December 12, 2011

WAS KAPILESWAR OF BHUBANESWAR THE BIRTHPLACE OF GAUTAM BUDDHA?

[In the field of research particularly in the historical and archaeological spheres artificial sources are being largely  used in Orissa and there is no systematic effort to end such process. Some newspapers in Orissa do not ponder over the fake documents and being excited by their sudden discovery make them the highlights. In the colonial phase and also in the post-colonial phase the use of fake documents on the Orissa History was supported by many elites of Orissa. But this type of discovery and research do not help in unraveling the dark past of Orissa; on the other hand it destroys scientific temper of history. The location of the birth-place of Gautama Buddha in Orissa may be an interesting news for the enthusiastic Oriyas, but considering the vastness of original sources in  favour of the location in Nepal Tarai or Piprahwa the location of the birth-place of Buddha in Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar seems only a  regional adventure and is not based on real discovery of  reliable documentary evidence  and research. (Please click here for the author's another paper.) - The Blogger]

                                                                                      By Kailash Chandra Dash
More than twenty-five hundred  years after Gautam, the Buddha was born to Mayadevi in the Lumbini grove, archaeologists were on the verge of  pinpointing the spot where he had grown up. The exact location of Kapilavastu where the Sakyamuni`s father Suddhodana had his palace has been a point of debate for the scholars of Buddhism and indologists. As early as 1861 when Sir Alexander Cunningham, the noted archaeologist and indologist, started to explore the sites of North India the archaeologists began to make considerable research on the exact location of Kapilavastu. Cunningham read the accounts of the Chinese pilgrims and stated that Kapilavastu was located  eighty miles  to the south-east  of Sravasti. He located Sravasti at the deserted Set-Mahet near Balarampur in Gonda district. Eightymiles south east he heard of a town called Nagar Khas in Basti district and believed it to be a varient of Kapilanagara. His assistant A.C.Carlleyle who followed him in 1876 did not find any ruins in Set-mahet and so travelled another eighteen miles and reached Bhuilatal, bristling with brick mounds on the banks of the Rawai. He located the site as Kapilavastu which Cunningham also accepted. Towards the end of the 19th century Dr.Alois Anton Fuhrer, a German archaeologist working for the British in India,believed on the basis of Buddhist literature that Kapilavastu might not have been as flat as the Indian Terai and looked further north. He suggested that Kapilavastu town should be on the western bank of Rohini. He identified Rohini with Jamuar flowing past Tilaurakot and located the ruins of a town on its western bank. Tilaurakot remained the accepted Kapilavastu for six decades. Other historians accepting the view of Debala Mitra from 1961 thought that Piprahawa of the district of Siddharthanagara of Utter Pradesh was the Kapilavastu of Buddha. Although there is controversy on the exact location of Buddha`s homeland Kapilavastu-in Piprawaha or Tilaurakot, all historians and archaeologists generally agree that it was in existence somewhere in Nepal. The discovery of a votive record of Ashoka`s pilgrimage to the village of Lumbini in an inscription on a stone pillar found in Rummindei of Nepal Terai zone in 1896 further confirmed it. Rummindei is about a mile to the north of the village of Parariya, which is about two miles north of Bhagawanpur, the head-quarters of the Nepalese tahsil of that name and about five miles to the north east of Dulha in the British district of Basti.(Mitra 1929:728) The recent insightful work of Charles Allen entitled The Buddha and Dr Fuhrer AnArchaeological Scandal indirectly supports the thesis that Buddha was bornsomewhere either in Nepal or on the border of the undivided Utter Pradesh.(Allen 2010)   But after about thirty-one years of the discovery of Rummindei inscription a copy of the same inscription was found in Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar, the  present capital of Orissa. This stone inscription(silaphalaka) was brought to public notice by Haran Chandra Chakaldar of the Calcutta University and it was procured in about March 1928 by Birendranath Ray for his museum at Puri from the village of Kapileswar. This discovery of the stone inscription in 1928 created a belief that Buddha was born in Kapilavastu which was near Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar. The issue of the homeland of Buddha in Orissa was lively in the phase of the articulation of Oriya identity and the formation of the separate province of Orissa in the 1920s and 1930s and the nationalist writers and  historians were attracted towards this issue for a long time. The issue continued to attract the notice of the nationalists even after Oriya identity found proper articulation and in the 1970s it became a central point of debate in Orissa.Interestingly this issue is lively in Orissa in the 21st century and some scholars and nationalist writers in Orissa claim Bhubaneswar as the homeland of Gautama Buddha. Therefore in this paper  two important aspects have to be studied.

A description of the views and opinions of the historians and the nationalist writers from 1928 till to-day on the homeland of Buddha in Bhubaneswar on the basis of Kapilesvar inscription.2-The rejection of the  claim of the nationalist writers for Bhubaneswar as the homeland of Buddha on the basis of several arguments and documents.

The main purpose of the paper is to address on the unscientific and artificial way of writing history in Orissa (fabricating history) when the trends of historiography have taken a very rational and unbiased approach in the world on the basis of this issue on the homeland of Buddha

An inscription was discovered in March 1928 from Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar. In Utkala Dipika of 21st July 1928 Bhagaban Pati, an important Oriya nationalist, for the first time, directed the attention of the Oriyas on the significance of this stone inscription. At that time Pati was very eager to articulate the identity of the Oriyas and wanted to establish the home-land of Jayadeva in Orissa against the Bengali claim. So suddenly he was attracted to an Indian issue by the discovery of this stone inscription from Bhubaneswar. He wrote in the issue of Utkala Dipika on 21st July-That Buddha who had shown the ways to this superstition-led India, was once a native of Utkala(Jane Utkaliya thile).This fact was forgotten by all the Oriyas. He stated that this inscription was on the wall of the Jagamohana of the Lingaraja temple of Bhubaneswar.In this inscrption Buddhadeva has been described as a native of Utkala. He further appealed to all the united nationalist historians of Utkala(Utkalara Jatiya Aitihasikagana dalavaddha hoi) to highlight this issue of the homeland of Budddha in Utkala. Pati again in the issue of Utkal Dipika of 1st September 1928 revised his views on the newly discovered inscription and stated that this insctiption was not discovered from the wall of the Lingaraja temple, but it was discovered from the village of Kapilesvara near Bhubaneswar-Lingaraja. He was very much distressed then that the issue could not attract the notice of any one of the historians of Orissa. He insisted in that issue that instead of individual effort united or collective effort should be undertaken for the discussion of this serious issue. He also stated that the historians had concentrated on the discovery of the Rummindei inscription from Nepal Tarai and had claimed Nepal as the birth-place of Buddha on the basis of that inscription. Even some Bengalis had also declared Buddha as a Bengali on the basis of this inscription by showing many arguments in their favour. He did not accept the views of the Bengali historians after the discovery of the inscription from the village Kapileswar. He had also stated that  the Kapileswar stone inscription which was in Brahmi  character, refers to the village Lumbini and that Lumbini was not Rummindei of Nepal,but it was Lembani Pragana of Bhubaneswar.Pati by expanding speculation and nationalistic articulation then demanded Bhubaneswar as the birth-place of Buddha.His issue was discussed and debated in Oriya papers and magazines like Utkala Sahitya,Sahakara and Asha. The participants who supported and contested the issue were Lakshmi Narayana Sahu, Satyanarayana Rajaguru, Kedarnath Mohapatra and Jalandhar Deb.

In the Oriya newspaper Asha of May 5 1929 there was an aricle entitled “Nepal cannot be the homeland of Buddha”which was contested by Jalandhar Deb from Bamanda in the Utkala Sahitya(monthly magazine in Oriya) in a separate focus.(Utkala Sahitya,Vol.35,No-4,Shravana,Sala 1338) In that article he  had also criticised the view of Satyanarayana Rajaguru which was published in an issue of the Utkala Sahitya which claimed the birthplace of  Buddha in Orissa. Deb had clearly stated in that aricle-Two thousand one hundred and eighty years after the Lumbini inscription by Ashoka the inscription of Ashoka was discovered in the village of Kapileswar in Orissa like the origin of many new Siva-lingas in the different places of India. But by the origin of the new Siva-lingas in India the significance of the Siva-lingas like Bishweswar, Rameswar,Vaidyanath and Kedareswar cannot be under-rated. Similarly the newly discovered stone inscription of Kapileswar would not tarnish the value of Lumbini inscription. Such an attempt would be a vain effort and such effort to highlight the stone inscription of Kapilswar  would be faulty and harmful to the scientific study of history. Then Deb after showing many arguments declared in the focus that the Kapileswar stone inscription was a fake one. Pandit Satyanarayana Rajaguru was in favour of the opinion that the newly discovered Ashokan inscription refers to the birth-place of Gautam Buddha in a village near Bhubaneswar.(Utkala Sahitya,Vol.35,No-2,Jyeshta,Sala-1338) He further stated that the Bengali historians could not accept this inscription as an original document and that they had taken it as a false copy of the original inscription found from Rummindei of Nepal. He had blamed the  historians of Orissa for not showing interest on the research of this aspect of Buddhism. Rajaguru in that focus clearly stated that in view of the Khandagiri Mahatmya and the spread of Buddhism in Orissa the fact of the stone inscription discovered from Bhubaneswar was true. If we  do not accept  the inscriptions and copper plate grants ,then on which evidence the ancient history would stand?-it was his question.

Kedarnath Mahapatra in Sahakara(Vol-13,No-4) in his article on the birth-place of Buddha stated-Some historians have accepted Bhubaneswar as the birth-place of Gautam Buddha on the basis of the newly discovered inscription from Bhubaneswar. He also stated that by hook or by crook we cannot establish the birth-place of Buddha in Bhubaneswar. on the other hand by attempting to falsify the well-established historical truth the glory of our race would be lost. He further stated that no true historian`s task was to create confusion in the domain of history. He had taken the inscription from Bhubaneswar as a copy of the old Lumbini inscription of Ashoka. It does not refer to the Birth-place of Gautam Buddha in Bhubaneswar. He concluded that the false propaganda on the basis of the newly discovered inscription was an indication of narrow nationalism(sankirnna Jatiyata).On the basis of the following cogent arguments Mahapatra had presented the issue in his focus.

1- There is no historical evidence to accept the Lembai Pragana near Bhubaneswar as a corrupt     form of Lumbini-the real birth place of Buddha. On the other hand Rummeli grama(village) has been stated in Buddhist literature as a corrupt form of Lumbini.

2- It is not at all good on the part of the archaeologists to enter into revolution in the domain of history(Samagra Itihasa Rajyare biplava  srusthikariva) by  relying   only on a copy of another inscription without paying any attention to hundreds of well-established evidences.

3- Lakshmi Narayana Sahu in the previous year(the year before the publication of the article of Mahapatra in Sahakara) had accepted Buddhesvari near Bhubaneswar standing as a memorial to the birth-place of Buddha in Bhubaneswar.But Mahapatra rejected this argument on the ground that like Buddheswari of Bhubaneswar  there are places like Buddhanath of Bodakhandi and Buddhesvara of Tigiria. In Orissa many places are connected with the image and temple of Buddha.Hence Mahapatra argued that it is not proper to accept Buddhesvari Thakurani as an evidence of the birth of Buddha in Bhubaneswar. Buddhesvari temple was a medieval structure and it did not belong to the time of Buddha. Hence a historian should not tarnish the true image of generally accepted and well-established historical truth only on the basis of a simple place-name similarity-it was the verdict of Mahapatra then.

There were many other focuses on the birth-place of Buddha in Bhubaneswar on the basis of the newly discovered inscription from Kapileswar in the nationalist phase in colonial Orissa by the enthusiastic Oriyas in the newspapers and literary magazines in Orissa. Of course many persons did not accept this type of nationalistic arguments then.

After the news of the discovery of the inscription from the village Kapileswar Professor Haran Chand Chakaldar had  at first directed the attention of the archaeologists and epigraphists to it. On that aspect he had published first an article in Bengali Pravasi in July 1928,(Pravasi,Shravana,Vikrama Sambat-1335).Thereafter Rama Prasad Chand in another article in Prabasi in October 1928 had accepted this inscription as a fake one. In June 1928 the colonial Government became eager to know about this inscription. The correspondence in this respect of Dayanidhi Das, the Collector of Puri, to the Secretary(Revenue Department) to Government of Bihar and Orissa of 5th November 1928 was very interesting.(Board of Revenue Documents,No-8125 of Puri District Office,Bihar Orissa Files incorporated with Acc No.9186,File No-1 of 1928,Orissa State Archives,Bhubaneswar)

The report states-”on enquiry it was found that the stone slab in question containing inscription of the Ashoka edict was lying in the museum of one B.N,Ray,Contractor,Balukhand,Puri. On notice issued on him he produced the treasure before me and stated that he had purchased it for Rs.8 from one Brajabandhu Mishra of Kapileswar, P.S.Bhubaneswar. The latter admitted having sold the stone slab in question to this contractor for Rs.8.He further stated that it was being kept in the Thakur Ghar(where family god is being worshipped) of his house since the time of his forefathers. I then held a detailed enquiry into the matter on the spot and saw for myself the place where it was said, the slab was being kept. I enquired from the neighbours of Brajabandhu Mishra and all of them were unanimous that the stone slab was being kept in the Thakur Ghar of Brajabandhu from a very long time as his ancestral property and not kept concealed from any outsiders. From the facts revealed on enquiry I am satisfied that the stone slab in question was not hidden in the soil and it was sold to B.N.Ray,Contractor of Puri,who has got a museum at Puri, for Rs.8 by the owner Brajabandhu Mishra. As the value of the slab is less than Rs.10 and as it was not hidden in the soil, it does not come under the definion of “Treasure” as defined by Sec 3 of Act No-VI of 1878 and Sec-16 of the Act is therefore not applicable in this case.B.N.Ray,the possessor of the slab was asked by me to sell it to Government but he expressed his unwillingness to part with it as he intends to retain it as an exhibit at his museum at Puri.A copy of this report was forwarded to the Commissioner of the Orissa Division,Cuttack for information.(With reference to his office Memo No.1362 dated 24-7-1928)

The report contains two important points for our study. Firstly it states that the stone inscription from Kapileswar was not discovered from the ground. It was not a part of a stone pillar as was the case with Rummindei inscription. It was kept inside the Thakur Ghar of Brajabandhu Mishra. Hence there is reason to doubt its antiquity and originality. An inscription of the phase of Ashoka is not expected to be kept  in a private house  from the archaeological point of view. Secondly the point of the stone slab being kept in the Thakur Ghar of Brajabandhu Mishra for generations cannot be relied upon. This is because in 1972 before his death Nirmal Kumar Bose had declared the story of the making of the inscription which was thus a fake one.(See in this respect the article of Umacharan Mohanty in Orissa Historical Research Journal,Vol.XXII,No-2,1976)

In 1929 there was great research on this inscription and an article was published by S.N.Mitra in Indian Historical Quarertly(Vol.V,No-3 and 4) Mitra stated in his article-”Since the publication of Chand`s note on the new find(Pravasi,oCtober 1928) doubting the genuineness of the record, the general impression has been that it is a forgery. Those who have read his note which is in Bengali,will,we think,agree with us that he has cast a doubt without a sifting examination of individual letters of the inscription in relation to one another as also to the other Ashok inscriptions,particularly those in South India,which are incised in Brahmi by a scribe whose habitual script was Kharoshthi. If our contentions bear scrutiny,that is to say,if there occurs between the two devices a word represented by three Kharoshthi letters,whether may be its final reading and interpretation,then the whole question as to the genuineness or otherwise of the Kapileswar record will have to be reopened and approached in the light of the new aspect that it has now gained.” Mitra had accepted the Kapileswar inscription as one of the possible additional records at Lumbini. He further contended that the additional inscribed stone slab was removed from Lumbini to Orissa. He cited the example of Kharavela and his inscription at Khandagiri near Bhubaneswar. The inscription of Kharavela states that the latter triumphantly brought back to Kalinga the seat of Jina, the pride of the people of Kalinga which had been carried off no doubt as a trophy by one Nanda Raja. Whatever the size or  the material of the Jinasana,the fact remains that it was in that distant age carried from and back to Kalinga as a signal proof of victory.In the case of the Kapileswar stone slab,even without imagining a contest of rival kings bringing about its transference , we can fancy the possibility of its removal under quieter circumstances,say for instance,by some pious pilgrim or chance visitor. He has commented that by whatever tests,the Kapileswar record be judged,whether of palaeography or of orthography,or of the Kharoshthi colophon,or of the possibility of multiplication of records,or of the chances of trasport,one cannot see eye to eye with Chanda in respect of the charges he has preferred against the document.

In 1940s there was great debate on this inscription. Chakradhar Mahapatra in 1947 in an address in Parlakhemundi College had demanded Orissa as the homeland of Gautam Buddha. In 1960 he had also described Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar as the birth-place of Buddha in the newspaper The Samaj. In fact it was Chakradhar Mahapatra who brought to wider focus the old issue of the birth-place of Gautam Buddha in Kapileswar. Following him there was wide discussion of this topic in Orissa claiming Kapileswar as the birth-place of Gautam Buddha in the newspapers in Oriya in the 1970s.

1- In 1970 in the Sriram Chandra Bhavan of the Utkal Sahitya Samaj Chakradhar Mahapatra presented a paper on the real  birth-place of Gautam Buddha in a meeting. In the paper he had stated-There are two inscriptions as yet on the birth-place of Gautam Buddha. One was discovered in 1896 as a pillar inscription from Nepal Tarai. The other was a stone inscription  from Kapileswar of Bhubanswar in 1928.In the Kapileswar stone inscription the name of the scribe and the term Parinirvana of Buddha are present and  Chakradhar Mahapatra taking the purport of the stone inscription and other evidence into consideration had proved that Buddha was born in the village of Kapileswar in Utkala.Pandit Binayak Mishra,Kalindi Charan  Panigrahi,Surya Narayana Das,Kahnu Charan Mohanty and Sridhar Mahapatra had participated in this debate. Sridhar Mahapatra had even agreed to provide fund for the publication of the views of Mahapatra in an English article for wider circulation. The president of the meeting Manoranjan Das had accepted this paper presentation by Mahapatra as a real memorial  for the Sahitya Samaj.(Samaj,April 7,1970,p.8)

2- On third May 1970 the first session of the Buddhist Congregation was held in Kapileswar  with Radhanath Rath,the editor of the Samaj,as the president. The historian Kedarnath Mahapatra was the cheif guest and  Chakradhar Mahapatra  was the cheif speaker. The president Rath had stated-It is not wise and proper to avoid the issue of the birth of Buddha in Kapileswar. It is also not proper to accept it without proper consideration.Its real research is necessary. In the meeting Chakradhar Mahapatra had given evidence  for the birth of Buddha in Kapileswar. On this issue Kedarnath Mahapatra had stated-The arguments of Chakradhar Mahapatra need considerable attention. Hence in this zone archaeological excavation is very necessary for the justification of the view on the birth-place of  Buddha in Utkala.(Samaj,May 6,1970)

3- On 25th may 1970 on the occasion of the Buddha Jayanti there was a great meeting in Cuttack Town hall on behalf of the Hitakari Sansad with Prananath Mohanty,I.A.S. as the president. The chief speaker Chakradhar Mahapatra was  absent in the meeting for some unavoidable reason and so he had sent his paper entitled “The Life-history of Buddha Deva and the location of his Birth-place” to be presented in the meeting. It was presented by his son Bharatendu Sundar Rajaguru Mahapatra. In that article Mahapatra had stated-The Mallas of Kusinagar had settled in Kapileswar bringing with them the remains of dead Buddha.They had worshipped Buddha after constructing a stupa there. In the meeting Gopinath Das had stated-the inscription discovered from Kapileswar needs a thorough study and verification.(Prajatantra,28th May,1970)

The views presented by Chakradhar Mahapatra on the birth-place of Buddha in Kapileswar at diffefrent platforms were then supported by Sudhakara Pattnaik,Radhanath Rath,the editor of Matrubhumi,Professor Manmathanath Das and even Kedarnath Mahapatra who was a strong contester of this view in 1928.But the great historian and archaeologist Professor Krushna Chandra Panigrahi and Harekrishna Mahatab both strongly contested this view.Mahatab on 21st may 1970 on the occasion of the Buddha Jayanti in a meeting at Bauddha Vihar in Bhubaneswar delivered a speech and said-It is unfortunate that some people  are expressing baseless and irrational opinion on the issue of the birth-place of Buddha.(Prajatantra,May22,1970)On the issue of the birth-place of Buddha Panigrahi had strongly supported the view that Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar could not be the birth-place of Buddha. He further contended that if it was so the Buddhists of the world every year would have come to Kapileswar in stead of Lumbini. There is no lack of historical and other related  evidence to justify Lumbini as the birth-place of Buddha The Kapileswar inscription was only a copy of the Ashokan inscription at Lumbini and it was brought to Orissa  from Lumbini by a Buddhist pilgrim who had gone to visit Lumbini.(Anyatha,Samanvaya Mukhapatra,Rourkela,1971)

Chakradhar Mahapatra was responsible in the 1970s for the spread of the view that Buddha was born in Kapileswar and ultimately his views were incorporated in the form of a book in English entitled The Real Birth-Place of Buddha which was published in 1977. In that book he  had presented  an elaborate study on the birth-pace of Buddha in Kapileswar and had given many arguments for the purpose. Some of his arguments have been presented here for contestation.

1- Buddhadeva was born in a Sakya village in the Lumbini region. Lumbini and Kapileswar were the parts of Toshali. Still now we find the names and regions Lembai and Kapileswar in Orissa.The stone inscription had been discovered from the Kapileswar village.

2- Ashoka constructed  the pillar in Kapilavastu where Buddha`s birth-rites were performed. But the forest area where Buddha was really born,later on became famous as Bhubaneswar which actually is one of the names of Buddha.Still this Bhubaneswar is present and has now become the capital of Orissa.Buddha took birth 2540 years ago. It is really surprising that even now one can notice the names of Deogan for Devadaha,Kothadesh for Kola,Lembai for Lumbini,Kapileswar for Kapilavastu which give sufficient proof that Buddha was born here.

3- As Buddha,after his renouncement was accompanied by Chhandaka the groom(Sarathi),the Sakya king Suddhodana named the village of Chhandaka as Chandaka which still exists .

4- Like the name Devadaha there are Patiadaha,Chudangadaha,Amsupadaha.Deogan was previously Devadaha.

5- It is described in the Jataka that Buddha adopted Sannyasa or asceticism on the bank of the river Anoma.Anoma means An-Avam,i.e.,which is not a small one;so it is very great or the Mahanadi,i.e.,Maha-great +nadi(river).In course of time the river Anoma(anomanadi) was changed to Manada and then again it was called Mahanadi. From Kapilavastu(Kapileswar) Buddha crossed the river Mahanadi and went to Magadha through Keonjhar of Orissa. That road can be seen even now.

6- According to the last words of Buddha,the Mallas were the possessor of his ashes and bones. A stupa was built in his birth-place Kapilavastu and the ashes and bones were kept there. And the Mallas migrated with their kins to worship the relics of Buddha there. It is very amazing that the Mallas belonging to the Bashistha clan are still to be seen in Kapileswar village of Orissa. They are now known as Malias.

7- Buddha accompanied by his wife,son and some new disciples entered Magadha, after going through Pipili(Paipilla,Nimapada(Nimvaputta),Gopa(Maitreya Vana afterwards Konakamana),Kakatapura(karkativana),Kujang,Paradwipa,Jambudwipa,Mahakalapada,Lalitagiri,

Ratnagiri,Udayagiri,Jajpur,Dhamnagar,Bhadrak,Anandpur,Keonjhar,Champua,Chainbasa and Kharswan.Many stupas discovered in these places testify to the fact that Buddha had followed this route.

In this way Chakradhar Mahapatra by accepting the stone inscription from Kapileswar as the original inscription of Ashoka,by identifying and accepting several places of Orissa with the sites described in Buddhist Jatakas and Pitakas and by presenting vague arguments and facts had accepted Kapileswar as the birth-place of Gautam Buddha. Any reader who once goes through the text of Mahapatra will be convinced at once that his conclusions are based on weak arguments and supported by references having no historical reliability. Deeper regionalism and sub-nationalistic thought have overshadowed his thesis. Vain arguments, and artificial ideas and unbridled speculative statement do not help us in entering into the door of history. One can imagine history ,but that can serve the purpose of a creative fellow. It does not appeal to the historian having scientific ideas and fact. It is interesting that even after the nationalistic phase of Orissa history is over and has lost its relevance with the march of radical and scientific study of the past,several well-known elites of Orissa have been moved by the views of Mahapatra in the 21st century. Famous novelist in Oriya Santanu Acharya and Ajit Kumar Tripathy,an IAS-two famous Oriyas having distinctiveness in their career have now become the votary of this idea-the birth-place of Buddha in Orissa. Ajit Kumar Tripathy,(former Chief Secretary of Orissa Administration),a brilliant product of Utkala University,has totally accepted the views of Mahapatra and strongly pleaded that Buddha was born in Orissa.Tripathy, a benevolent administrator and a devotee of Orissan Culture and antiquities,has several articles written in brilliant English and published in journals has  articulated this fact throughout the world.(Tripathy,2004:p,7-15) Brilliant narratives but with no cogent historical arguments his focus cannot stand before an impartial historical discourse. In this faster changing world of scientific ideas and technological progress and particularly increasing universalisation of ideas,the views of regionalism  do not count much.Propaganda thorough media and other communicative systems may help in the progress of unscientific ideas for some days,but it will have no lasting effect on the march of truth.Recently another historian P.K.Pattnaik in his text entitled Gautam Buddha has accepted the views of Chakradhar Mahapatra on the birth-place of Gautam Buddha in Orissa and there he described Kalinga as a republic in Eastern India without understaning the Hatigumpha inscription of Kharavela where Kalinga was described as a kingdom in the pre-Mahameghavahana phase. (Pattnaik 2011) As a student of history I find no new arguments other than that presented by Mahapatra which are now being used for claiming Kapileswar as the birth-place of  Buddha and so I would like to review the arguments of Mahapatra for our context.My counter-arguments are in the following;

1- Lumbini is not Lembai or Lembani. In the medieval phase the names like Lembai and Sirai (Praganas) were well known in their original names. Lembai Pragana is far away from Kapileswar village. It is said that Gautam Buddha was born in the Lumbini garden of Kapilavastu. Chakradhar Mahapatra did not consider whether Kapileswar was within Lembai Pragana or outside it or near it. In our opinion the term Lembai was not corrupted from Lumbini.According to the Ragulu grant of Anangabhima III Sirai as a district was famous then in that name.Sirai and Lembai are  thus original words.Hence there is no reliable historical evidence in connecting Lembai with Lumbini.

2- Another interesting argument of Mahapatra is about Bhubaneswar.Bhubaneswar was so called because Buddha was born in a forest which was called Bhubaneswar because Buddha had another name  called Bhubaneswar. Mahapatra accepted the fact that Buddha was  born in a forest in Lumbini. It is a strange argument to convert the forest(Vana) into Bhuabneswar.Mahapatra was probably glad to find the term Vana in Bhubaneswar(Bhu+Vana+Iswara).It is an unbridled speculation. Bhubaneswar was famous  as a Saiva centre. There was also progress of Buddhism in Bhubaneswar. Bhubaneswar was also more famous as another name of Siva. In the phase of the Guptas it was known as Ekamraka and then it was famous as the centre of Kruttivasa. The name Bhubaneswar came in the medieval phase as a shortened name of Tribhubaneswar and that was an event of the period of the Ganga kings in Orissa.(Dash 1997) Hence there  is no reliable historical evidence in connecting Bhubaneswar with Buddha. Likewise the corrupt name of Devadaha is not Deogan,because Deogan is available in many areas in Orissa.At least In Sundargarh and Keonjhar ther are Deogans. If we identify Devadaha with Deogan,several Devadahas would appear in Orissa. The village ascertained for the worship of god is called Deogan. The identification of Devadaha with Deogan is also not correct from another point of view.Why the term Daha was lost to Deva? It would have remained as usual like Chudangadaha. Thus Devadaha   cannot be identified with Deogan. The original word Kothadesh cannot be Koladesh.Kotha appears to be an original term. Kola as a term is well known now-a-days.

3- The name of the Charioteer of Buddha was Chhandaka. Another interesting speculation of Mahapatra is the change of the name of Chhandaka into Chandaka which now exists near Bhubaneswar. The entire area from Chudanga garh to Bhubaneswar was famous in the Ganga phase which has been stated in literary texts and inscriptions. The name of a daughter of the Ganga king Anangabhima III was Chandrika. Why should we not accept this Chandrika as Chandaka of the present time? Chandrika Devi had constructed the temple Ananta Vasudeva  in Bhubaneswar. The important areas like Chudanga Garh and Buali Garh of the phase of  the  Ganga king Chodaganga are also included in the present Chandaka forest area. Hence there is ground to connect this Chandaka with Chandrika and most probably the area was under the control of Chandrika Devi for which in course of time it was named as Chandaka.

4- The meaning of  the river Anoma is that which is not small.There is no reason here to identify it with the river Mahanadi. That which is not small may not necessarily mean that it is big. It may also be medium(neither big nor small).Hence the identification of Anoma with Manada or Mahanadi is based on an impossible speculation. Again the change of Anoma into Manada is based on a strangely speculated conclusion. We do not get as yet any name like this  on Mahanadi.

5- The change of the Mallas of Kusinagara into Maliyas is based on another irrational speculation. Chakradhar Mahapatra has not presented the real history of the Maliyas and their connection with Kapilavastu as stated by him is also a new history. In the Kenduli grant of the Ganga king Narasimha IV of the Saka year 1305(A.D.1383) there is a reference to the Malaye grama in which was existed the temple of Kapileswar. In all probability the village called Malaye was the homeland of a definite group of people who were called Maliyas. The temple of Kapileswar had existed inside the village of Malaye in the Ganga period. Hence there was no village called Kapileswar in the Ganga phase. Possibly in the Malaya grama the temple of Kapileswar was built. We may accept the view that Bhubaneswar was the seat of two types of non-Brahmin priests called Maliyas and Badus. The village named after Kapileswar may be possible after the Ganga phase in Orissa. Kapileswar may represent the seat of Kapila-the famous Saiva teacher. The temple  was rebuilt during the time of the Suryavamsi king Kapilendra Deva.From the existence of the village Malaye and the temple of Kapileswar inside it  in the Ganga phase we may safely argue that Kapilavastu cannot be connected with it. Moreover Chakradhar Mahapatra did not present the fact of the settlement of the Sakyas in the areas of Bhuabneswar. Thus Kapileswar as a village came much after the Ganga phase in Orissa. If we identify Pipili of Puri with Paipala,the name of Pipili in Balasore needs more clarification from Chakradhar Mahapatra. Many have now identified Pipili of Puri as Pirapalli. It came into existence in Orissa after the Muslim conquest in 1568.

Chakradhar Mahapatra has thus used many weak arguments and  entered into strange speculation for establishing the homeland of Gautama Buddha in Orissa. There is definite lack of reliable historical document(fact) in support of his thesis.

We can  present here many other arguments and views for contesting the theory  that Buddha was born in Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar.

1- Archaeologists have discovered reliable remains on the Sakyas of Kapilavastu in Piprahwa. More than forty seals belonging to the Kapilava(vaa)stu bhikshu-sangha(Community of Buddhist monks of Kapilavastu living in the Devaputra vihar ) which seems to have been a monastery named after the Kushan king Kanishka have been unearthed at Piprahwa.(Srivastava 2006:207-212)Such archaeological remains are not available in Kapileswar of Bhuabneswar.

2- If we accept Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar as a part of Toshali,the theory of the  birth-place of Gautam Buddha either in Kalinga conquered by Ashoka or in Toshali under his direct administration is based on a strange and unwarranted speculation. We have not found this fact in any historical  record or data. Because the  Sakya republic did not exist either in Kalinga or Toshali. Were the officers of Ashoka ignorant about Kapileswar-the claimed birth-place of  Gautam Buddha when they had placed two Special Edicts at Dhauli and Jaugada? Ashoka himself visited Kapilavastu in the 20th year of his coronation. Were the Buddhists also ignorant about the real existence of Kapilavastu-the birthplace of Buddha during the time of Ashoka. If Toshali was well known as  the homeland of Buddha before Ashoka Ashoka must have started to preach Buddhism first from this area. But we find the placement of two Special Rock Edicts in this area  years after the placement of 14 Major Rock Edicts in the different areas in India and outside India. It indicates that Toshali being a frontier area near the conquered kingdom of  Kalinga two Special Rock Edicts were inscribed in it. From this point of view this area cannot be connected with the real birth-place of Buddha which was Kapilavastu. The existence of Sakya republic inside Kalinga-Toshala kingdom does not also justify  from the geographical point of view.

3- We can also accept the accounts of the two Chinese pilgrims-Fa Hian and Hieuen Tsang for locating the birth-place of Gautam Buddha. According to Hieuen Tsang-To the north of the town is a stupa which contains relics of the entire body of Kashyapa Buddha.But these were built by Ashoka Raja. From this point going south east 500 li or so we came to the country of Kapilavastu. From this it is clear that Kapilavastu was situated at a distance of 500 li in the south-east from Sravasti.Cunningham states-From Sravasti both of the Chinese pilgrims proceeded direct to Kapila which was famous throughout India as the birth place of Buddha.Yuan Chwang makes the distance 500 li or 83 miles to the south east. If we consider the direction and the distance stated by Yuan Chwang there would be no reason to accept Kapileswar as the birth-place of Buddha.An imaginative step in situating the birth-place of Gautam Buddha  in Bhubaneswar is the identification of Svarnadri(Bhubaneswar) with Himadri(the Himalayas) on the foot of which was actually kapilavastu situated. In all Puranic texts and in  Kumara Sambhava of Kalidasa the location of the Himalayas was clearly stated. This confusing identification is  an expression of  potent regionalism and betrays all geographical description of India. In the account of Yuan Chwang there is the description of four kingdoms-Sravasti,Kapilavastu,Ramagrama and Kusinagara. In this manner his travel account was laid down. What was the reason for this manner of description? The answer is-the four areas are all connected with one another. After the description of Sravasti the Chinese pilgrim stated that the birth place of Buddha was at a distance of 16 li to the north-west of Sravasti. From that place(Sravasti) the pilgrim after crossing 500 li to the south-east came to Kapilavastu. From Kapilavastu the pilgrim reached Ramagrama after crossing the forest route of 300 li to the east. From Ramagrama he came to Kusinagara after crossing the forest route in the north-eastern direction. Ramagrama was about five yojana to the east of Lumbini.Buddha had left Chhandaka at a distance of three yojanas from Ramagrama.Kusinagara was about 12 yojanas away from Ramagrama. This description does not warrant the thesis that Buddha was born in Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar.

4- Buddha was born in the Sakya clan.The Sakyavamsa,Suryavamsa,Ikshvakuvamsa are all related to one another. Suryavamsis belonged to Ayodhya. Ayodhya was connected with Kosala.Kapilavastu was under this Kosala kingdom as a feudatory zone. It is said that this state was formed by the command of Kapila for which it was well known as Kapilavastu. According to Buddhist scripture it was a part of Jambudvipa.It was also called Majjhima desa or Madhya desa. In the east of this Madhya desa there was Kapingala, then Mahasala and in the south-east there was the river Salalavati. The Majjhimadesha of Jambudvipa cannot be Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar. There were small states near Kapilavastu and they were Kusinara,Veshali,Alavapa,Ramagrama,Pava and Pippalivana. Can we locate these areas near Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar? The Buddhist literature describes about Kolanagara and the Koliyas in detail. Rama, the king of Varanasi was affected by leprosy and he left his kingdom to stay in the forest.In one night he heard the cry of a lady and on reaching at the spot he found that she was an Ikshvaku princess affected by leprosy. Both were cured  by the plant medicine of the forest. The king married the princess and after clearing the Kola trees he established a city which was called Kolanagara. The descendants of this king were called Koliyas. This story indicates that Koliya kingdom was near Varanasi.Hence there is no reason to accept Kothadesha as Kolarajya. The situation of the Sakyas in Kapileswar and Koliyas in Kothdesha can thus be accepted as an interesting literary creation, a paradigm for History fabricated.

5- The inscription of Kapileswar does not help us in the location of the birth-place of Buddha in Orissa.Both Rama Prasad Chand and D.C. Sircar have accepted this inscription as a forgery.D.C.Sircar had deciphered the inscription and had consulted all previous readings on it. In his famous book entitled Indian Epigraphy in the Appendix section containing Spurious Epigraphs there is a discussion on this inscription. He stated that a modern writer after going through the Rummindei inscription and the book containing old scripts published in  1928 imitated the Nepal Tarai version and prepared a new copy of it. Even Nirmal Kumar Bose in his death-bed had declared the making of this Kapileswar inscription which was a forgery according to his view.(Pattnaik 2002;Mishra2004;Mahanty 1976)There are additions in the Kapileswar inscription which are not found in the Lumbini copy and this casts doubt on its genuineness.Although Mitra has accepted the Kapileswar copy as one of the possible additional records at Lumbini, there is still doubt on the authenticity of the copy version. What was the need of a stone version instead of a pillar version? It also indicates that the scribe could not find a pillar to inscribe and stone slabs  were easily available for inscription. Even if we accept the theory of Mitra we cannot safely accept it as a copy of the time of Ashoka. Thus this inscription does not help us in the location of the birth-place of Buddha in Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar.

These arguments are enough to  contest the view that Buddha was born in Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar. In his recent focus entitled  Essays on Orissan Society James M.Freeman has come to this conclusion and has gladly shared my views that Buddha was not born at Kapileswar of Bhuabneswar.(Freeman 2009) Still more interesting is the view of Chittaranjan Das in his insightful focus in Oriya in October 2010. (Das 2010:521-530) Chittaranjan Das has aptly stated that such a claim of the people(Orissa as the homeland of Buddha) may be interesting in the so called nationalist phase and that it may bring cheep happiness(Sahaja Ullasa) leading them to some unknown side. By this claim, as stated by Das, the real message of Buddha for the world has been neglected. Such a claim is definitely intended to make ourselves great and is a passion which ignores the real message of Buddha to the world at large. Thus the main contention of Chittaranjan Das in his focus is not to be serious or emotional for the homeland of Buddha in some definite corners of the world (like Orissa) on the basis of some evidence, but to be serious with his message which was meant for all people of this world. He also stated that this claim (Buddha`s birth-place in Orissa) is a lofty laughter for some years in Orissa and it is not an indication of cultural progress.
                                                                          
In the field of research particularly in the historical and archaeological spheres artificial sources are being largely  used in Orissa and there is no systematic effort to end such process. Some newspapers in Orissa do not ponder over the fake documents and being excited by their sudden discovery make them the highlights. In the colonial phase and also in the post-colonial phase the use of fake documents on the Orissa History was supported by many elites of Orissa. But this type of discovery and research do not help in unraveling the dark past of Orissa; on the other hand it destroys scientific temper of history. The location of the birth-place of Gautama Buddha in Orissa may be an interesting news for the enthusiastic Oriyas, but considering the vastness of original sources in  favour of the location in Nepal Tarai or Piprahwa the location of the birth-place of Buddha in Kapileswar of Bhubaneswar seems only a  regional adventure and is not based on real discovery of  reliable documentary evidence  and research.

                                                        
References
1. Board of Revenue Section,Bihar Orissa Files,Orissa State Archives,Bhubaneswar,Acc.No-  8125,1928,Acc.No.8126,9186.

2.  Pati Bhagaban,”Buddhadeva Utkaliya?”,Utkala Dipika,July 21 and September-1,1928.

3. Deba Jalandhar,”The Birth-place of Buddhadeva”(in Oriya),Utkala Sahitya,Vol.XXXV,No-IV,Shravana,Shala-1338,p.146-157.

4. Rajaguru,Satyanarayana,”Odishare Bauddhadharmara Mahatmya”(The Significance of Buddhism in Orissa),Utkala Sahitya,Vol.XXXV,No-II,Jyeshta,Shala-1338,p.61.

5. Mahapatra,kedarnath,”Buddhadevanka Janmasthana”(The Birth-place of Buddhadeva),Sahakara,Vol-XIII,No-IV,p.361-364.

6. Mitra,S.N.,”The Lumbini Pilgrimage Record in Two Inscriptions”,Indian Historical Quarterly,Vol.V,No-III and IV,1929,p.728-733.

7. The Samaj,1970

8. Prajatantra,1970.

9. Matrubhumi,1970.

10. Dash,Kailash Chandra,Legend,History and Culture of India,Chapter-   VIII,1997,Calcutta.

11. Srivastava,K.M.,”Kapilavastu,the Storm on its Identification”,in Art,Archaeology and Cultural History of India(V.N.Roy Felicitation Volume),part-I,ed.C.P.Sinha,B.R.Publishing Corporation,New Delhi,2006,p.207-212.

12. Tripahty,Ajit Kumar,”The Real Birth-place of Buddha:Yesterday`s Kapilavastu,To-day`s Kapileswar”,Orissa Historical Research Journal,Bhubaneswar,Vol.XLVII,No-I,2004,p.7-12.

13. Mahanty Umacharan,”Two Anecdotes narrated by two Archaeologists”,Orissa Historical Research Journal,Vol.XXII,No-II,1976.

14. Rajaguru,Satyanarayana,”The Kenduli Copper plate grant of Narasimha IV,Orissa Historical Research Journal,Vol.V,No-I,1956,p.1-100.

15. Mahapatra,Chakradhara,The Real Birth-place of Buddha,Cuttack,1977.

16. Anyatha,Samanvaya Mukhapatra,Rourkela,ed.Ramachandra Rout,1971.

17. Pattnaik,Shyam Sundar,”Sakyamuni Gautam  Buddhanka Janmasthana:Bitarkara Anta Heu”(The Birth-place of Sakyamuni Gautam Buddha:Let there be an end of the debate),Samaj,29th September,2002.

17a. Pattnaik, P.K., Gautam Buddha, APH Publications, New Delhi, 2011.

18. Mishra Satchidananda,”Buddhadevanka Janmastahna Nirddharana”(The location of the Birth-place of Buddha),Jhankara,April,2004,p.15-20.

19.  Freeman .James,Essays on Orissan Society,Prafulla Pathagar,Jagatsinghpur,Orissa,2009.

20. Das,Chittaranjan,Gautama Buddha Evam Odisha(Gautam Buddha and Orissa),Bartika,Oriya magazine,ed.Nabakishore Mishra,October,2010,Dasarath Pur,Yajpur,p.521-530.

21. Allen Charles, The Buddha and Dr Fuhrer An Archaeological Scandal, Penguin books, 2010.

[This is a copyrighted material. Prior consent required for its reproduction or publication. The author is Reader in History at  Binayak Acharya Government College, Brahmapur - 6 Orissa, India.  It is an enlarged and revised version of the address of the author in Oriya language  in the Bikalpa Sandhani Mancha,Bhubaneswar, for Paramananda Acharya Memorial speech  on the occasion of his birth anniversary on August 29,2004. The author has remained grateful to the learned participants of the occasion at the Department of Anthropology, Utkala University, Vanivihar for their evaluation of the issue and to  Birendra Nayak, Professor of Mathematics, Utkal University and the co-ordinator of the programme for organising the occasion.]   

Related links:


THE LUMBINI PILGRIMAGE RECORD IN TWO INSCRIPTIONS REVISITED

NEPAL’S LUMBINI: WHERE THE BUDDHA WAS BORN

DISCUSSIONS ON THE BUDDHA, LUMBINI AND HISTORICAL KAPILVASTU