City archaeologist worries about fate of Kabul bowl of Buddha at Taliban hands | Calcutta News

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Calcutta: The man who traveled all the way from Calcutta to Kabul to pave the way for the return of the ‘Bowl of Buddha’ from the National Kabul Museum to Vaishali in Bihar – his place of origin – is now gravely concerned of its fate in the hands of the Taliban, since the appeal of the Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay for the preservation of the Afghan cultural heritage in its diversity, in full respect of international law.
Archaeologist and former ASI regional director PK Mishra is extremely worried that the wish of former Vaishali MP Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on his deathbed will not be fulfilled as there is no hope to recover the bowl of this orthodox regime. “I hope the bowl will not have a similar fate to that of Bamiyan Buddha, which was completely destroyed by the Taliban in 2001,” PK Mishra said.
In 2014, Mishra and GS Khwaja, Director of Arabic and Persian Epigraphy, Nagpur, ASI, were nominated for the post. “After our successful research in Kabul, I have no doubt that this is just Buddha’s alms bowl. The intact Brahmi script in the fifth and sixth line makes it clear that this is the bowl of Lord Buddha, ”said Mishra, whose report has gathered dust at ASI headquarters in Delhi since then.
“Based on the report, the Center was supposed to initiate dialogue with the Afghan government to bring back the priceless object, with which the emotion of the people of Vaishali is deeply involved. In fact, RJD leader Singh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar from his deathbed to bring the bowl back to its place of origin, ”Mishra told TOI.
Mishra said that the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul is fantastic with a rich collection of artefacts from its diverse culture, including that of Buddhism and Islam. The Afghans must protect the museum at all costs. If the museum falls into the hands of the Taliban, we will lose a very important part of the history of the world.
The bowl is mired in controversy. While a large section of scholars, including Mishra, vouched for her Buddhist origin, others believed she was Islamic. “There was discord because of six lines of Persian inscription on its outer wall. The inscription, probably from verses from the Koran, has led to believe that it could be of Islamic origin. Further examination revealed that they were crushed on Brahmic scripts, ”Mishra added. Twenty-four lotus petals, six of which remained unharmed, confirmed they were from an earlier era. These intact petals revealed that the original bowl had plain petals.
The intact Brahmi script in the fifth and sixth line makes it clear that this is the bowl of Lord Buddha, Mishra said. Moreover, it matched the description of the Vaishali bowl by famous Chinese travelers Fa Hien and Xuan Zang. Later, the first CEO of ASI Sir Alexander Cunningham, in his report, described the giant stone artifact of 350 to 400 kg as the “bhikshapatra” of Lord Buddha which he donated to the inhabitants of Vaishali before. to leave for Kushinagar (UP) for “Parinirvana”. In the 2nd century, Kanishka took Vaishali’s bowl to his capital Purushpura (now Peshawar), then to Gandhara (now Kandahar). In the 20th century, the bowl was taken to the Kabul Museum.


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