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Tit For Tat: Nepal’s ‘Tit’ On Ayodhya Was For India’s Usual ‘Tat’ On Lumbini

By Purushootam Dhakal
From Ramayana Circuit To Shared Buddhist Heritage and Border Encroachments, Nepal Is Only Responding To India’s Cultural And Physical Expansionism, And Unsubstantiated Bullying.

By Purushottam Dhakal, KATHMANDU:- Many people were taken aback when Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli made remarks on this year’s Bhanu Jayanti that the current Ayodhyapuri expanding between Parsa and Chitwan districts of Nepal, is full of archaeological importance and could be the potential ancient city of Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram, as mentioned in the much revered holy book of Ramayana.

Following PM Oli’s remarks, Nepal’s Department of Archeology took keen interest on his statement and decided to explore the already valued archaeological site of Nepal. In India, however, PM Oli’s statement created an uproar among the ruling elites, as they perceived that the birthplace of Lord Ram lies in the city of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh of India, which is closer from Nepal’s Banke and Bardiya districts in Province Number 5.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi even inaugurated a Ram Mandir on August 5, 2020, following a Supreme Court ruling on a decades-old controversy, allocating the disputed land to Hindus and compensating Muslims yet another land for the construction of a Babri Masjid.

Owing to seriousness of the matter, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had to interpret PM Oli’s remarks in broad terms, stating that PM Oli intended to highlight the places of importance of Ramayana circuit shared by Nepal and India.

This issue has come to the fore, especially after India’s Minister Of External Affairs, S. Jaishankar, made a falsified claims about the birthplace of Gautam Buddha.

On Saturday, August 8, 2020, Jaishankar was addressing a webinar at a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)’s “India@75 Summit – Mission 2022” and he was asked to name the “greatest Indians ever that you can remember”.

“I would say one is Gautam Buddha and the other is Mahatma Gandhi,” Jaishankar said, according to a youtube record of the webinar.

Responding to Jaishankar’s false claim, Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Sunday, August 9, 2020, refuting the claim by the Indian External Affairs Minister.


(Nepal Armed Police Force has increased its presence with regular patrol in the Kalapani area. Photo: RSS)

“It is a well-established and undeniable fact proven by historical and archaeological evidences that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal. Lumbini, the Birthplace of Buddha and the fountain of Buddhism, is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites,” said the MOFA statement.

“During his visit to Nepal in 2014, the Prime Minister of India H.E. Shri Narendra Modi himself, while addressing Nepal’s Legislature Parliament, had said that “Nepal is the country where apostle of peace in the world, Buddha, was born,” the statement said.

“It is true that Buddhism spread from Nepal to other parts of the world in the subsequent period. The matter remains beyond doubt and controversy and thus cannot be a subject of debate. The entire international community is aware of this,” the statement added.

Following the MOFA statement, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs headed for a course-correction path and issued a statement on the same day.

“EAM’s (External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s) remarks yesterday at the CII event referred to our shared Buddhist heritage. There is no doubt that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, which is in Nepal,” said the statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Nepal’s defensive mood against India goes little further to the chronic border disputes, as Nepal has been defending its encroached border territories from Jhapa in the east to Kanchanpur in the west, including the much-talked about areas of Susta, Kalapani, Limpiadhura and Lipulekh, among other territories of Nepal, illegitimately occupied by India.

“Nepalese people, by nature, are peaceful people. They do not pick up fight themselves. But, if somebody encroaches their land or undermines their sovereignty, then they cannot resist defending their motherland and national interest,” said a political analyst, who did not want to be named.

“From the current Lumbini and Ayodhya controversies to the border disputes, everywhere you will see that Nepal is just furnishing a polite but rigid reply to India’s dangerous cultural and physical expansionism,” said the analyst.

“India has to respect and understand Nepal’s decent defensive gesture. Otherwise, it is likely that Nepal may join Pakistan and China, already having long term border disputes with India, to resolve Nepal’s border issues together with these two countries. That day will be devastating for India, which shares a common cultural legacy and heritage with Nepal since the time of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Gautam Buddha,” he added.

“Also, gone are the days when there used to be a kind of micro-management in Nepal’s internal affairs from the Indian side. If India takes Nepal for granted, India will have to pay a heavy price for pushing Nepal into the arms of Pakistan and China and thus helping Nepal form a formidable alliance with China and Pakistan. If China, Pakistan and Nepal act together on border disputes with India, that will be simply out of control for India. This tripartite alliance of Nepal with Pakistan and China is preventable and has to be prevented by handing over the Nepalese territories of Limpiadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani back to Nepal,” the source further said.

Highlight:

(Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was earlier criticized from some quarters for stating that Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram, was actually located in Thori and Madi areas of Parsa and Chitwan districts in Nepal. Now that India, as usual, has claimed that Gautam Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini lies in India and Buddha was born an Indian national, PM Oli’s objective of highlighting India’s prejudiced and weird behavior towards Nepal has been vindicated.)

Purushootam Dhakal is currently the Editor In Chief of Nepal24hours.com and N24 TV 'Integration Through Media' Nepal 24 Hours INC. a journalistic multimedia venture in Nepal and USA. Previously, he worked as a Executive Producer for Different National, International Television Channel.

Published Date: Sunday, August 9th, 2020 | 04:03 PM

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