Buddha Statue: Historian Questions Caste Hindu Criticism

(Special Story)
(By Mukundan C. Menon)

Noted history scholar and social activist of Kerala, Dr. M. S. Jayaprakash, questioned the Caste Hindu criticism in India, especially by RSS-Sangh Parivar outfits, against demolition of Buddha statue by Afghan's Taliban. "Those who uprooted Buddhism from its very land of birth, and those who worship Adi Shankara who led anti-Buddhism onslaughts in the name of Hindu revivalism have no moral honesty or historical right to criticise the Taliban deeds", Dr. Jayaprakash said.

A social activist working for the unity of Dalits-Backward Community-Minorities, the historian pointed out that it was Caste Hindu Indians who destroyed Buddha statue and Buddha "Vihars" throughout India. "Buddhism was the first organised movement which liberated Indian society from the clutches of "Chaturvarnya". Till the ruling period of Emperor Ashoka, Buddhism gave humanitarian face to Indian culture. However, it faced destruction from the period of Pushyamitra Sumgan. It was in the name of Hindu revivalism that Buddha statue and "vihars" were destroyed as well as Buddhists were massacred enmass", he recalled.

According to Dr. Jayaprakash, Kerala presents a fine example for the anti-Buddhists onslaughts. "Hundreds of places in Kerala, which has got the name "Palli" as in Karunagapalli, Puthupalli, Pallickal, Pallipuram, etc. were Buddhist centres originally. The actual meaning of "Palli" is Buddha "Vihar". Schools in Malayalam are known as "Pallikoodam" and "Ezhuthupalli", which clearly indicate the Buddhist legacy of Kerala. Both Muslim mosque and Christian church in Kerala are commonly still called as "Palli". On the other hand, only Hindus do not use that name either for their temples or schools, which has got much historical signifance".

Destroyed or neglected Buddha statues were recovered like the famous "Karumadikuttan" of Ambalappuzha and in places like Karunagapalli, Mavelikara, Bharanikkavu, Pallickal, etc. In fact, majority of the present Hindu temples in Kerala had been built on the very places of Buddha "vihars" and after destructing the Buddha statues. Even the famous Sabarimala Temple of Lord Ayyappa in dense forests of Pathanamthitta district, which is the main money-spinner for Travancore Dewaswom Board now, was a Buddha "vihar". Historical and archaeological evidences are still available in plenty to prove these points.

On both sides of Periyar river in Alwaye (Kerala) and Vaiga river in Madurai (Tamil Nadu), thousands of Buddhists were massacred by keeping them suspended from sharp tridents. Trident is known in Malayalam as "Alawaya" from which the present Alwaye, which is now famous for annual Shivarathri, had originated, Dr. Jayaprakash said.

According to Dr. Jayaprakash, the 1992 December demolition of Babri Masjid Mosque in Ayodhya, and the ongoing anti-Christian onslaughts throughout India by RSS-Sangh Parivar are nothing new but a mere repetition and imitation of what the Caste Hindus had been doing for centuries in India against Buddha statues, Buddha "vihars" and Buddhist religion-culture as a whole.

Source: In-House
Referred by:Mukundan C Menon
Published on: March 6, 2001
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