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Rebuilding Afghanistab's Heritage

The other day I was watching the documentary, In the Footsteps of Alexander and the host Michael Wood walks to Kabul Museum, which is just a building under lock and key. There was one guard with an AK-47 kinda gun and all the artifacts were locked in the basement.

But now the Afghans want to restore their heritage back and they are asking the British to return their 2000 year old Dead Sea Scrolls of Buddhism from the British Library.

The Kharosti Scrolls would be a hugely prestigious centerpiece for the new museum. The 60 fragments of text written in the ancient script Kharosti on birch bark are considered by Buddhist scholars as comparable in historical importance to the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Between the 2nd and 7th centuries AD, Hadda was one of the holiest sites in Buddhism drawing pilgrims from all over India and China. The scrolls are the earliest known Buddhist scripts and were produced by monks in the extraordinary civilisation of Gandhara, a synthesis of Indian and Greek culture spread to Asia by the followers of Alexander the Great.

The civilisation flourished at the time of the Roman Empire in what is now the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. [Afghanistan wants its ‘Dead Sea Scrolls of Buddhism’ back from UK]

2 Responses to Rebuilding Afghanistab's Heritage

  1. Das November 17, 2004 at 4:46 pm #

    I wonder if the British can trust the Afghans with these irreplaceable treasures. The destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas and the countless Buddhist iconography from the museums are still fresh in the public memory. A mere displacement of the Taliban does not necessarily restore trust in the current govt.

  2. JK November 17, 2004 at 5:33 pm #

    There was another news on the efforts going on in Afghanistan today – Afghanistan’s ‘Lost’ Heritage Found in Musty Boxes

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