Swat Valley or Shrivastu as it was known earlier (and home of the Shrivastavas of the Indian Kayasthas), is known for the Buddhist relics of the Gandhara era. One of them is the cross-legged Buddha. Swat has also been Pakistan’s best ski resort.
It is now in news because the Islamists of the North West Frontier province want to blow the Buddha statue away just like the Taliban did to Bamiyan in Afghanistan. Strangely, not a word of protest has been heard from the Islamic world, intellectuals or activists whether in India, US, Pakistan or elsewhere. Same people who jump around in unabashed anger when a mosque is even touched, even if it has been built by a barbarian! Such is the hypocrisy and idiocy of the secular and "freedom of religion" world! These activists and pseudo-intellectuals are shallow, selective and scoundrels living in the society! If, and when the statue is brought down it would not just be because of the loud explosion from the explosives of the Islamic terrorists, but even the deafening silence of the "pacifists" will be equally responsible!
Pakistan government has not issued any statement. I never expected it to. Any religious legacy being destroyed is none of the concern anyways until of course it has to do with Sunni Islam.
This seven-meter cross-legged Buddha was built during the Gandhara era between the 6th century BC and 11th century AD and although was a major attraction in peaceful times, but recently has been abandoned of sorts due to really bad law and order situation in that area.
Swat valley is known as the probable place for Vajrayana Buddhism where one of the first statues of Buddha in human form was created. Ironically, it is now a place infested with sick minds that believe any statue – specially in human form – is blasphemous. This is why the fundamentalists have vowed to come back and destroy the statues completely proudly!
Khankhel, who said he met some of those involved, told HT over telephone: “They told me they will come again to complete the job. They were proud of what they had done. They said they considered it their religious duty.”
And I am suspecting that no one wants to come in the way of their religious duty anyways, as was the case during the Bamiyan Buddha statue destruction!
It is sad that the rich heritage of that land is now being lost of crazy minds. I find it so amazing that the areas which were once at the height of knowledge and spiritual exploration – Bihar and North West areas of Pakistan, are now in utter decadence.
It is said that the Swat was filled with fourteen hundred imposing and beautiful stupas and monasteries, which housed as many as 6,000 gold images of the Buddhist pantheon for worship and education. There are now more than 400 Buddhist sites covering and area of 160 km in Swat valley only. Among the important Buddhist excavation in Swat an important one is Butkarha-I, containing the original relics of the Buddha.