Govt Turns Down Row Over New Parliament Building Mural After Nepal Leaders Objections

The government has said the mural in question depicts the spread of the Ashokan empire and it is people-centric.

Inauguration of new Parliament building

The government has dismissed brewing row around a mural in the newly inaugurated Parliament building that has drawn some angry reactions from Nepal's political leaders. 

The mural - which many BJP leaders claimed represents the resolve for an 'Akhand Bharat' - marks important kingdoms and cities of the past, including Takshashila (presently in Pakistan) and Lumbini (in Nepal), mentioned a report in NDTV.

Earlier, two formers Prime Ministers of Nepal - Baburam Bhattarai and KP Sharma Oli - who spotted Kapilvatsu and Lumbini on the mural, warned that it may cause "unnecessary and harmful diplomatic disputes".

"The mural in question depicts the spread of the Ashokan empire. It's people-centric," the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Bhattarai had said, "It has the potential of further aggravating the trust deficit already vitiating the bilateral relations between most of the immediate neighbours of India". 

Oli had reportedly said the installation of the 'Akhand Bharat' mural in the Indian Parliament "was not fair".

The controversy erupted amid the ongoing visit of Nepal Prime Minister Pushpakamal Dahal "Prachanda". He arrived in India on Wednesday afternoon on a four-day official visit. On Thursday, the Nepal PM met his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi who said India will continue to strive to take the relationship with Nepal to Himalayan heights.

The Foreign Ministry said the "issue was not raised by the Nepalese side".

The mural apparently shows the empire of Ashoka, the third emperor of the Mauryan dynasty, at its peak. 

Several BJP leaders, including Union Minister Pralhad Joshi, shared the artwork inside the new Parliament House.

"The resolve is clear – Akhand Bharat," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said.

"Akhand Bharat in New Parliament. It represents our powerful & self-reliant India," Manoj Kotak, Lok Sabha member from Mumbai North-East, said.

'Akhand Bharat', described as a "cultural concept" by the RSS, refers to undivided India whose geographical expanse was very wide in ancient times - present-day Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand.