Bud­dhist paint­ings taken off Vi­jayawada air­port

Deccan Chronicle - - POLITICS - PATRI VA­SUDE­VAN I DC

Around 150 paint­ings de­pict­ing Lord Bud­dha’s life story on ply­wood have been re­moved from the Vi­jayawada In­ter­na­tional Air­port ter­mi­nal.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, this de­ci­sion was re­port­edly taken by the Air­port Author­ity of India (AAI) after the Cen­tre re­ceived com­plaints re­gard­ing the dis­play of Bud­dhist paint­ings at the air­port de­spite Vi­jayawada and Amar­a­vati hav­ing fa­mous Hindu shrines.

Around 400 paint­ings, in­clud­ing the Bud­dhist paint­ings and paint­ings de­pict­ing Amar­a­vati’s cul­ture and her­itage, each five feet in height, were put up the air­port in Jan­uary 2016 based on Chief Min­is­ter N. Chan­drababu Naidu’s di­rec­tions to dis­trict col­lec­tor Babu A.

The Dalai Lama came to the air­port around the time of its in­au­gu­ra­tion in Fe­bru­ary this year as part of his visit to Amar­a­vati and was ap­pre­cia­tive of the state gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to high­light the her­itage of the re­gion.

Now, all the paint­ings have been re­moved from the ter­mi­nals. Air­port direc­tor Mad­husu­dana Rao said that there is no spe­cific rea­son for the re­moval of the paint­ings, and added that the air­port wanted to al­lot the space for com­mer­cial dis­plays.

It was said the AAI and the Union min­istry of civil avi­a­tion (MoCA) had re­ceived RTI ap­pli­ca­tions want­ing to know why Bud­dhist cul­ture had been given more promi­nence than the Kanakadurga tem­ple at Vi­jayawada and the Amar­alingeswara Swamy tem­ple of Amar­a­vati.

In­stead of re­ply­ing, the AAI chose to is­sue oral di­rec­tions to the air­port to re­move the paint­ings, and thus spark­ing a con­tro­versy.

Bud­dhist scholar Kathi Padma Rao said, “The CM should main­tain an equi­lib­rium by al­low­ing paint­ings por­tray­ing the syn­chro­ni­sa­tion of Bud­dhist and Andhra cul­tures to be dis­played.”

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