Sunday, 26 February 2012

More on the Anti-Buddhist Vandalism in the Maldives

Further to our recent post "Maldives President Resigns - Buddhist Image Vandalised" this from TheBhutanese.......

Last December, the Maldivian government ordered the city counsel of Addu to dismantle the monument presented as a gift from Bhutan by the prime minister, Lyonchen Jigmi Y Thinley. The monument, unveiled by the prime minister there last November, was a wooden carving on which the mythical four friends (Thuen Pa Puen Zhi) were carved. The four friends were especially chosen since it reflected the cooperative spirit of the regional organisation.

Asked about the removal of the monument, including destruction of monuments from Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the director general for the Department of SAARC and Regional Organisation (DSRO,) Sonam Tshong, said, the vandalisation of the monuments was not directed against any of the SAARC member states.

“But for some reasons (we) had become a victim of the current domestic political unrest in the Maldives, he said.

The monuments were dismantled following a series of protests by certain quarters of the Maldivian society, claiming it were ‘idolatrous’ and was against Islam. The monument gifted by Pakistan was removed while the Sri Lankan monument (statue of a lion) was decapitated and that gifted by Nepal was stolen.

However, the Bhutanese monument was not vandalised and the local city officials have removed the monument for safekeeping. But reportedly, the monuments would not be reinstated soon if ever. The Sri Lankan high commission to Maldives asked the Maldivian government to return their monument if the latter is unable to take care of it.

The monument depicts the Buddhist parable of the Four Friends which tells that four animals were trying to find out who could be considered as being the oldest. The elephant said that the tree was already fully grown when he was young, the monkey that the tree was small when he was young, the hare that he saw the tree as a sapling when he was young and the bird claimed that he had carried the seed from which the tree grew. So the bird was recognised by the other animals as the oldest, and the four animals lived together in harmony, helping each other to enjoy the fruits of the tree.

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