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The Buddhas Under Fire

The Stones of Bamiyan by R.Parthasarathy

R. Parthasarathy here in this poem speaks of the large Buddhas of the Bamiyan province of Afghanistan hewn out of sandstone cliffs and chiselled which the Taliban tried to destroy it with mortars, rocket launchers and the Buddhas stood it under fire bearing the brunt of human malice, vengeance and hatred and narrow mentality. How can it be? Are the artistic stuffs so to be seen with hatred and vengeance?

Can art and artefacts be destroyed in such a way? Why the UNESCO kept mum? The rugged Taliban soldiers in pyjamas and turbans just as the militia with gunfire fought it like Don Quixotes with the windmill. Does it not appear to be humorous, man fighting not with invaders, but with the statues, the statues of peace, Cosmic Peace which was but a sort of misanthropy and madness? This much the fanatics cannot understand it.

None knows it who made them and when quite unaware of their own history and culture drifting it far in religious madness. Whatever be it the fundamentalists will remain the fundamentalists, the conservatives will remain the conservatives as nothing can change their outlook and behaviour, as they can never mend their ways, as they cannot see it light, as they cannot distinguish it in between light and darkness, so blind to their faith in upholding them, can never take to reasoning. Side by side it showed it their foolishness. How foolish had they been that they with the Buddhas! How crazy and maniac had they been that they vented they their ire over art and architecture, sculpture and figurine! While on the other hand it was high drama that they enacted it so ignorantly. Can one in dream too think of gunning the Buddhas? But they did as they felt it good. But they question is, will the Buddhas pardon, pardon them? Will they forgive? The answer is perhaps no, not at all. They will have to reap consequences as for their karma. They will have to suffer.

What are they doing in the caves, the Taliban soldiers and militants? With guns, hammers and axes? Turbaned and in the pyjamas, in loose garments gearing up their batteries to fight with the Buddhas? The clumsy will remain clumsier. But none opposed it. The world watched it the devils, satans gunning down the Buddhas, the Buddhas under fire; shelled and fired they upon with the gun shots, but may we ask, can peace be disturbed, provoked in such a way? Can the voice of peace be disturbed as thus and if you disturb peace, you will yourself be disturbed. Mind it. The note of dissent, even the educated intelligentsia of Afghanistan and the good people too could not voice it, perhaps it was silent and something checked them from whatever be their loyalty. Is the scene not like that of Judas in conspiracy, hatching of plots? Even Macbeth after the murder of King Duncan lamented it, felt the remorse for, but the blunt, foolish, awkward Taliban militia could not.

To read the poem is to question, who made the Bamiyan Buddhas? How had it been the monasteries dotting the valley? How the Hindu Kush mountains? How vibrant had it been the stupas? But what did it happen to them that they fell silent?

And for what, did the Taliban break the Buddhas, damage them? Why did they destroy them? What had it been their intention? It is strange to feel it within, how their mindset!

But the last not the least, can the Taliban obliterate the spirit of Buddha and Buddhism? By destroying the statues, everything cannot be brought to destruction. The spirit will always prevail upon.

You too will not sleep anymore; you too will not, the voice vibrates it within.

How did our history change with the invasion of the Huns? This too is a continuation of the same. To demolish the statues is no mean job. It is but a crime.

The Stones of Bamiyan by R.Parthasarathy

“Their golden colour sparkles on every side,”
said a traveller of the two vast standing Buddhas.
For fifteen centuries they had stood here---
towering above the valley, with their battered faces
broken-off arms and all, undisturbed
in their cusped sandstone niches
hewn out of the sheer cliffs of the Hindu Kush,
spangled with a honeycomb of monasteries
and chanting stupas—as a stairway to heaven.

“We don’t understand why everyone is
so worked up; we are only breaking stones,”
chuckled the soldiers as they blew up
the statues, leaving a gap in the world.
The fabled Silk Road hangs in tatters now.
The wind howls in the poplars as it did once
when the valley was trampled underfoot
by the Great Khan and his avenging horde.
Who will stop the Hun knocking on our door?


image (c)


More by :  Bijay Kant Dubey

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