KATHMANDU, Aug 9: People from various walks of life in Nepal including politicians have lambasted Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar's recent claim that the Lord Buddha was Indian.
During a virtual event titled "India@75 Summit: Collaborating for a New Self-reliant India," on Saturday, the Indian foreign minister made the claim that Lord Buddha was Indian.
"Who are the greatest Indians ever that you can remember?" Jaishanker asked, adding, "I would say one is Gautam Buddha and the other is Mahatma Gandhi."
Taking strong exception to Jaishankar's statement, former foreign secretary Madhuraman Acharya tweeted "Some 2270 years ago, Indian Emperor Ashok erected a pillar at Lumbini in Nepal to mark the birthplace of Buddha. That monument stands taller than any self-aggrandizing claim to say that Budha was an “Indian”! Period !!"
He further adds, "If the enlightenment and preaching in India is to be used to claim that Buddha was an Indian, then most of the Rishi munis like Vyas, Valmiki and Patanjali who India claims to be their own are Nepalis because they meditated, wrote treatises and achieved moksha in Nepal !"
Former Chief Secretary Leela Mani Paudyal tweeted "Gautam Buddha is Nepali by birth, who was born in Lumbini, Nepal and Buddhism is the common heritage of humanity! Claim alone does not change the status of the greatest thinker and teacher of life and world in the past 3000 years of time."
Former Prime Minister and chief of the Foreign Relations Department of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, Madhav Kumar Nepal objected to Jaishanker's statement. He has urged the government to take up the matter with the Indian government.
The former prime minister expressed regret over the latest statement from the Indian foreign minister while recalling that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told the Nepali Parliament in 2014 that Buddha was born in Nepal.
Similarly, Nepali Congress spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma also took strong exception to the Indian foreign minister's claim.
"Lord Buddha was born in Nepal. We have reservations toward the Indian foreign minister Jaishanker's statement against historical facts that the land is in today's Nepal," he tweeted in Nepali.
He condemned the act of hurting the sensitivities of Nepal and Nepali people, saying it is not acceptable to his party.
Former commissioner at the National Information Commission Yashoda objected the Indian foreign minister's statement.
Infrastructure expert Surya Raj Acharya said that India should be grateful for Nepal-born Buddha's teachings on enlightenment.
"But the top diplomat engaging in a third-class propaganda shows that something is seriously wrong in the South Block. Instead of 'branding' Buddha as an Indian, time for SB to reflect on Buddhist teaching," Acharya tweeted.
Meanwhile, Ashok Swain, a professor of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden, criticized the Indian foreign minister for his remarks on Lord Buddha.
He tweeted "Gautam Buddha was a Nepali. This Modi gang only knows how to keep Modi happy and make neighbors angry." Social media folks are blasting Jaishanker for his remarks on Lord Buddha.