Reincarnation planned for Bamiyan Buddhas in Himachal

(New Delhi, March 21)

An RSS affiliate said on Tuesday that it would build replicas in India of the Bamiyan Buddha statues destroyed by the Tailban earlier this month. Sanskar Bharati, an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has zeroed in on a site in Himachal Pradesh to carve out the statues, said Amir Chand, a senior Sanskar Bharati official.

Chand said Sanskar Bharati sculptors inspected the site last week and found that the mountainous area had rocky cliff-faces similar to those at Bamiyan in Afghanistan.

"We will build a statue of the same size with the same details as in Afghanistan. Our plans will be finalised at the end of this month," he said.

Chand said Sanskar Bharati would try to transport the debris of the destroyed statues to Himachal Pradesh to build the replicas. "We will speak to the (Indian) government and seek their help in getting the debris."

Chand said the group did not know how much the reconstruction would cost but said "funds are not an issue".

Afghanistan's Taliban rulers invited widespread global outrage earlier this month after they started destroying all idols in the country, saying idol-worship was anti-Islamic. The statues included two giant Buddhas hewn out of sandstone cliffs almost 2,000 years ago before the arrival of Islam. A chorus of appeals from around the world failed to stop the Taliban from blasting the two statues with canons and mortars.

The governments of India and Sri Lanka, besides major US museums, had offered to transfer the statues to rescue them.

Referred by:Balram Sampla
Published on: March 21, 2001
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