“Silent Pages, Sonorous Thoughts”: The account of an IITian IPS who has an Exceptional Love for History.
The most celebrated English author George Orwell, has marvellously noted in his Magnum Opus ‘1984’ that, “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” Today, in an age of diminishing sense of history, where the people are exponentially losing their interests in the pride of their past or it’s better to say the interests which they never develop or the pride in which they never take the interests, Orwell’s statement appears to be a prophetic premonition for the upcoming danger of loss to our cultural and civilizational values. It is simply undeniable that a Country’s civilizational values, are the monolithic pillars upon which a nation’s Conscience rests and undoubtedly if one’s Conscience gets damaged, nothing valuable remains within. In such a grim and miserable state of affairs when our historical sense is rapidly dwindling, Vikas Vaibhav, an IPS officer of 2003 batch Bihar-Cadre, has been doing a phenomenal and an inspiring job, not just only in his profession, but also in protecting and preserving our sense of history, the pride of our past, the beauty of our cultural and civilizational values and everything for which this great civilization stands for.
He runs a popular blog named “Silent Pages” where he explores lesser known stories from the History of India. He keeps visiting several historical places and shares accounts of his travels and write stories related to the places he visits, full of interesting and exciting Information. He also shares photographs of the historical sites which he explores on his blog and Facebook profile. His art of photography is so exquisite that the pictured monuments and other entities appear to have a life within them. He has disclosed his intention to compile all his stories in the form of a book in future. He has been writing on his blog “Silent Pages” since March 2013 and more and more people are connecting to his blog on daily basis. The officer, who has served as Senior SP of Patna twice, is currently serving as Additional Inspector General (Training) at the State Police Headquarters in Patna, Bihar.
Born on November 21, 1979, in a village named Bihat under the present Begusarai district of Bihar, Vikas Vaibhav, completed his graduation in Mechanical Engineering from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, which he describes as one of the most learning phases of his life on his LinkedIn profile.
The officer claims that his quest for the history started in the summer of 1998 when he was completely free for three months and had the opportunity to do whatever he wanted to do and during this leisure-period only, he decided to delve deep into the history, but also if his LinkedIn profile is to be believed, his life has been full of journeys since his very days of schooling, and those journeys continue unabated even today. He studied class first in Kendriya Vidyalaya Guwahati from 1985 to 1986. From class second to eighth, he studied in St. Paul’s School, Barauni Refinery Township from 1986-1993. Then, he got admitted in Kendriya Vidyalaya Bairagarh, Bhopal, in class ninth during1993-94 and finally completed class 10th from Kendriya Vidyalaya Noida during 1994-95. This, at a first glance, depicts that the journeys has been an integral part of his life since his childhood itself.
He writes in one of his Facebook posts dated 2nd September 2016 about how he developed an interest in the history. He writes under the title, “The Summer of 1998 and my Quest with History” in the following words:
“I always remember the Summer Vacations of 1998 (May to July), when at the end of my first year of studies at IIT Kanpur, perhaps for the first time, I was fully free for 3 months to actually do whatever I wanted to. Earlier, I had been burdened with studying for either the board examinations or the IITJEE in all seasons of the year. This summer, I chose to delve deep into the texts of History. The first book I chose to read was on the Buddha – ‘The Light of Asia’. It was soon followed by other books on Ancient India. As I made relaxed readings and started thinking over them in the summers, I became very impressed with the legendary and magnificent personality of the Buddha. I found the dilemmas he faced as some which every human being could easily identify with. Today while scrolling through my old collections, I came across this watercolour I had once composed in 1998, during that very summer. It immediately took me back to those days of student life, when my passion about History had begun to take shape into serious readings. What had started in 1998 with reference texts like A L Basham’s ‘The Wonder that was India’ and Vincent Smith’s ‘The History of India’ soon advanced into more serious reading. From the next summers, I had started reading the original texts, which were available in the IIT Library. My quest with History continues unabated since and I finally started documenting my experiences for posterity at Silent Pages in March, 2013. The Passion about History will soon acquire the shape of a Series of books on different themes and destinations of Indian History, mainly focusing on the Lesser Turned Pages!”
He has written numerous detailed accounts of multiple historical sites including the University of Vikrsmshila, accompanied with the beautiful photographs of this historical centre of education, Pandav Sthan (Panr), The Story of Rohtasgarh Fort, The Mystery of Sikligarh, Padmavati: The lost Indian City, The Mysterious Kaimur Hills, The Antiquarian Remains at Maner, Patna (Bihar), The Remains of Satanwada, Shivpuri (Madhya Pradesh), The Ruins of Tilkeshwar Sthana Temple, Darbhanga (Bihar), The Lost “Sun Temple of Mulasthana”, The Remains of Ancient Vaishali, The Ancient Caves of Rajagriha, Konch, The “Rediscovery” of Bodhgaya, Kurkihar, Mundeshwari, Lauriya Nandangarh, Champaran (Bihar), Deo Markandey, The Caves of Barabar, Kauwa-Dol, Visit to Narwar Fort and many more. In one his interviews to DNA, this exceptionally bright and extremely disciplined officer opines that, “Heritage consciousness in India, especially in Bihar is very low. We see things in front of us, but do not recognize its value, let alone do something about it. My policing job took me to some of the most historical places in Bihar. And, I always thought of somehow inculcating among people the love for their heritage.” In the same interview, on being asked about why he did name his blog “Silent Pages” he responds, “I chose the name Silent Pages, because it is symbolic to what I want to convey. The thought that they are there, they exist, but they are silent because they haven’t been explored is what I mean when I say silent pages”.
This outstanding officer has in his credit, making the famous Rohtas Fort accessible to the general public which had remained obscure for general public after the murder of a person belonging to Tilothu family and which later had turned into a safe-harbour for dacoits and naxals in the area. He started a police-community project named ‘Sone-Mahotsav’ to make tourism as a way to earn peace for the Maoist-affected region, turning some of the Maoists-sympathizers into tourist guides. He says, “After 1947, not a single flag hoisting event had taken place at this fort, but in 2009 he took an initiative and a flag was hoisted here.” Thereafter, the then Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had also visited the Fort in 2011. The government has subsequently taken the initiative to build rope-way to the Fort. He says in an interview, that the youngsters today have lost connect with the history of their own land and place. He further adds, “We Indians have a carefree attitude towards something as precious as our history. Other countries preserve everything of historical significance that they have but here we are too occupied to pay heed to such great stuffs.” In one of his other interviews, the history-lover cop says, “Policing is a very stressful life and so delving into culture and heritage, breaks the monotony of that stressful life.”
The top officer’s exceptional love for history and his continuing efforts to preserve our historical identities and inspire historical sense in every individual, more particularly, the present generation, is truly admirable to the core. Such an outstanding love for history for an IITian is indeed a rare combination, though there may be other people having similar interests in Science as well as history. The officer says that his science background has always helped him in his quest for history as he always had an investigating mind, and finding an ancient temple in some remote village or an old script on a stone gives a sense of discovery. The Nation must be proud of such an intellectual, brave, honest and disciplined officer. In the last, I remember a quote by a famous English writer Aldous Huxley that, “That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons that history has to teach.”
The blog “Silent Pages” may be accessed by visiting http://silentpagesindia.blogspot.in/
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