Press Statement on Bhandarakar Institute

We strongly condemn the vandalism at the internationally renowned Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Pune on January 5,2004. A mob of vandals is reported to have destroyed thousands of rare manuscripts and other priceless articles, ransacked the cupboards, tore thousands of books and took away several rare books and damaged the writings on palm leaves.

We also condemn the attack on the well known Sanskrit scholar Dr. Srikant Bahulkar.

No words are enough to express our anguish at such wanton destruction of our precious heritage. It is quite clear that our cultural heritage is not safe with the fundamentalist forces having a free run in the country. They


are being actively encouraged by the ideology that preaches intolerance and has no respect for half a millennium-old monuments, contemporary art practices and scholarly pursuits.

The government of Maharashtra should do every thing possible to recover the material and move for exemplary punishment to the guilty.

R.S.Sharma, R.C.Thakran, Amar Faroqui
Suraj Bhan, B.P.Sahu, S.C.Mishra, Irfan Habib, V.M.Jha, R.P.Rane, D.N.Jha, Shireen Moosvi, Iqbal Husain, K.M.Shrimali, Iqthidar Alam Khan, Ramakrishan Chatterjee

Issued by Ram Rahman