Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Buddha spotting in Chola country fills his weekends: Times of India

Feel happy to share my interview, "Buddha spotting in Chola country fills his weekends", which appeared in Times of India of 29th October 2012, with due thanks to Times of India. 
29 அக்டோபர் 2012இல் டைம்ஸ் ஆப் இந்தியா இதழில் வெளியான எனது பேட்டியைப் பகிர்வதில் மகிழ்கின்றேன், அவ்விதழுக்கு நன்றியுடன்.  

B Jambulingam’s search for Buddha idols began with an ordinary visit to a remote village in Thanjavur in the 1980s. The villagers had excavated a Buddha idol, and Jambulingam noted down the dimensions of the stone idol on a cigarette packet. Back home in Thanjavur, he started studying various aspects of the idol.

    His research drew him to Buddhism, and he began travelling to villages across Tamil Nadu in search of Buddha statues.

    He once pedalled more than 25 miles on his old Hercules bicycle to see a Buddha idol in Puthur. Jambulingam has identified 66 Buddha idols in the erstwhile Chola country, and the journey is still on.

    “I have found 66 Buddha statues in Thanjavur, Tiruchi and Pudukottai districts during my field study. Many were in the sitting posture. The latest Buddha, the 66th, was found during my study in Kandramanickam in July 2012,” he said.

    The most interesting was a Buddha with a mustache in Tiruchi. “It was in Mangalam where I saw a Buddha with a mustache. Nowhere in Tamil Nadu is such a style seen,” said Jambulingam, who works as a superintendent at Tamil University, Thanjavur.

    Jambulingam decided to study the various aspects of Buddhism and registered at Madurai Kamaraj University in 1995. “I would keep a notebook with particulars of Buddha statues found in the area. I first recorded the information given by Mayilai Seeni Venkatasamy, a scholar. Then I started collecting books. I use all weekends and holidays for my trips.

    In some cases, I found statues on my first trip. In others, it was not so easy,” says the 54 year old.

    Buddhism came to Tamil Nadu during the 3rd century BC and prevailed in the Chola country up to the 16th century AD. Buddha v i h a r a s were found in many places including Poompuhar and Nagapattinam. The remnant of a vihara is still intact in Poompuhar.

    Jambulingam said he is upset by the way some of the idols are maintained. While some are well cared for, many are not. The Buddha that he first saw at Manambadi in Kumbakonam was shifted to a nearby Amman temple, and the one he found close to a meter gauge rail track in Coutrallam was shifted to a place nearby for safety.

    However,the Buddha idol that he discovered at Kurumbur in Pudukottai is missing. “Some of the Buddha statues that earlier scholars have written about are now missing. Similarly, some Buddhas that I identified before are missing. It’s unfortunate,” he said. 
சோழ நாட்டில் பௌத்தம் என்ற தலைப்பிலான  ஆய்வு தொடர்பாக 2008 தொடங்கி வெளியான பிற பேட்டிகளை கீழ்க்கண்ட இணைப்பில் காணலாம். வெளியிட்ட இவ்விதழ்களுக்கு நன்றி.

1)தினமணி 6.1.2008 :
2)ராணி, 3.5.2015 : 
3)தி நியூ இந்தியன் எக்ஸ்பிரஸ்,15.5.2015 :

1.11.2015 அன்று மேம்படுத்தப்பட்டது.