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Last updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2002
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Responsibility for Conserving Ancient Monuments Lies in Women's hands
Bodhgaya (Gaya), 20th April. There are various ancient and world famous monuments in Ward no. 13 of the Bodhgaya Scheduled Territory which lies in the lap of the settlement of Bodhgaya which was at the time of Nadi Kashyapa and Urubila Kashyapa the scene of Buddha's austerities. In this ward there is not only great historical importance but also the town council and what were before the formation of the Scheduled Territory the two revenue villages of Bodhgaya and Mastipur. Which were combined into the village of Bodhgaya village panchayat. [a form of council:-PGF.] Nowadays the problem of vegetable market stalls spreading over the roads and encroachments on the main road Market (Godam) road is very great.
The ancient monuments established in the Ward are in themselves becoming history. In this Ward there was established hundreds of years ago the monastery of the followers of Shankaracharya of the Eternal Dharma. [Hinduism:-PGF] This monastery has had to endure both increasing and decreasing fortune over the hundreds of years of its existence. The current arrangements in the High School established by the former Mahant (Abbott) Shatanand Giri to attract students to study Sanskrit appear to be unsuccessful. Nearby the Samanvey Ashram established by Vinoba Bhave for social service is located. The main focus of attraction is the world famous monument of the Mahabodhi Temple is also in this ward and attracts tourists from not only all over India but from countless countries all over the world. The most important thing is that it is due to the Mahabodhi temple that the tourist business thrives in Bodhgaya.
By altering the former ward no. 7 The Schedule Area Territory has become ward no. 13. With a population of 1179 there are 1123 voters in this ward. To the east of this ward is the Niranjana river, to the West the Japanese Temple, to the North Pachatti and to the South Mocharim. This ward is reserved for ordinary women. After the distribution of election symbols there were seven women standing for election including Reena Devi, Saroj Ray, Atija Pravin, Anita Devi, Archana Devi, Sunita Devi and Rubi Khatun. [note: married women in this area all call themselves Devi:-PGF].
As the election date nears election campaigns by all the candidates are going on. It is possible that every jati and class live in this area. But after the reservation of this ward for women they are not showing any interest.
Whilst there are made up roads in this area, but for the local inhabitants there are the problems of, drains, public places for toilets, public drinking water and appropriate cleaning. Due to the lack of drainage even when it is not monsoon the dirty water runs out on the roads. Recently a few volunteer groups and foreign institutions have taken it upon their shoulders to try and clean up but this has proved to be only a nine days wonder.
In the local market road the inhabitants say that everyday due to people coming to market their is a traffic jam. In order to alleviate this problem the previous administration planned a bypass road which is still not realised. There is a primary school in this ward but the number of children is inconsequential. Due to neglect by the previous administration and peoples representatives progress has to be made by the people themselves and it is in this hope that the residents of the ward live.

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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.