Sunday July 22, 2018

Buddhist Circuit : Government holds meeting to develop important sites related to the life of Lord Buddha

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The government today held a meeting to discuss the modalities for developing the Buddhist Circuit under the new Swadesh Darshan Scheme for which government has allocated Rs. 120 crore for this year.

“Buddhist Circuit is one of the five circuits identified under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of the Ministry of Tourism and Rs. 120 crore have been allocated this year for the development of the Buddhist Circuit under the scheme,” Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) Dr. Mahesh Sharma said while addressing the Members of Parliament (MPs) from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Ladakh.

“Buddhist circuit will include places like Gorakhpur, Kushinagar, Sarnath, Sidharth Nagar, Sant Kabir Nagar, Shrawasti, Piprawa, Bodh Gaya, Vaishali , Nalanda among others,” the minister said.

Addressing the MPs, Dr Mahesh Sharma said that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi attaches utmost importance to the development of theme based circuits in the country, and especially the Buddhist Circuit. The Minister said that the opinion of the MPs is very valuable, keeping in mind the local requirements and ground realities of these constituencies falling under the Buddhist Circuit .

At the meeting, the Members of Parliament raised issues related to their constituencies with respect to the development of Buddhist Circuit. They highlighted the issue of connectivity which is standing in the way of development of tourism in these areas.

The MPs suggested that a Buddhist National Highway should be created connecting the important places within the Circuit. The MPs also wanted improved air connectivity by developing airports at Kushi Nagar and Shrawasti , development of budget hotels, common amenities and infrastructure in these areas were discussed during the meeting.

Highlighting the economic benefits of developing the Buddhist circuit, the MPs  estimated that the number of tourist visitors can be easily increased to ten lakhs if the Circuit is developed properly, which will help the country to earn Rs 6000 crore of foreign exchange.

The inflow of foreign tourists will not only lead to increased inflow of foreign exchange earnings of India , but will also generate large amount of employment for the local people, especially in areas where there are no other avenues of employment for the local people.

The ministers discussed the importance of their areas where various events and activities related to Lord Buddha had taken place. They requested the minister to develop a special museum where the centuries old statue of Lord Buddha, all artefacts and various other objects related to Buddhism can be placed at a single location in the Buddhist Circuit for the tourists to view.

The MPs also suggested that an inter-ministerial group should be formed for the development of the circuit as it involves coordination and cooperation of various Ministries like civil aviation, roads and highways among others.

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‘You Never Lamb Alone’: Indian Christians Raise Objections to Ad Campaign by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) Featuring Gods to Sell Meat

The advertisements feature Lord Ganesha, revered in India, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Thor, Zeus and others seated at a table enjoying what is a sumptuous non-vegetarian feast

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Meat and Livestock Australia MLA)
Unite Over The Meat More People Can Eat | You Never Lamb Alone advertisement by MLA. Youtube

Mumbai, Sep 12, 2017: The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) on Monday raised strong objections to a new Australian advertising campaign featuring revered Hindu and Christians gods and other mythical figures to ‘sell’ its red meat and meat products.

CSF Founder-General Secretary Joseph Dias said the latest advertising campaign by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is “bad in taste and offensive to all” and sought boycott of MLA and a ban of their products.

The advertisements feature the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha, revered in India, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Thor, Zeus and others seated at a table enjoying what is a sumptuous non-vegetarian feast.

The ads have reportedly made an oblique reference to Prophet Mohammed, who is not pictured but is heard excusing himself from the party through a mobile phone call since he has to pick-up a child from daycare.

What has hurt Christians is that the caricature of Jesus Christ who performs what is termed as a ‘reverse miracle’ by turning wine into water so a Grecian goddess, who is a ‘designated driver’ can drive home safely, Dias said.

“We have written to Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to take note of these ‘insensitive advertisements’ and raise the issue with the top authorities in Australia immediately. We also demand that MLA Chairman Michele Allan and MD Richard Norton withdraw the ads and tender an apology,” Dias told IANS.

Besides writing to Sushma Swaraj, the CSF has shot off emails to Australian Deputy High Commissioner in Mumbai Martin Huber, Indian High Commissioner to Australia Harinder Sidhu and other top officials raising serious objections to the MLA campaign.

“The CSF has always protested against commercial exploitation of religious figures for profit, irrespective of which religion the figures belong to. The MLA ads have hurt not only followers of different faiths, but atheists and agnostics all over,” Dias pointed out.

He termed the campaign as ‘culturally insensitive’ to vegans and communities like Hindus, Jains or Buddhists and said Lord Ganesha is a vegetarian and meat is never offered to him, as depicted in the MLA ads.

Dias warned that unless MLA yanks off the offensive ad campaign and apologises, the global Catholic community would be compelled to boycott its products as “there are many alternatives available worldwide”. (IANS)