‘Undivided India’ map in new parliament building creates political stir
A mural set in the new parliament building of India shows the map of Akhanda Bharat or ‘undivided India’ which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. The mural has created a huge stir in Nepal’s politics amid the India tour of the country’s prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda). Many fear the controversy may become a big issue in future in the other neighbouring countries of India as well.
In the map Nepal’s Lumbini is shown as part of undivided India. Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha is regarded as a holy place for the Nepalese and a vital part of the country. The unique cultural heritage of Nepal is also a major attraction in their tourism landscape.
On May 28 Indian prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new parliament building on the birthday of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, the pioneer of Hindutva politics in India. The parliament building, which cost around 1,000 crore Indian rupee, was already at the centre of the criticism for its huge cost amid the economic turmoil of after covid and the criticism got even sharper as Modi rather than the country’s president, the guardian of the state, inaugurated the building. As a protest 24 political parties boycotted the inaugural programme. But the controversy did not end there as a new one emerged with the map of so-called undivided India.
Amid the Delhi tour of Nepal’s PM Prachanda, Baburam Bhattarai, a former PM of Nepal initiated the debate. Bhattarai said, “This map may create unnecessary and harmful debate with Nepal and other neighbouring states of India. The map contains things that may increase the lack of trust between the countries which already exist and may increase the toxicity in the bilateral relationships."
The debate between India and Nepal regarding Kalapani has been going on for a long time. In 2021, an Indian political map showed Kalapani as part of Uttarakhand. Nepal created a counter map. The frontier debate among the countries is old. On Thursday Prachanda and Modi said they will settle all the disputes through discussion in a friendly manner.
After the meeting of two prime ministers on Thursday, Indian foreign secretary media asked Vinay Mohan Kwatra about the map during a press conference. The foreign secretary however did not comment about it. But the minister of parliamentary affairs Pralhad Joshi tweeted, “The resolve is clear – Akhand Bharat,"
Oppositions have been complaining for a long time that BJP has been gradually trying to transform India into a Hindu state. The opposition opine the intention is clearer with the fact of inaugurating new parliament building through Hindu ritual, gathering Hindu worshippers and priests and the map of undivided India.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh thinks Indian civilization and culture was spread from Gandhar (currently Kandahar) to Brahmadesh (Myanmar ) and Tibet to Nepal in ancient days. To them, undivided land is tantamount to ‘undivided India’. Sangh believes the Indus Valley Civilization of the past is actually the ‘Hindu civilization.’ They want to resurrect that civilization.