A fictionalized recreation of a historical event
|Bhadra looked up from the scrolls with mild interest. The young monk seemed perturbed. No one disturbed Bhadra usually so he was intrigued.
“Sir, there is talk that Bakhtiyar Khilji is coming to burn down this place,” he stuttered.
Bhadra was confused. Why would a Turkish king in the middle of a large invasion of India bother about an ancient library?
“Don’t put faith in rumors Harisha,” he admonished. “Go and get me the next volume of the scrolls.” His calm demeanor spoke of his Buddhist faith.
His mind wandered back to the week before when had cured Khilji of an ailment simply by asking him to read the Koran. Khilji was grateful and had agreed to give an ancient Koran that Bhadra wanted for the great library at Nalanda.
His reverie was broken this time by a group of monks who rushed into the hallowed halls.
“What is it now?” he asked.
“Master, a large army marches towards us,” a young man blurted.
“Here? To the library?” Bhadra was incredulous.
“Yes master, Khilji himself leads the force.”
“There is nothing here for an invading king,” Bhadra responded still convinced the monks were over-reacting.
They were still talking when the thunder of hooves reached their ears. The young monks scattered towards the massive library windows. Sure enough, it was an army of horsemen.
A few monks helped Bhadra gather as many rare books and scrolls as they could. They stuffed them into wooden boxes that they lowered into the stone-walled basement. These were the only documents that survived.
In 1193 A.D, almost eight hundred years after it was built, the Nalanda library was destroyed for the third time. It is said that the library was so huge that it took three months for Khilji to destroy the entire structure.