Sunday, April 18, 2010

Making mountain to a mole

Dear friends,

 We all have tested the sweater or bitter taste of arguments going on since last couple of weeks between “Kapilvastu Forum” and “The Himalayan Voice”. If the taste was bitter, what we think it was not the intention of the duo, but to bring the facts and to come forward with a piece of academic discussion. The “Kapilvastu Forum” has already submitted in its one of the posts “Buddha between two nations” that we love Nepal very much. Our intention is not to heart anybody, particularly the Nepal nationals who are very much patriotic and sentimental for their national interest.

But two parties when fall into debate, some un-deliberate bitterness take place. It often happens. We all should take it in sporting spirit. Let us start with a fresh mood and continue the discussion.

Before writing further, let some points to be clear. That “Kapilvastu Forum” team is neither adamant nor fundamentalist but we are the students of Archaeology and history and have experience in the field Archaeology, thus we are in a better position to understand the “Archaeological evidences” revealed from the excavations, in comparison to those “Historians” that have never seen the Archaeological trench but explain the evidences with “full authority”. An Archaeologist can always become a good historian but all the historians cannot always become an Archaeologist. We should understand the limits of those “Historians cum table Archaeologists” while going through their archaeological explanations. “The Himalayan voice” is in practice to refer the view of various historians and this time quoting on one from the Delhi University -“the discoveries of Piprahawa ‘should settle' the long standing debate over Kapilvastu. Well may be and here too, her usage of the phrase ‘should settle’ is something unclear”. We think we have nothing to say more than above in this regard. But trying to churn-out extra meanings from the ‘should settle’ phrase is nothing but the making mountain to a mole.

The “Beyond sense” term was first used by the “Himalayan voice” team and in reply we also used this term at couple of places; while criticizing their weak logic or act. “The Himalayan voice” has quoted in their post “And we do not believe writing an open letter that way to any person holding public office is a childish act. This kind of thinking itself is a childish thinking”. We used the “childish” term for writing an open letter without examining the veracity of (false) media reports, but not for writing to a public office bearer. You have all rights to write open or sealed letters to any public authority but it should not be motivated by baseless propaganda which a section of Nepalese media did on “Chaitra 3”.

The Himalayan voice has again done some mistakes while labeling “Beyond sense” on us. They have asked us that whether we have gone through “This report” and “This Article” (means the report and article of Mr. T N Mishra). Possibly they have overlooked or merely gone through our post otherwise it was clearly mentioned with page no. and name while discussing the excavation of Tilaurakot in the 7th Para of our last post. We have, certainly and seriously, gone through the report of Shri Taranand Mishra.  So nothing is “Beyond sense”; at least in our part. You should again, carefully and with peace of mind go through our last post and withdraw your comment on “Beyond sense”.

You have rightly said that a non-native always fails to understand what the native knows or understands of his language and culture.  Most of “Kapilvastu Forum” team members come from much closed areas to the Indo-Nepal border and bear the same language and culture what the Nepal Terai has. So, in terms of the Bhojpuri-Awadhi speaking part of Nepal Terai, we are also “Native”. Hence we understand the language, culture and even Archaeology of the region under discussion in a better way.

You and we, both have submitted that “let evidences speak”. There may be many views on the exact location of Kapilvastu or Lumbini and scholars have full freedom to put their views. But every view can be challenged with the help of evidences. This is what the meaning of “let evidences speak”. So no matter that some scholars in India accept or do not accept the birth place of Lord Buddha- Lumbini is in Nepal.  They may have some evidences and logic which may be further challenged with evidences.

Again on the epigraphy of Kapilvastu- the Himalayan voice has claimed in their last post that “We have also provided them with equally compelling inscription from our posting.” Possibly they are talking about a seal (or sealing) from Tilaurakot which is deciphered “Sa - ka - na – sya”. But, it does not certainly mean “belonging to Sakyas”. Since this seal is not clear and has some letters missing, it may be read as – ‘SANKARSANASYA’ – ‘of Sankarshana’.  Sankarshana is another name of Krishna’s elder brother Balram who was a member of chaturbyuha of Panchratra sect. The seal is not clear so nothing firmly can be stated about it. While the epigraphical evidences of Piprahawa are strong and in a successive chronological order starting from Pre-Mauryan period to the early Gupta period; as we have discussed in our last post. If there are some more epigraphical or any direct evidences available from Tilaurakot declaring the site “Kapilvastu” as in the case of Piparahawa or at Rumminidei for Lumbini; we request you to please bring them out for open discussion. Till that the Piparahawa will receive privilege to be called Kapilvastu.   Our aim is to come forward with the evidences and have discussion with open mind and not to pose any subjective view.

The Himalayan voice has called some Professors for helping them and urges them to re-check the date of relic caskets by C-14 or other methods. But as archaeologist we know that C-14 dating of the said relic casket is now not possible to be done but other methods are still reliable. One is the palaeography and another is the stratigraphical comparisons. You are not seen ready to accept these two methods of dating. However the palaeographical evidences are most authentic for dating and C-14 and other such methods are used where there is no direct evidence for the dating. The archaeological history is the witness that C-14 dating is often required attestation from other relative methods of Archaeological dating. In present case; demand is made for those articles that were unearthed before 112 and 40 years respectively. Can any Archaeo-Physicist able to do    C-14 dating of such articles? If so, please come forward to help them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


So Finally “The Himalayan Voice” has turned into a “Bitter voice”. The voice has charged us the followings in a harsh manner by using some unwarranted words.

1. The retrieved/excavated archaeological evidences from various archaeological holy sites of Nepal have not been taken into consideration.

2. Do not recognize/agree with Lumbini, the birth place of the
Buddha being in Nepal.

3- And we have reacted ‘beyond sense’ in our last post.

Let us categorically respond on the above points. First thing we have studied almost all the published materials on the archaeology of Nepali Terai. Secondly, we have clearly accepted the existence of Buddha’s birth place Lumbini in Nepal, which has been appreciated by the Himalayan voice team in their last post. And finally nothing “beyond sense” has been stated by the ‘Kapilvastu Forum’ as indicated by ‘The Himalayan Voice’ in the 3rd Para of its last post.

In fact this is ‘The Himalayan Voice’ team which has been continuously engaged at one or other occasions in doing something ‘Beyond Sense’. At one instance they made a lot of hue and cry that India is trying to forge another Lumbini at Aligadhawa in UP. This was followed by a childish action in the form of writing an open letter to the Governor of UP. Even the available ground facts were never taken into account. The archaeological sites of Piprahawa and Ganwaria located near Aligadhwa are centrally protected monuments/sites and are being maintained and control by the Archaeological Survey of India. No where in any cultural text these sites have been projected as Lumbini. This was beyond imagination and very fascinating that the “Scholars” associated with ‘The Himalayan Voice’ did not even thought to take pain to examine the truth and veracity of media reports. Based on media report they tried to create storm in a teapot.

Similarly, with out learning from the above cited blunder they are misinterpreting the text of inscribed seals and sealing retrieved from Piprahawa. The readings on these artifacts are widely accepted among the Archaeologists and historians. In our last correspondence we have categorically mentioned these seals and sealings in favour of Piprahawa being the site of Kapilvastu (please see last line of 2nd para of 7th April’s post). We cannot afford to ignore such important evidence. But in contrast to that the blame labeled by the ‘Himalayan Voice’ is it self “Beyond Sense”. The attitude simply reflects to their adamant and fundamental views. While interpreting the text only such silly points were raised which in turn would suit their fallacies aptitude.

Now, coming to Archaeological examinations carried out by some renowned scholars. Thanks God, that yourself you have accepted the forgery made by Mr. Fuhrer (the than Archaeological Advisor , Government of Nepal) which was subsequently caught red-handed by V.A.Smith - an historian having Imperial Approach who always of the view that the origin and source of every good thing found in east is a bi-product or has been from the west. Now again, highlighting to your ‘beyond sense’ talent you are again quoting something on the findings of W.C. Peppe and indirectly trying to say that the relic casket was originally found from Tilaurakot which was sold to a Burmese monk by Mr. Fuherer and the same was captured by Peppe and later he declared it found from Piprahawa Stupa ! Bravo. Please accept our heartiest congratulations for such proclamation. Really it needs applause from scholars. You are certainly a historian beyond at par and times spend for the study of the “Philosophy of history and historiography” would be just wastage of your precious time. Hence, we withdraw our counsels.

It is claimed that the city of Kapilvastu was situated on the bank of river Bhagirathi identified with present Banganga by a group of scholars. Taking the identification of the river into account some scholars has identified the large settlement at Tilaurakot as the ancient Kapilvastu. However the whole theory does not hold any substance because apart from ‘Dulva’( a Tibetian work of late 14th century AD) no other reference supports the location of Kapilvastu on the bank of river Bhagirathi. So Tilaurakot cannot take advantage of being located on the bank of river Banganga. 

The archaeological excavations at Tilaurakot throws light on the major structural activities taken place at the site from 2ndCent.B.C. onwards and continued up to the Kushana period (page 17 of T N Mishra). In contrast to this late structural activity, Piprahawa has yielded brick structures starting from C. 6th Cent. B.C.onwards.

Based on Epigraphical records Piprahawa has the privilege to be identified as Kapilvastu (vihare) but similar fortune we do not notice for the Tilaurakot or of other sites. The chronological order of epigraphical evidences is also interesting. The relic casket inscription has been dated to pre-Mauryan period. Whereas the seals and sealing revealed from Piprahawa are divided into three date groups on the basis of paleographic characters:

Group -I – C. 1st century B.C.
Group –II - C. 1st century A.D.
Group –III – 2nd - 3rd century AD

Putting these evidences in a sequence one can clearly see that Piprahawa is the only place where continuous succession of events supported by epigraphical evidence, seen through the ages–some time as the place for the ancestors of Buddha installing the relic casket containing body relics of Lord Buddha as mentioned in the Mahaparinivvan Sutta and sometime as ‘Kapilvastu vihar’ the abode for the Buddhist monks.

The Rumminidei pillar inscription of Asoka in the Luminigame which is known as the birth place of Buddha has great importance and it states that he had reduced the Bali tax from 1/6th to 1/8th. However all this never downplays the importance of Piprahawa epigraphical evidences. Visit of Emperor Asoka to Lumbini was of pure religious character and was nothing to do with political importance of Kapilvastu. It seems that much before the arrival of Mauryan dynasty in the political horizon of India Kapilvastu had lost its political influence. The site was only a religious place known for its religious edifies in the form of stupa and viharas such as the viharas of ‘Kapilvastu Bhiksu sanghas’ of Piprahawa.

The republics in ancient India were of small political setup having small capital town. The reason of declines of these republics was the political ambition of Magadha who started its political expansion soon after the death of Buddha in between the 5th – and 4th Cent .BC and subsequently, it happens to captured almost whole of the northern part of India. After that, up to the revival of Lichchavis (pre-Gupta period) on the political horizon none of the Republic could able to revive themselves. Their political significance was lost for ever. In this scenario, how does question arise about their royal palaces and capital set ups and how can we expect Tilaurakot developed as the capital city of Kapilvastu during Kushana period.

The question raised on the relative value of the epigraphical evidences revealed from Piprahawa comparing them with the Rumminidei inscription is also meaningless. We earlier have submitted that the Rumminidei inscription does not negate the importance of inscriptions from Piprahawa either by contents or by any means. Whereas, there is continuity of epigraphical evidence at Piprahawa starting from pre-Mauryan period (the relic casket inscription) and running through the ages as stated earlier. But Tilaurakot or any other site nearby does not have any such written evidence. Being the student of history and Archaeology we understand the importance of such evidences. Epigraphical evidences are always more reliable and authentic in comparison to the circumstantial evidences that Tilaurakot has.

So we would like to ask that why arguments are being placed to identify another place as Kapilavastu ? It is strange that the support for Piprahawa as Kapilvastu has earned for us a melodious term i.e. fundamentalist. Dear friend, neither we are adamant nor fundamentalist but talking about retrieved evidences. Please come up with evidence and jump to the scholarly battle with sporting spirit.

Kapilvastu Forum Team

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Buddha between two nations

"Kapilvastu Forum" has received comments from "The Himalayan voice" in our last blog posted on April 5th on their claim.They first, rather again and again raise the issue about Buddha's birthplace whether in India or in Nepal.In their response they insist "talking on the Buddha today". This is something beyond sense. Buddha is a historical personality born in the 6th cent. BC. in republic of Kapilvastu which was directly under subordination of the then Mahajapada of Koshal.Kapilvastu was one of the eight republics existed in the sixteen Mahajanpada's period.The whole present day Nepali Terai was under the control of either Koshal or Magadha Mahajanpadas. So Buddha was born in the territory of Koshal.What the "Buddha today" means? This is meaningless. When we are talking about the Buddha, means talking about the historical Buddha.And in the historical context Buddha was born at "Lumini game" in the Kapilvastu republic.The Himalyan voice has objection on "Indian Kingdom" term but they are happy enough to use the term present day Nepal !. The historical event is termed in a present days boundary. This is what a subjective historiography.Your term Nepal is right but our term Kapilvastu is wrong. Correct yourself. Our advise to you and your team to please study the "Philosophy of history and historiography" before commenting and explaining the historical facts.
Now some comments on epigraphy of Kapilvastu. The fact stated in the relic casket inscription of Piprahawa ( Sukiti bhatinam sabhaginikam saputdalnam iyam salilnidhane bhagawate bhudhas sakiyanam ) can not be compared with any incomplete and unclear evidence as quoted found from Tilaurakot that is " “Sa - ka - na – sya”. here it is not clear that this firmly written for "Sakya's" whereas it may be written as "Sankarsnasya"-means 'of the Sankarshana'. Because the contents of this seal is not clear so nothing firmly can be stated about this.If you compare the seals and sealing revealed in large amount from the excavations of Piprahawa with above seal from Tilaurakot, the position of Piprahawa becomes much strong and convincing to be the ancient site of Kapilvastu.
Nationalism is not bad thing, but it is a matter of pride, for both Indian and Nepalese. we love Nepal very much as our culture, language and even ethnic characters are somewhat similar. But some narrow minded people are more active in Nepal who always try to create baseless and false issues. God knows their aim behind it but certainly not to enhance the feelings of harmony for Indians among the Nepali public. That is why some ancient institutions have been recently attacked which working as cultural bridge between India and Nepal.The recent media report on Aligadhawa is just a little example of such mentality. This is the duty of us to make failure such attempts.

Kapilvastu Forum

Monday, April 5, 2010

On the claim of 'the Himalayan Voice'

A plenty of blogs had been posted by the Himalayan voice team under the behest of Dr. B K Rana, most of them are related with Lumbini, Tilaurakot and Aligadhwa- all are related to Buddhist circuit. Some of the statements of the several articles are inviting attention of the students of history. For example-
  1. they have objection on the statement that Buddha born in a small Indian Kingdom.
  2. that India is forging another Lumbini at Aligadhwa.
Their main point of objection is that there was no existence of India and Nepal at the time of Buddha born. This is correct. The political history of the area is very much interesting that the Nepalese terai was governed by the Koshal and and the many small republics including the Sakyas of Kapilvastu were under the direct subordination of the Koshal kings.This is why they compelled to marry a girl to Koshal king Passenadi who wanted to marry a Sakyan Girl. After their all unwillingness they could not deny and married a girl whose father was Sakya but mother was a home med.
Even the Rummindei inscription is a strong evidence of Political control of Pataliputra over the land of modern Nepalese terai.
Then how the Buddha was not from a small Indian kingdom?
The control of Indian kings further carried on over the nepal through the ages. Samudragupta clearly mentions his concurrence over Nepal as a Pratyant Rajya and Harsha also did the same thing.
---- the B K Rana and his company making another propaganda that India is forging another Lumbini at Aligadhwa. They clearly ignore the epigraphical evidences found from the excavations of Aligadhwa sites and with arguments they try to deny the fact that Piparahwa is the ancient site of Kapilvastu. I have gone through the press report of a Nepalese publication on Chaitra 3 which is full of wrong informations. Why the India will construct the Lumbini? Lumbini is very much in present day Nepal and in Aligadhwa the ancient Kapilvastu is situated. The Photo published in the paper is of Piprahawa -that is Kapilvastu. Mr. B K Rana should react carefully on the such narrow minded reportings.
And at the end The Himalayan voice published many articles which are not historically correct ,particularly one of the Srilankan person.