Where is India’s contribution to the museum showcasing Buddhism?

The Museum of World Buddhism in Kandy, established close to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, is a testament to the goodwill that Sri Lanka enjoys. Inaugurated at a former High Court Complex in May 2011, it aims to showcase the history of Buddhism.

Sixteen countries— India, Sri Lanka Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Maldives — had agreed to showcase exhibits from their countries in separate chambers at the museum. There are a variety of exhibits at the permanent pavilions of each country. But one chamber, the largest one, is empty. Yes, you guessed right: it is the Indian chamber.

As usual, there are many problems: the first related to budget, then questions raised over “inflated estimates.” “We are also in the process of setting up an Indian Gallery at the International Buddhist Museum at Sri Dalada Maligawa complex in Kandy. The MEA has signed an agreement with the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) in this regard and NSCM will be the implementing agency for this project,” says the Colombo Indian High Commission website.

A year and a half after the inauguration, there is no word on when India will get its act together. But there is one saving grace: a huge 16 ft replica of the Sarnath-style Buddha adorns the entrance to the Museum. This is a gift from India.

Keywords: Buddhist museum