Bamiyan Buddha to smile in Kullu valley

Ashutosh Mishra/Bhubaneswar

If the vision and determination of an Oriya sculptor succeeds, the world's tallest statue of Buddha, which was destroyed recently by the Taliban in Afghanistan's Bamiyan province, will be recreated in the picturesque Kullu valley of Himachal Pradesh.

Adwaita Gadnaik, a stone carver from Orissa, has offered to replicate the Bamiyan Buddha, provided, the right kind of support is given for the project. This was revealed here recently by Dr Shailendra Nath Srivastava, the All India President of Sanskar Bharati, a cultural organisation, which has decided to support Gadnaik's project.

Describing Gadnaik's vision as a shining example of"constructive protest" to the vandalism unleashed by the Taliban in the historic Bamiyan valley, Dr Srivastava revealed that talks were on with the Himachal Pradesh government for keeping a part of a hill in the State for the ambitious artistic venture which would be one of its kind.

Stating that artists were already scouting for the right kind of location in Himachal pradesh, the Sanskar Bharati president said that project in all probability would come up in the Kullu valley of Himachal which is known for its natural beauty and serenity.

Atleast thirty more craftsman from various parts of the country are likely to lend a helping hand to Mr Gadnaik in executing this project which is also likely to receive support from some Buddhist countries.

"The Delhi-based embassies of some Buddhist countries have been contacted and we have got the positive response," said Dr Srivastava. He added that Japan and Burma were most likely to come out with offers of help. The president of Sanskar Bharati, who has started an all-India campaign to bring together artists who value nationalistic feelings, heaped encomiums upon Mr Gadnaik for coming up with the idea of recreating the statue of Buddha when the entire civilzed world was expressing its sense of outrage against the vandalism of Taliban only in words.

Ironically ,however, what seems to have escaped the notice of Dr Srivastava and his organisation is the abysmal condition of artists in Orissa. With state government failing to provide any kind of patronage to arts and crafts, artists cutting across their areas of excellence have been languishing in neglect and penury.

The handicraft sector has been the first casualty with right kind of market eluding Sambalpuri sarees, the famous applique work of Pipli and the lacquered horn work of Ganjam and Parlakhemundi.

In certain instances, driven by poverty, the traditional artists have abandoned the calling of their forefathers and have taken to menial jobs for survival.

The same can also be said of the acclaimed Odissi dance but fortunately proponents of this art form like Guru Kelucharen Mahapatra are doing their best to help out their less fortunate brothers.

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Referred by: Mukundan CM
Published on: May 17, 2001
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