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Religious Desecration: Who's responsible for destruction of early Indian, Buddhist places of learning in Odisha?

Vidya Bhushan Rawat 03 Dec 2019

Buudhist temples

Modern day Odisha is known to be the 'epicenter' of brahmanism as the socio-cultural-economic dominance of the brahmanical castes in Odisha is complete. One wonders what happened to it and why Odisha, once the hub of Buddhist activities and culture, completely lost it. I am sure a fair analysis of history needs to be done in the greater interest of our secular values and retaining our original heritage.

The heart of brahmanical Odisha is Puri and its famous Jagannath temple, where the temple openly propagates division among communities. Non-Hindus are not allowed, which is fine as it is their fundamental right to deny people who do not have the faith, yet there are thousands who proclaim themselves as Hindus but are not allowed inside the temple. Dalits, too, are not allowed entry inside the temple and, it is said, President Kovind, too, was unwelcome in the temple complex when he visited there.

buddha

The temple has enormous wealth. It has large tracts of land and devotees throng from all over the world. One local shopkeeper told me that it is the 'most powerful god'. I told him that every god is ‘powerful’ because of the power and politics of the ‘dominant’ behind them. Can we say that the god at the Tirupathi temple is lesser important. Can we say that Kashi Vishwanath is not important or the huge Laxmi Narayan Temple in Thiruvananthpuram does not matter? Every temple matters in this country because a common person expects 'miracles' here but the powerful get money and power from them. They have become shelter places for all kind of politicians, who influence politics and are not keen on people's welfare.

Since the politicians and power chums are never ever interested in people's welfare, so traditionally you are 'good' if you donate to a temple or build a temple. But we know that all these religious places are not merely religious in nature, they provide economic as well as political clout for the powerful. So Odisha's power flows from Lord Jagannath.

buddha

 

Now, Odisha government has put up big banners and advertisements about its Buddhist heritage. It is there at the Airport but there are not many visitors there. I had earlier visited Dhaulagiri, where Ashoka defeated his rival army in the battle of Kalinga in the year 261BC. It is assumed that over one lakh people were killed in this war, which forced Ashoka to ponder over and reject violence as he embraced Buddhism and massively propagated it the world over. As I visited the two beautiful Buddhist heritage sites of Ratnagiri and Udayagiri hills, in Jaajpur district of Odisha, many things came in my mind.

Udayagiri hills are absolutely fascinating and the architecture there looks like that of a university. The sad part is that amidst the beautiful heritage site, we have a 'Mahakal temple', which looks planted and deliberate. I do not know how the Archaeological Survey of India allows these things. The first thing should be to investigate who planted this and whether this is really a Mahakal or Buddhist statue?

The Udayagiri site is surrounded by beautiful lush green hills and must be developed fully. Nearly 30 kilometers from Udayagiri hills is Ratnagiri, across the river Birupa. The Ratnagiri site showed some stunning artefacts of the Buddhist era, as well as diverse nature of worshipping patterns among the Buddhists. Once you go to see the marvellous structure, which dates from 2nd BC to 6th to 9th century BC, then you realise how India would have been a country of great minds, both in terms of spiritualism as well as architecture. Buddhist era in India was dedicated to education and learning but we must now explore who destroyed these places learning.

I was pained to see many of these artefacts, which were targeted. The excavated artefacts and idols reveal that they must have been attacked by those who were not keen on Buddhism.

 

buddha

Had this happened in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the 'historians' would have blamed Islam and the Mughals for the assault but what about Odisha? Who were responsible for killing Buddhism and Buddhist places of learning in India? It is important to know because these are the same people who blame Muslims for every attack on India, including breaking the idols of the Hindu Gods and goddesses.

I was wondering where had the Buddhist population disappeared? Isn't it the duty of the anthropologists to look for them? Most of them have been too charitable and polite to Hinduism and no questions are asked about the Hindu Rajas and their brutality towards Buddhism. A friend informed me that many people call Lord Jagannath, an avatar of Buddha or Buddha, an avtar of Jagannath. If Jagannath and Buddha are the same, then I have my doubts about Jagannath temple which, many people suggest, was a Buddhist temple and was conquered by the brahmanical forces and converted into a highly orthodox Hindu temple.

buddha

 

It is good that Odisha government is developing these Buddhist sites, which are extraordinary, but historians owe a duty towards all to give us an unbiased picture as  to who were responsible for the destruction of the Buddhist places and Buddhists in India. The historians have their own biases as they never bothered to speak about the Buddhist past of Ayodhya. Also, the brahmanical forces would have been still controlling Bodh Gaya as a Shiva temple still exists inside the holiest shrine of Buddhists the world over. Historical wrongs cannot be corrected but it is important to give people the real picture. Historians in India discussed Buddhism in terms of an event and did not present a detailed picture of how great places of education and learning during the Buddhist period were destroyed by the Brahmanical rulers. Perhaps, if this country has such a huge number of illiterate and poor people, it is because the democratisation process during the Buddhist period became the biggest challenge to brahmanism and its exclusive privileges for particular communities. But these communities were not ready to share their privileges with others and unleashed their caste superstructure with the 'divine sanction' on the masses. India was never the same again, and the consequences of the brahmanical assault on Buddhism are being felt now, when the society is highly polarised and the racist caste system is being justified and encouraged, all in the name of tradition. It is time to embrace the India of the Buddhist period and bring equality and enlightenment in the lives of all Indians so that we do not suffocate in dirty rituals and horrible traditions and survive to a better civilisation which can make all of us proud.

buddha


RELATED ARTICLES:
CJP urges NBSA to inquire into Aaj Tak's communal programming
There stood a Mosque, and it was Demolished
1,500 Dalits embrace Buddhism for ‘equality’: Gujarat
What the Babri Judgment portends for the Future
Opinion: Victimization of Brahmins is a myth

Religious Desecration: Who's responsible for destruction of early Indian, Buddhist places of learning in Odisha?

Buudhist temples

Modern day Odisha is known to be the 'epicenter' of brahmanism as the socio-cultural-economic dominance of the brahmanical castes in Odisha is complete. One wonders what happened to it and why Odisha, once the hub of Buddhist activities and culture, completely lost it. I am sure a fair analysis of history needs to be done in the greater interest of our secular values and retaining our original heritage.

The heart of brahmanical Odisha is Puri and its famous Jagannath temple, where the temple openly propagates division among communities. Non-Hindus are not allowed, which is fine as it is their fundamental right to deny people who do not have the faith, yet there are thousands who proclaim themselves as Hindus but are not allowed inside the temple. Dalits, too, are not allowed entry inside the temple and, it is said, President Kovind, too, was unwelcome in the temple complex when he visited there.

buddha

The temple has enormous wealth. It has large tracts of land and devotees throng from all over the world. One local shopkeeper told me that it is the 'most powerful god'. I told him that every god is ‘powerful’ because of the power and politics of the ‘dominant’ behind them. Can we say that the god at the Tirupathi temple is lesser important. Can we say that Kashi Vishwanath is not important or the huge Laxmi Narayan Temple in Thiruvananthpuram does not matter? Every temple matters in this country because a common person expects 'miracles' here but the powerful get money and power from them. They have become shelter places for all kind of politicians, who influence politics and are not keen on people's welfare.

Since the politicians and power chums are never ever interested in people's welfare, so traditionally you are 'good' if you donate to a temple or build a temple. But we know that all these religious places are not merely religious in nature, they provide economic as well as political clout for the powerful. So Odisha's power flows from Lord Jagannath.

buddha

 

Now, Odisha government has put up big banners and advertisements about its Buddhist heritage. It is there at the Airport but there are not many visitors there. I had earlier visited Dhaulagiri, where Ashoka defeated his rival army in the battle of Kalinga in the year 261BC. It is assumed that over one lakh people were killed in this war, which forced Ashoka to ponder over and reject violence as he embraced Buddhism and massively propagated it the world over. As I visited the two beautiful Buddhist heritage sites of Ratnagiri and Udayagiri hills, in Jaajpur district of Odisha, many things came in my mind.

Udayagiri hills are absolutely fascinating and the architecture there looks like that of a university. The sad part is that amidst the beautiful heritage site, we have a 'Mahakal temple', which looks planted and deliberate. I do not know how the Archaeological Survey of India allows these things. The first thing should be to investigate who planted this and whether this is really a Mahakal or Buddhist statue?

The Udayagiri site is surrounded by beautiful lush green hills and must be developed fully. Nearly 30 kilometers from Udayagiri hills is Ratnagiri, across the river Birupa. The Ratnagiri site showed some stunning artefacts of the Buddhist era, as well as diverse nature of worshipping patterns among the Buddhists. Once you go to see the marvellous structure, which dates from 2nd BC to 6th to 9th century BC, then you realise how India would have been a country of great minds, both in terms of spiritualism as well as architecture. Buddhist era in India was dedicated to education and learning but we must now explore who destroyed these places learning.

I was pained to see many of these artefacts, which were targeted. The excavated artefacts and idols reveal that they must have been attacked by those who were not keen on Buddhism.

 

buddha

Had this happened in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, the 'historians' would have blamed Islam and the Mughals for the assault but what about Odisha? Who were responsible for killing Buddhism and Buddhist places of learning in India? It is important to know because these are the same people who blame Muslims for every attack on India, including breaking the idols of the Hindu Gods and goddesses.

I was wondering where had the Buddhist population disappeared? Isn't it the duty of the anthropologists to look for them? Most of them have been too charitable and polite to Hinduism and no questions are asked about the Hindu Rajas and their brutality towards Buddhism. A friend informed me that many people call Lord Jagannath, an avatar of Buddha or Buddha, an avtar of Jagannath. If Jagannath and Buddha are the same, then I have my doubts about Jagannath temple which, many people suggest, was a Buddhist temple and was conquered by the brahmanical forces and converted into a highly orthodox Hindu temple.

buddha

 

It is good that Odisha government is developing these Buddhist sites, which are extraordinary, but historians owe a duty towards all to give us an unbiased picture as  to who were responsible for the destruction of the Buddhist places and Buddhists in India. The historians have their own biases as they never bothered to speak about the Buddhist past of Ayodhya. Also, the brahmanical forces would have been still controlling Bodh Gaya as a Shiva temple still exists inside the holiest shrine of Buddhists the world over. Historical wrongs cannot be corrected but it is important to give people the real picture. Historians in India discussed Buddhism in terms of an event and did not present a detailed picture of how great places of education and learning during the Buddhist period were destroyed by the Brahmanical rulers. Perhaps, if this country has such a huge number of illiterate and poor people, it is because the democratisation process during the Buddhist period became the biggest challenge to brahmanism and its exclusive privileges for particular communities. But these communities were not ready to share their privileges with others and unleashed their caste superstructure with the 'divine sanction' on the masses. India was never the same again, and the consequences of the brahmanical assault on Buddhism are being felt now, when the society is highly polarised and the racist caste system is being justified and encouraged, all in the name of tradition. It is time to embrace the India of the Buddhist period and bring equality and enlightenment in the lives of all Indians so that we do not suffocate in dirty rituals and horrible traditions and survive to a better civilisation which can make all of us proud.

buddha


RELATED ARTICLES:
CJP urges NBSA to inquire into Aaj Tak's communal programming
There stood a Mosque, and it was Demolished
1,500 Dalits embrace Buddhism for ‘equality’: Gujarat
What the Babri Judgment portends for the Future
Opinion: Victimization of Brahmins is a myth

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