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Notre-Dame de Paris, Remembering Buddhas of Hazaristan

Kabul Press - News
Thursday 18 April 2019

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Kabul Press: In March 2001, Pashtun leader Mullah Omar ordered Taliban to destroy the principal symbols of the Hazara history and culture, the Buddhas of Bamyan, Hazaristan. Buddha sculptures of Hazaristan had female and male versions. The Hazara named the female buddha as Kheng Bod or Shahmama (35 m tall). The name of male buddha was Sorkh Bod or Salsal (53 m tall). Both were carved during the empire of the Kushan, the Hazara ancestors.

Sorkh Bod or Salsal

An open letter from hundreds of internationally recognized poets says: Afghanistan’s entire 20th century history has been marked by killings of Hazaras and systematic discrimination against them. On February 10 and 11, 1993 in the Afshar area of Kabul, the Mujahadeen government, and its allies exterminated and left injured thousands of Hazara men, women and children. In August 1998, the Taliban killed more than ten thousand Hazaras in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. Similar bloodbaths quickly spread to other parts of Afghanistan including Yakawlang. Destroying Hazara history and promoting an inaccurate, demeaning history of their culture have been further strategies, in addition to violent crimes. For example, in March 2001, the Taliban notoriously destroyed the ancient Buddha sculptures of Bamyan which were principal symbols of Hazara history and culture, and one of the most popular masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. Such is the history of two centuries of crimes against the Hazara, and from which they still suffer.

Kheng Bod or Shahmama after destruction

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