India wants Buddha’s bowl brought back



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By S Venkat Narayan Our Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI, August 27: Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, a member of the Indian Parliament and former union minister, has launched a campaign to retrieve Gautama Buddha’s "Bhiksha Patra" (bowl) that was taken away to Afghanistan some two thousand years ago.


Singh, a Rashtriya Janata Dal leader, says the people of Vaishali in Bihar state (his Lok Sabha constituency) are the right claimants of this national treasure because Buddha had donated it to the people of the region when he was leaving for his "mahanirvan" (abandoning his mortal body) around 500 BC, after delivering his last speech.


For the next 500 years, a regular ‘puja’ of the bowl had been done at Vaishali.


Emperor Kanishka, who invaded India in the 1st century AD, took away the "patra" to "Purushpur" (present day Peshawar in Pakistan). During the term of former Afghanistan President Mohammed Najibullah (1987-1992), it was moved to the Kabul Museum.


Singh, whose campaign is being supported by 60 international Buddhist ‘maths’ (schools), has furnished historical material supporting his case to the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).


"Former External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had assured me that the Indian Government will take steps to retrieve the treasure. I have now sent a reminder to the present minister, Salman Khurshid," Singh said.


The MP is also planning to write a letter to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, seeking his cooperation in the matter.


"Chinese travelers including Fa Hein and Huang Tsang have referred to the presence of the Buddha’s bowl in Afghanistan, as has Alexander Cunningham (first Director General of the Archeological Survey of India). Historians, including Dr. Shreedhar Vasudev Sohani and Romila Thapar, have also supported the theory that the ‘patra’ had been taken away by Emperor Kanishka", Singh said on Monday.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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