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Bamiyan Statues
By Dr MS Quraishy, Kolkata

After a long-drawn internalwar the Taliban won and now they control effectively almost the entire country. But because of Western vested interests the regime is not recognized by the international community. As such the Afghans today are an isolated community in the world.

How far the news spread by the Western media is correct is anybody’s guess. One suspects that most of it is only disinformation to give a dog a bad name to prepare a ground to kill him. It is difficult to rely on the information emanating from western sources. Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had once taken initiative to free the developing nations from strangle-hold of western news media and to establish an independent source of information, a news service, which was not followed up after her.

Afghanistan was once a country where Buddhism was widespread just as it was in India but then things changed and it became a Muslim country and Buddhism disappeared form Afghanistan just as it disappeared from India. During the Buddhist regime devotees carved out some magnificent Buddha statues in the rocks of the country. The two sculptures of Buddha at Bamiyan are supposed to be great pieces of art and part of the heritage of the entire humanity, so it is everybody’s duty to protect and preserve them.

The authorities of the government of Afghanistan find these statues in their own interpretation of Islam as conflicting with their view of their religion so they have decided to destroy them. Nobody can deny anybody's right to adhere to one's faith. But does Islam enjoin upon its followers to destroy history and artifacts of historical importance if it is not to one's liking. No, it is not so. It is everybody’s duty to try to preserve the heritage of historical importance.

Why the Taliban have resorted to this act of destruction? To a large extent the world community is responsible for this deparate action. The government and people of Afghanistan are ostracized and are isolated politically, economically, socially and culturally by the entire world community and they must be feeling the pinch. In this deparate situation this may be an act of desperation as they stand to lose nothing but will certainly draw the attention of the international community to them, and in that they have succeeded. One can as ask how the future generations of Afghans will think of it.

Not long ago we have witnessed in our own country, India, that a section of our people behaved in the same way as Taliban and fanatically destroyed a monument of historical importance. All these are results of wrong perceptions based on wrong precepts.
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