Hyderabad: Energy minister G. Jagadish Reddy on Sunday compared the Telangana statehood agitation with Buddhism due to the impact it is having on society.
Participating in Buddha Sangiti-2019 on Sunday at the Marri Chenna Reddy Human Resource Development, Mr Reddy said he has been associated with Buddhism since his childhood days in Phanigiri. After the formation of the state, the government was keen to promote Buddhism through the 270-acre Buddhavanam project at Nagarjunasagar, which would grabbed national and international attention. “As we are living in an age where human relations are in a fragile state, Buddhism is the need of the hour," he said.
Commenting on the potential of Buddhist tourism in Telangana, Mr M.A. Srinivasan, research scholar and consultant at Buddhavanam, said that, tragically, Buddhist tourism is not focused in the southern part of India. He said every ruler who invaded the land concentrated in promoting their own religion. Especially post the sixth century, Buddhism lost it roots.
Mr Srinivasan said that ever since the Nizams of Hyderabad introduced an archaeology department, Buddhist sculptures and Ajanta caves had been properly conserved. “After the merger of Telangana state with Andhra Pradesh, all Buddhist sites were neglected. However, the Telangana state government is now concentrating on conservation of Buddhist monuments. Sculptures at Phanigiri in Nalgonda, elakondapalli in Khammam and Dhulikatta in Karimnagar were designated prominent Buddhist artifacts and sites. With the Buddhavanam project, they will be converted into not only spiritual but also educational centres. The state government is taking this initiative to bring international Buddhist tourists to the 27 Buddhist sites so far identified in Telangana," Mr Srinivasan said.
“Because of the Varna or caste system, the upper castes, who are ritualistic in their worship and controlled society with ritualistic practices, were more scared of Buddhism because Buddhism speaks about equality and has a more humane ideology. This was a threat to their control over society,” said retired history professor Saraswati S. “The sabotage has taken many decades to defuse. It is a call to wake up from the slumber of hatred and inner conflict and take up the teachings of Buddha in this great land.”
“India is in need of Buddhism, not only our country, but the world has to embrace the great ideology of Gautama Buddha. There is so much pain and crying all over the globe. This will be a great medication to heal the wounds of humanity,” said Ch. Shalini, who is studying for the civil services exam and was present at the seminar.