Finding the Archaeological Survey of India “helpless”, the Buddhist Forum, an NGO, has roped in the Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile, Samdhong Rinpoche, for the “save stupas, save Buddha” campaign for the protection of ancient Buddhist monuments in the state, which are on the verge of extinction due to lack of proper care.
The Yamunanagar-based forum has been campaigning to draw the attention of the authorities concerned towards the need for protecting monuments in the state, including Buddh Vihar in Adi Badri, a Buddha stupa at Chaneti in Yamunanagar, the Kurukshetra stupa, a monastery in Kurukshetra, a Buddha stupa in Assandh and a stupa and monastery at Agroha in Hisar.
In a communication to the Buddhist Forum, Rinpoche said, “I am happy to pledge my support to the Buddhist Forum in its drive to save Buddhist structures in Haryana. By preserving the stupas and other Buddhist structures, they are making an effort to keep alive a legacy and draw inspiration from it to understand what Buddha had taught to the mankind. It is their sincere endeavour to bring peace and harmony in our society and in the world.”
Expressing concern over lack of care of monuments, Rinpoche has written to MP OT Lepcha to assist the forum in its work.
Speaking to The Tribune, the president of the Buddist Forum, Sidhartha, said they had taken up the matter with Rinpoche and the latter had written back to them. The forum felt a need to involve Rinpoche so that it could get support to achieve its objective of protecting monuments. Other prominent persons who had extended support to the campaign included former CBI Director Joginder Singh and former Governor of Nagaland Om Prakash Sharma.
“The forum had launched a signature campaign on March 12, 2009, highlighting the need for protecting historical monuments related to the Buddha in Haryana. After getting a good response from the people, the forum submitted a memorandum to the President in New Delhi on December 30 last in this regard,” he said.“On December 31, the forum received a communication from the President’s office that the memorandum had been forwarded to the Ministry of Culture. The forum wrote to the ASI many times, but to no avail.