after Taxila (aka Takshashila), flourished from the fifth century to 1193 AD, the year of the Turkish invasion. It was such a famed varsity across the world back then that it attracted scholars from far and wide, such as Tibet, China, Greece and Persia.
The university building burnt for almost three months after Khalji set it afire, destroying volumes of recorded history and wisdom of ancient India.
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Last Updated Oct 22, 2018, 6:22 PM IST