Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Shabdrung Statue from Asiatic Society in Kolkata, India. An article by Tshering Tashi ( Kuensel issue 31.12.16.

The writer has much  knowledge about so many historic events of Bhutan. One can get so much education from him. I also read more about this statue in the social media.

So Captain Hidayat Alli bestowed his war loot with the Asiatic Society. I thought this Asiatic Society was a legal and respected Institution. Little did I suspect that this society is a safe keeper of war loot. I wonder if Asiatic Society has Nazi war loot paintings. I read of cases where very valuable paintings looted by Hitler people from private individuals/ sovereign nations during WWII have been returned to rightful owners.

Asiatic Society and Government of India know very well that the statue never rightfully and legally belonged to that Captain. He took it as a war loot/ trophy. The rightful and legal owner is the Central Monastic Body of the Kingdom of Bhutan.

If it was returned to Bhutan that is great. But why did Bhutan accept it on loan? How can Bhutan sanctify the wrong doing of that Captain and the Asiatic Society? Are we really so badly short of Shabdrung statues? Is any Shabdrung statue more holier or precious than the Kham Sum Singye that is said to be moulded by Shabdrung himself to represent him after his own mortal death? 

What is a statue even of Lord Buddha without the " zung". It is just a piece of sculpture. One values it for its sculpture and work of art value and monetary price. Not spiritual value.  Does Bhutan need another excuse to bow in gratitude to other powers? Bhutan never acknowledged the late said to be Shabdrung incarnate that Indian  Government took from Tawang during Sino Indian 1962 war and brought up by Government of India. So why hunger over a bronze product that was not even crafted by Shabdrung?

I feel that the management authority of Asiatic Society should examine their conscience and make the right moral and legal decision to return the statue to its rightful owner " The Central  Monastic Body of Bhutan'.  A war looter can never be acknowledged as the rightful owner of war loots. I think both that Captain and Asiatic Society have been amply rewarded. The " zung" of such a statue would consist of at least one golden Chenrezi statue, cat eye, red corals and other precious gems in addition to holy mantras. Asiatic Society acknowledges to be in possession of only the mantra script paper rolls. Damn convenient.

To answer Tshering Tashi's query about a large enough structure to house such a statue at Bhutan Duars. Yes, there was a Dzong. After it fell into British hands, Bhutan built a replacement under Samtse Dzongkgag ( Tendu Sibsoo). And it was called Dzong Sarpu ( meaning new fortress).    

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