While Bakhtiyarpur residents have many ideas about re-naming the old city, ‘Magadh Dwar’ (The Gateway of Magadh) is a common suggestion
The people of Bakhtiyarpur have no consensus on the new name of their city. On asking, “What can be the new name?” there were many answers. Some people suggested naming the town as Nagarjuna Nagar. According to the people, Nagarjuna was one of the illustrious teachers who taught at the Nalanda University before its destruction. Some also advocated naming the city and station as Sheelbhadra Yajee Nagar. Sheelbhadra Yajee was a freedom fighter and also a resident of Bakhtiyarpur. It is said that he was a close companion of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose who had suffered a lot of pain under the British rule during the fight for the Independence. Even Lalu was in favour of this name when he pitched to rename Bakhtiyarpur.
Ruins of Nalanda University. Khilji ransacked and burnt the Nalanda Vishwavidyalaya
But the name which was suggested by most of the people was ‘Magadh Dwar’. Asst Professor Suresh Dwivedi, a resident of Bakhtiyarpur who teaches at Nunuwati Jagdeo Singh Mahavidyalaya argues that this is the most suitable time to change the name of the place. How can you name a place in the name of a murderer? We use the historical names of the cities, not the ones that were given by invaders and killers. This is pathetic. As an independent Rashtra, we should take pride in our culture. The government should look into the matter and address the grievances of the ordinary people who belong to this land.
“It is also true that some political parties do not want to change it, but if the decision is to be taken to rename it by looking at the sentiments of the people, it will be good”, he stated.
Map depicting change of names of the cities
Renaming of a city is not something new. It has happened so many times in Bharat and right through the ages. 32 years old Ramnaresh Jha, a traveller who was at Bakhtiyarpur station to catch a train, when asked about his opinion on renaming a place, said “Neither, is this for the first time people are demanding to rename a place nor it is new for a government to do it. For decades this process is going on. Even during the British times, they had changed the name of cities and places, as they found it difficult to pronounce cities names derived from Sanskrit word. So they renamed many according to their convenience”.
For decolonising minds, the spaces and places are to be decolonised. We have seen a major development with Prayagraj getting the original name
He later said, “Even the political parties who see this as an act of appeasement should not forget that under their rule also the names were changed.”
Instead of doing vote-bank politics over this sensitive issue, eradicating the scarce of colonial past is the real issue. For decolonising minds, the spaces and places are to be decolonised. We have seen a major development with Prayagraj getting the original name. As per the aspirations of the people, Bakhtiyarpur can be next in line, may be with the name of ‘Magadh Dwar’.