KARNAL:In a unique initiative to reconnect itself with the forgotten legacy of Ashoka The Great, gram panchayat of a dusty village in Yamunanagar on Sunday announced to donate 2-care of village common land to build Topra historical park. The gram panchayat of Topra Kalan village passed a unanimous resolution to install a replica of the famous Ashoka Pillar in Delhi. The village is located about 15 km from Yamunanagar on the Kurukshetra-Haridwar road.
The brain behind the move to protect Buddhist monuments and legacy in Haryana, Siddhartha Gauri of The Buddhist Forum, an NGO, told Hindustan Times on Sunday that it was a little known fact that it was Topra village where the iconic Ashoka Pillar was originally erected. The pillar was dismantled and taken to Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi by the then Sultan of Delhi Feroz Shah Tughlaq in the 14th Century. It has been documented by Tughlaq’s contemporary historian Shams-i-Siraj. Citing that the historical park would help create awareness about the rich cultural past, the panchayat and the NGO are determined to develop the park on donations. ‘Nearly 2300 years ago Topra was an important place located on the ancient Mathura-Taxila trade route. It was considered to be a prime centre of trade and economic activities. But it is saddening that no sincere efforts were ever made to propagate these facts,” said Gauri. As per the plans for the first phase, the park would have replicas of all of all identified Ashokan pillars in India and a meditation hail. “The park will also boost rural economy of the region as it will attract a large number ofspiritual and religious visitors from India and abroad. In fact, Haryana remained an important place where Buddhism flourished and it is evident from stupas in Yamunanagar, Karnal, Kurukshetra and Hisar districts,” said Gauri. The pillar uprooted from Topra was the only pillar in India which had seven edicts issued by Ashoka, whereas rest of the pillars had only six edicts. “Again the ancient Brahmi script was first deciphered on the same pillar by a British expert James Prinsep in 1837,” he said.
TO SEEK PERMISSION FROM PREZ, PM
The panchayat of Topra Kalan has decided to approach the President and Prime Minister for the permission to reinstall Ashoka Pillar back in their village.