Every single assault targeting the Maha Bodhi targets India, says Tarun Vijay
Without an iota of doubt Buddha is the best and most acceptable introduction to India. And if his legacy and temple are attacked, every single Indian belonging to any caste, religion and province must stand up, get angry and help eliminate terror modules.
The same tribe of bombers did it in Bamiyan and poured bullets into the magnificent stone image of Buddha built around 1500 years ago. The cowards who can’t face the adversary in an acceptable method of war that is fought between humans but run to hide in Abbotabad’s holes till they are smoked out and given a water burial, find it sadistically convenient to fire on silent stone targets that can’t retaliate.
The Mahabodhi can’t be allowed to turn into a Bamiyan. Every bit of Bodh Gaya, every millimeter of the Mahabodhi, defines us, introduces the best of India and the greatest heights of our philosophy, faith and history ever achieved. There may be some elements who will certainly try this time too to communalise the incident, and indulge in a blame game.
And try to stand as a tall Indian, forgetting everything and concentrating on a faith that protects us all -- that is India. That is Bharat.
Be a Buddha and create a resolution that shows that we Indians are not the Indians of those times when individual gains of power weighed more than national security, when we sided with the enemies in pursuit of a few years of a kingdom, a few years in luxury.
Today all the Buddhist countries are looking to India for moral support and to forge a solidarity that would help them make progress and achieve peace.
Should we say ‘no’ to them to nurse our so-called fluctuating vote banks?
There was a Nehru who didn’t care for Chinese opposition and gave shelter to the Dalai Lama and his millions of followers from Tibet to keep the age-old tradition of India alive – to provide help to those who are persecuted and refused and are distressed.
India has had a late awakening to the Buddha.
But does the Buddha belong to us only till it helps us count tourism dollars and gain an ASEAN identity? Or is the Buddha genuinely us, genuinely our legacy and our ancestor, our father figure and our messenger of peace, revered all over this planet?
What is our contribution to stake claim to that legacy, if we cannot stand up today with all the power and strength that we can muster and challenge the attackers in no uncertain terms?
Every single assault targeting the Maha Bodhi is targeting India.
It’s of no use to cite the Myanmar, Sri Lanka conflicts and say the bombs at Bodh Gaya might be a spillover, a reaction to all that. It will be a cowardly, self-defeating argument.
First, we can’t allow any person, or group, to react against our close friends and spiritual brothers, if not blood brothers, from our soil. Second, these bombs are just another expression of the hate and intolerance that we have been facing since the last three decades.
If the time to forge national unity on this issue is not now, then when shall we ever emerge as a nation?
Tarun Vijay is a member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha; member, Parliamentary Consultative Committee on the Ministry of External Affairs; member, Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Human Resource Development; Member, Parliamentary Group on India China Friendship; honorary director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation