Destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan
We are deeply pained by the news that the Taliban rulers in Afghanistan have started destroying all statues in that country, including two fifth-century statues of Buddha carved into a mountainside in the Central Bamiyan province 125 km west of Kabul. One Buddha, measuring 53 metres, is said to be the world’s tallest statue of a standing Buddha, and the smallest is 37 metres tall. Apart from these rare heritage pieces, the Taliban rulers have also decided to destroy hundreds of Buddhist and other statues and artworks housed in Kabul Museum. This is nothing but a barbarous attack on the cultural heritage of Afghanistan and of the world.
The happenings in Afghanistan are a clear demonstration of the threat that fundamentalism of all hues pose to the creativity, culture and civilization of the world. The destruction of the Babri Masjid at the hands of the fundamentalists in our own country, not very long ago, is of a piece with the insanity being indulged in by the Taliban in Afghanistan. We renew our commitment to root out fundamentalism from our midst, from whichever source it may arise.
We extend support to all organizations of the Afghan people who are fighting the Taliban regime and its ideology.
Fundamentalism of any hue is opposed to creativity and innovation, and seeks to enforce a unitary conception on everything, including society, politics and culture. As a result of this, plurality is destroyed and the creativity generated by the interplay of differing ideas is restricted.
India’s rich cultural heritage, which is a manifestation of this plurality, is not safe in the hands of the rising fundamentalist forces.