KARNAL : On Tuesday, the followers of Buddhism across the world will celebrate the begin- fling of the 2,600th year of Gautam Buddha’s enlightenment. Governments at the state and central level, meanwhile, continue to ignore the Dhamma’s relics in Haryana, something that has now made a Yamunanagar-based NGO to approach the Prime Minister. The Buddhist Forum, a nonprofit organization that has been running awareness drives over the issue for many years, has written to the PM Office to direct the union ministry of culture to draw up a plan for preservation and promotion of the relics that have a global significance. The NGO as part of its efforts had in December2009 sent a compilation of nearly 21,000 Signatures of people seeking her intervention.
The forum has identified nearly 300 forgotten Buddhist relics, including 53 in Madhya Pradesh, 14 in Haryana, and 12 in Himachal Pradesh and one in Punjab. Haryana has a Buddha Vihar at Adi Badri and a Buddha Stupa at Chaneti, both in Yamuna nagar district, a stupa in Kurukahetra, a monastery at Kurukshetra University, a Buddha stupa in Assandh and a stupa and monastery at Agroha in Hisar.
President of the NGO, Sidhartha Gauri, said the Haryana and central governments were not making any sincere efforts to protect the remnants of the rich cultural past. “This, when the culture ministry is under Kumari Selja, who is a member of Parliament from Ambala, and the Archaeological Survey of India is her ministry’s constituent” he added. Gauri told Hindustan Times that rural economy of several villages would get a boost of if these sites of global significance were restored and promoted as pilgrim destinations. Concerned over the dilapidated Buddhist monuments in Haryana and other parts of the country the forum had earlier written to all 802 members of parliament for their support on the issue. However, only two MPs, CM Chang from Nagaland and BJP’s Prakash Javadekar, have extended support. No Haryana Ml’ has responded to the communication. Several prominent Buddhist leaders, including the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan goverranentexile, Bodhgaya Temple Management Conunittee secretary Nangzey Dorjee and the vice-chancellor of Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, Prof Geahe Ngawang Samten, have supported the drive, through.