AMU faculty member speaks on Medieval Bihar in History Congress
Aligarh : Prof Hassan Imam, faculty member, Centre of Advanced Study, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and Director, AMU Kishanganj Centre, duscussed Bihar’s history in a lecture for history researchers and experts.
He was speaking on ‘Various Aspects of Medieval Bihar’ in the presidential address at the ‘Xth Bihar Itihas Parishad (Bihar History Congress)’ in Bhagalpur.
Prof Hassan unraveled significant yet hitherto neglected aspects of history, culture and religion of Bihar and delved into the early historic urbanisation and social history of religious institutions in early medieval Bihar.
He spoke about the history of monasticism in early medieval Bihar; the integration of local deities into the institutional fabric of Buddhism and the survival of Buddhism in the 13th and the 14th centuries.
“Bihar, from the very beginning contributed much to the Indian culture and world civilization and to the rise and growth of religious and political ideas and institutions from ancient times”, stressed Prof Hassan pointing out that Bihar has been the birthplace of Buddhism and Jainism, religions that preached the message of love, non-violence and communal harmony.
He said, “Let us also not forget that Bihar is important for the Sikh community too, as Guru Govind Singh, the tenth Guru was born in this Indian state”.
“Bihar was equally important in cultural and political fields. The state boasts of historical Vikramshila and Nalanda Universities. The Vikramshila was among the most important centres of Buddhist learning in ancient India and its remains in the Antichak village in the Kahalgaon sub-division of Bhagalpur district are now undergoing conservation”, added Prof Hassan.
He further said: “It was from Bihar that Chandra Gupta started unifying the country under the Mauryan Empire and centuries later it was in this state that Sharfuddin Ahmad Yaha Maneri and Daulat Shah were spreading the message of love and communal harmony.
Prof Hassan also discussed the Sher Shah’s administration and emphasised that there is paucity of source materials in Mithila Archives of the Maharaja of Mithila for researchers interested in the socio- political history of Medieval Bihar.
He explained how a new era of cultural assimilation began with the Mathili society in Bihar. “There are a number of features of Mathili society that show complete fusion of Maithili and Muslim culture in medieval Bihar”, said Prof Hassan.
In the lecture, Prof Hassan also paid tributes to historians and scholars such as Hassan Ashkari, Qeyamuddin Ahmad, Jata Shankar Jha, KK Dutta, R S Sharma, Radhakrishna Chaudhary and others for their immense contribution to Bihar’s history.