Representative image of a statue of Buddha in Visakhapatnam district, Andhra Pradesh | Wikimedia Commons
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New Delhi: A day after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi were remembered as “two greatest Indians ever”, Nepal reacted strongly and disputed the claim asserting that Buddha was born in Lumbini in the Himalayan nation. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal Sunday said it is a “well-established” and “undeniable” fact that the birthplace of Buddha was Lumbini. 

“Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and the fountain of Buddhism is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites,” the MFA Nepal’s spokesperson said. 

According to the spokesperson, this was even acknowledged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who during his address to Nepal’s Legislature Parliament in 2014 stated that “Nepal is the country where the apostle of peace in the world, Buddha, was born.” 

The spokesperson added, “It is true that Buddhism spread from Nepal to other parts of the world in the subsequent period. The matter remains beyond doubt and controversy and thus cannot be subject to debate. The entire international community is aware of this.”

India responds 

India has responded to the Nepali assertion, agreeing that Buddha was indeed born in Lumbini. “EAM’s remarks yesterday at the CII event referred to our shared Buddhist heritage. There is no doubt that Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, which is in Nepal,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said Sunday. 

On Saturday, while addressing a virtual CII Summit — India@75 Summit: Collaborating for a New Self-reliant India — Jaishankar had referred to Buddha as an “Indian”. He said, according to him, Gautam Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi are the “two greatest Indians ever” whom the “world remembers”. 

Jaishankar was responding to a query on moral leadership even as he highlighted the importance and relevance of their preaching in the modern world.   

Latest in a series of row

The controversy over Buddha’s birthplace is the latest in a series of rows between both countries. 

Last month, India and Nepal got embroiled in a row over Nepalese Prime Minister K.P.S. Oli’s comments on “real” Ayodhya and the birthplace of Hindu deity Ram. 

Oli had said the “real Ayodhya lies at Thori in the west of Birgunj”, adding that Lord Ram wasn’t born in the Ayodhya of Uttar Pradesh. 

Ties between India and Nepal had been plummeting steadily since May when Kathmandu released a new political map showing the disputed regions of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh as part of its own territory. 

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3 Comments Share Your Views


  1. Of course Siddhartha was born in Lumbini, BUT, Buddha was born in Bodh-Gaya only. We are referring to the enlightened Budha and not Prince Siddhartha from Lumbini. Moreover, Did Nepal exist those days? It was all Indian subcontinent. Tomorrow Pakistanis can claim that Infus valley civilization started from Pakistan.

  2. Buddha was born in Lumbini , grew up in Kapilavatsu. His father the ruler was a vassal of Magadha. As such Buddha is Kapilavatsu by nationality and Sakhya (Madhesi) by ethnicity.

    Claiming him to be Indian or Nepali is meaningless.

  3. Lumbini is in Bihar while Bodh Gaya is in Nepal. So both countries claim its heritage.

    Further, to say “Nepali” or “Indian” is a misnomer – he was neither, Buddha was the prince of Kapilavastu and his father was the Vassal of Magadha. So he can at best be called Magadhan in terms of nationality. Ethnically, his tribe was referred to as Shakyas.

    So the terms Nepali , Indian are meaningless and utterly useless terms since Buddha never knew about these terms and Buddhism didn’t consider any “nation” its origin – Buddha itself was its “home”.


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