Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Modern Approach in Humanities.
Year: 2018 | Page No:3-12
Cultural Heritage in Bangladesh
Dr. Suman Barua
This, of course, does not necessarily change the view that the Magadha King, Bimbisara, was the first influential convert to the faith group, but might suggest a late-in-life conversion of the monarch who ruled over the Kingdom, based in Patna, close to where The Buddha is said to have found enlightenment beneath a banyan tree. It has long been suggested that, under Bimbisara’s patronage, The Buddha was free to travel his realms, which are believed to have extended to, at least, the banks of the Old Brahmaputra River, half way across the lands that are now Bangladesh. The Emperor Ashoka, in the 4th century, famously, became a convert, too, and dedicated much of his later life to supporting propagation of the beliefs. His Empire, also based in Patna, probably spread even further eastward that Bimbisara’s, reaching, possibly, deep into Arakanese territory. There are, unquestionably, at least three respects in which the history of Buddhism is inextricably linked with Bangladesh. The development and propagation required financial and human resources, not least in the construction of the substantial Vihara and temples that abound across the Buddhist world. At the archeological sites in Bengal were neglected for a long time due to geographical difficulty, access to remote locations from the main centers of the subcontinent, and mostly lack of government support. Since the independence of Bangladesh (1971) the government has undertaken a number of field projects including exacvations. This work is providing fresh evidence about the mostly Buddhist archeological sites, and new aspects of Bangladesh’s cultural history. A year ago, tensions were on a razor’s edge in southeast Bangladesh, as Muslim mobs looted and vandalised 19 Buddhist temples and monasteries. The government of the Muslimmajority nation renovated and reconstructed all the temples and monasteries, drawing praise from across the region.
It is noteworthy to mention that archeological researches in Bangladesh are asking the mention the government for increased budgetary allocations in order to preserve the important cultural heritage sites in this country. And with good reason- Bangladesh is somewhat of a forgotten repository of the South Asian Buddhist heritage, and it is high time that its sites are given the attention and care they deserve.
Keywords: Emperor Ashoka, Monastery, Cultural Heritage, Archeology, Bengal.