Buddha Path in Indian foreign policy: the Government commemorates Sri Lankan revivalist’s 150th birth anniversary

Buddhagaya, India – It is heartening to learn the Governemnt of India is celebrating 150th Birthday anniversary of Anagarika Dharmapala in October. According to the Times of India, the high profile event will be opened in New Delhi with President Maithripala Sirisena of Sri Lanka travelling to India as its chief guest on 8th while main commemorative event will be held in hisorical Buddhagaya now known as Bodhgaya on 10th. President Sirisena will be accompanied by 150 top Sri Lankan Buddhist monks. Prior to the event, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has already released a stamp in comemoration of Dharmapala’s contribution to revival of Buddha’s message in India. The high profile event organising Government of India deserves applause by peace loving people all over the World.

Anagarika (meaning celebate for life) Dharmapala is particularly respected as the father of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism in Sri Lanka and as a founder of the Mahabodhi Society India. He has also been respected for his contribution to the inter-religious harmony and spread of Buddhism in the West since he travelled to the famous Chicago parliament of religions with Swami Vivekananda, to share the Buddha’s message of peace. Meanwhile, India has benefitted from Dharmapala’s comtribution to revive Buddhism in India, where former prince and ascetic Siddhattha became Buddha, who spent all his life teaching the path of peace. Dharmapala too spent second half of his life in India while contributing to the peace of India. It is worthy to note that the Indian Government is taking a greater advantage of Buddhism to promote bilateral relations with Sri Lanka. The scheduled events also remind us Prime Minister Modi’s effort to promote better relations with Nepal in the recent past. Speaking in the Parliament of Nepal, Modi had pointed out how Buddhism could contribute to promote relations between India and Nepal. Modi will be remembered as the first Indian prime minister who reminded the Government and the people of Nepal, that it is the land of Buddha’s birth that inspires many in the world including himself. Though Modi’s speeches confused some of those who interpreted Modi as tongue-twister. But the informed people know that his speeches definitely contributed to promote the message of peace taught by the Buddha.

Let us wish the Government and lovers of peace in India all the success in the events and appreciate their gratitude towards Anagarika Dharmapala, a great son of South Asia.

– Dr. Suwarn Vajracharya