Here’s why changing names of places is very important

Do you know this place?

This is Nalanda University which was established to emulate the ancient and extremely famous Nalanda.

Let’s get to know a bit about the original University. Nalanda was the oldest and the greatest of all the Universities and was world’s first residential institution. Lord Buddha is the most important and famous figure to have been associated with Nalanda. It housed more than 10,000 students during its peak. It attracted scholars and students from far off places like China, Tibet, Korea et al.

But it no longer exists. It was destroyed and plundered by Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193 CE. He was the military general of Qutb-din-Aybak who was later recognised and rewarded for his destruction caused by his seniors then.

Most of the inhabitants of Nalanda were Brahmans who slained by Bakhtiyar and his troops. Buddhism as a religion had a setback of hundreds of years due to the loss of several texts during that barbarous attack.

What’s unfortunate is that a place in Patna, just an hour away from Nalanda goes by the name Bakhtiyarpur. No prize for guessing that this place is named after the very same person, Bakhtiyar Khilji. During his attack spree, he had also destroyed several of Buddhist monasteries which were present in the now called Bakhtiyarpur.

The person who is responsible for the loss of India’s and Buddhist religion’s one of the greatest pride and cultural heritage is being honored with a city named after him. Wow!

I fail to understand how no action is yet being taken. The city is still called Bakhtiyarpur.

But then when I see people’s reaction to name changes like Allahabad to Prayagraj, I wonder if we Indians ourselves care even a bit about restoring and honoring our rich history and culture.

A bit of research will give enough information why these names have been changed. With examples like Bakhtiyarpur, you’ll realise that there are many many more names which are needed to be changed.

-Shreya Agrawal

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