The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

Postby admin » Tue Feb 16, 2021 5:28 am

Part 2 of 2

No one at the time could have imagined how this brief visit to Piprahwa Kot and Birdpore House by the Archaeological Surveyor of the NWP&O would cast such a long shadow — over the finds themselves and over the lives of their finder and his descendants.

Less than a week after Dr. Fares visit to Birdpore Willie Peppe received an extraordinarily frank letter from Vincent Smith in Gorakhpur, dated 3 March. It began calmly enough, with thanks for the plans of the excavation that Peppe had made and what was probably a pencil-rubbing of the Piprahwa inscription, but then it developed into an extraordinary outburst against the Lieutenant- Governor of the NWP and Chief Commissioner of Oude (to give him his full title), Sir Antony MacDonnell. 'I am compelled to retire earlier than I had intended,' Smith wrote, The Lieut. Gov. by a D.O. [demi-official, meaning off the public record] letter to me dated the 23rd instant inflicted on me the public affront of cancelling my nomination to the Lucknow Bench, solely on the grounds that the Allahabad High Court wrote an angry letter objecting to my appointment: The High Court judge Sir John Edge had, it seems, written to the Lieutenant-Governor 'in a rage' because some months earlier Smith had gone against him and his fellow judges in a judgement on a matter of Hindu Law where Smith had followed a Privy Council ruling which Edge and his colleagues had chosen to ignore. For Smith his resignation was a matter of principle:

I have nothing to be ashamed of or retract, and I will not give way. I at once intimated to Govt that I should resign the service. Not a word of explanation was asked for, and I consider myself grossly insulted. The L. G. is full of expressions of personal regret but I have told him that these do not alter the fact that he has inflicted on me a public indignity which I will not submit to. He says that my retirement will be very inconvenient. I tell him I know it will but that the responsibility for this inconvenience does not rest with me. I have also told him that I intend to appeal to the Viceroy, and to press my resignation which he says he will oppose. I expect the L.G.s final answer in a day or two — so far all the correspondence is D.O.. I am angry at my treatment but for many private reasons glad to go. We are selling off all we can. With our kindest regards to you both.

It was a most indiscreet letter for a senior government official to have written, even if addressed to someone with whom he had evidently become quite close. But it also revealed Smith's volatile nature and the stress he was evidently under at the time. He had done more than his share of bread-and-butter district postings and felt he had earned his promotion to the Lucknow judicial bench as a senior judge. But there were also other issues on his mind, not the least of which were growing concerns about Dr. Anton Alois Fuhrer and some of his actions.

About a month earlier, in early February 1898, Hofrat Doktor Johann Georg Buhler, Professor of Indian Philology and Archaeology at the University of Vienna, had received a package from India. It was from his former student and close collaborator on early Indian texts, Dr. Fuhrer, and contained a somewhat crude hand-copy on a scrap of paper of an inscription found on the cover of a steatite vase, recovered from a stupa excavated by an 'English' planter in British territory close to the Nepalese border.

Unsatisfactory though this copy was, Buhler felt confident enough to attempt a preliminary reading until such time as a more accurate copy of the inscription could be obtained. Like so many epigraphists since, he was baffled by the three letters that spelled out su ki ti or su kri ti. Nevertheless, his was a reading that has stood the test of time:

This relic shrine of the divine Buddha (is the donation) of the Sakya Sukiti-brothers, associated with their sisters, sons and wives.

On 21 February Buhler sent copies of his translation to Fuhrer and Peppe, together with a letter to the latter giving his assessment of the significance of the Piprahwa inscription. He considered it to be 'the first historical document found which proves that the Sakyas, men belonging to the Buddha's tribe of Rajputs, resided in the neighbourhood of Kapilavastu after his death'. He went on:

It is not improbable that the stupa excavated by you, as the relic vase was dedicated by the Shakyas, belongs to those erected soon after the Nirvana [Maharaparinirvana]. If that is the case the inscription is the earliest document yet found in India. And it is remarkable that its alphabet differs from that used in the edicts of Asoka by the absence of the signs of the long medial vowels, though the letters agree in other respects.

As might be expected, Prof. Buhler had noticed that something was wrong with Peppe's hand-copy and he went on to ask him to check the inscription again for 'any traces of the required i in the first word, of the medial i in the second and a vowel mark in the last syllable of Bhagavata'. As mentioned earlier, Peppe had indeed missed the triangle of three dots representing the sound T at the very beginning and a second dot over the second letter. However, the inscription bore no vowel mark over the symbol representing the sound 'ta' in bhagavata (divine or blessed), an absence that suggested to the Professor that this was a very early inscription predating the Asokan edicts. He said as much in his 'Preliminary Note on a Recently Discovered Sakya Inscription; which he posted in mid-March to the Pali scholar T. W. Rhys Davids, Secretary of the Royal Asiatic Society in London, who arranged for it to be added to the April issue of the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society.

Exactly what communications Buhler subsequently received from India over the next few weeks are largely a matter for conjecture. However, the following sequence events appear to have taken place.

On 24 February the Pioneer published Dr. Hoey's translation of the Piprahwa inscription based on his own pencil rubbing. This was not radically different from Miler's own reading, except in the matter of the rendering of su-ki-ti, so even if the Professor saw the notice he would have had no reason to feel he had been upstaged.

Far more relevant is the fact that on 23 March Dr. Fuhrer sent to the Secretary to Government, NWP&O, PWD, what he termed his 'preliminary brief report on the results of the Nepalese excavations in the Tarai conducted ... during the season of 1897-98: There is no shred of evidence that Professor Baler received this 'preliminary report', but it would have been entirely uncharacteristic of Fuhrer not to have sent such a copy to his patron, particularly since Buhler had collected and sent on a comparatively large sum of money to fund his Nepal expedition. What is known for certain is that on 24 March 1898 Fuhrer sent a copy of this same report to General Khadga Shumsher Rana in Nepal. He accompanied it with a most unusual request 'with reference to a controversy lately carried on in the Indian newspapers regarding the discovery of Buddha's birthplace in the Nepal Tarai: This concerned Dr. Waddell's very public campaign to claim credit for that discovery, which had come to a head with the publication of Dr. Waddell's charges in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. The correspondence pages of the January 1898 issue of the same journal had carried Fuhrer's rebuttal of Waddell's claims but also a further letter from Waddell that made additional charges, including the claim of plagiarism in Fuhrer's monograph Christian Tombs in the North-Western Provinces.

It is reasonable to speculate that after seeing this issue of the JRAS, which he would have received as a matter of course, Buhler wrote to his collaborator in India expressing his concern and asking for an explanation, hence Fuhrer's rather desperate appeal to General Khadga to set down what he remembered of his visit to the General's camp on i December 1896:

I will be extremely obliged if you will very kindly favour me with a few lines setting forth exactly what happened when I was privileged to pay you a visit on the 1st December 1896 at your camp at Padariyah, close to Rummindei [Lumbini]. You were kind enough to show me that pillar, and on seeing it, I told you on the spot that it was undoubtedly an Ashoka pillar and that an inscription would be found if a search was made below the surface of the mound. I am in need of it, as my antagonist, Dr. Waddell, has stated in the papers, 'It is somewhat amusing, after all Dr. Fuhrer has claimed in regard to this discovery, to find not only did he not initiate that research, but he had nothing to do with the local discovery of the spot, not even with the unearthing of the famous pillar-edict there, which fixed the spot beyond all doubt. This digging was done by the Nepalese officials in response to my letter to the Government of India.'

It also seems more than probable that when Fuhrer got back to Lucknow Museum from his Nepal excavations in mid-March he found waiting for him proof copies of his monograph Antiquities of Buddha Sakyamuni's Birth-Place in the Nepalese Tarai. This work was based on his earlier explorations of the Nepal Tarai in late November and December 1896 — the expedition during which the inscription on the Asokan pillar had been uncovered at Lumbini — but also included his earlier uncovering of the first Asokan pillar beside Nigliva Sagar in March 1895. Fuhrer had actually delivered the manuscript of his Antiquities to the Government Press in Allahabad as early as May 1897 and the book's type had been all set for printing when the order was given to take it off the press in order to make way for an official report on the 1896 famine, for which the same type was required. Fuhrer's manuscript had then been put to one side and seemingly forgotten by the printers. According to the Superintendent of the Allahabad Government Press, it was not until March 1898 that the printing of Antiquities was again taken in hand. The first printed copies were received by government departments at the end of July, which suggests that proofs may well have been available for Fuhrer to check in March. If that was the case, it again seems entirely reasonable to suppose that he would have sent a set of these proofs to Prof. Bill-der in Vienna, particularly since Fuhrer had been at pains to thank Bahler in his Preface for his support of his work.

Antiquities of Buddha Sakyamuni's Birth-Place in the Nepalese Tarai was duly published as Volume XXVI of the Archaeological Survey of India's New Imperial Series and (confusingly) as Northern India Volume VI. It is a most bizarre document. In keeping with its precursors in the ASI series the monograph was expected to be a work of scholarship written by a scholar for scholars, setting out in accurate detail the results of an archaeological survey. What actually appeared in print was to all intents a Buddhist tract in nine chapters, seemingly written by a Buddhist for Buddhists. The lengthy first chapter was entirely taken up with the story of the Sage of the Sakyas, detailing his birth and early life up to his enlightenment, written in the most extravagant purple prose as, for example:

And when the Buddha, at the dawning of the day, had thus made the ten thousand worlds thunder with his attainment of omniscience, all these worlds became most gloriously adorned. And when thus he had attained to omniscience, and was the centre of such unparalleled glory and homage, and as many prodigies were happening about him as at his birth, he breathed forth that solemn utterance which had never been omitted by any of the Buddhas.

Chapter Two, entitled `Kshemavati, or Nabhika, the Birth-place of Buddha Krakucchanda', followed much the same Buddhist course — except for one paragraph describing how the author had located the several stupas of Buddha Krakuchanda thanks to the Chinese pilgrims. The third chapter, on `Sobhavati, the Birth-place of Buddha Konagamana' was slightly more objective. It included Fuhrer's detailed description of the Buddha Kanakamuni relic stupa rearing its imposing head close to the Asokan pillar beside Nigliva Sagar and the imposing ruins of Kapilavastu nearby.

Three brief but perfectly sensible chapters followed on Lumbini, Asoka's pilgrimage, and the two Asokan pillar edicts. Had Fuhrer confined himself to these three chapters his reputation as a scholar might well have survived. But they were followed by a chapter on `Kapilavastu, the Capital of the Sakyas; in which its author quoted extensively from 'the canonical books of the Southern Buddhists: Just eleven lines were devoted to the supposed site of Kapilavastu that the author claimed to have located and identified:

Thanks to the exact notes left by the two Chinese travellers, I discovered its extensive ruins about eighteen miles north-west of the Lumbini Pillar, and about six miles north-west of the Nigali Sagar, stretching between lat. 27°32'-38' N. [thus over a distance of nine miles] and long. 83°3'-10' E. [seven miles] in the middle of a dense sal forest over a length of seven miles from the villages of Amauli, Baidauli, Harnampur, and Bikuli (north-east) to Sivagarh, Tilaurakot, and Ramghat on the Banganga (south-west), and over a breadth of about three to four miles from the villages of Ramapura, Ahirauli and Srinagar on the south to the villages of Jagdispur and Nagravah on the north.

The Kapilavastu chapter was followed by a two-page essay on 'The Tharus, the modern descendants of the Sakyas, illustrated by four of the book's eight photographs. Wildly out of place though it was, this short anthropological study proposed a number of seemingly outlandish theories, two of which have since gained greater acceptance: 'The modern offspring of these Sakyas are probably the Tharus, the present inhabitants of the Tarai and the outer spurs of the Nepalese sub-Himalayas.... It is not quite improbable that they were in fact primarily an aboriginal, casteless and un-Aryan tribe of Northern India.' The sympathetic tone of the writing strongly suggests that Fuhrer identified with the Tharus as social outcastes.

The concluding chapter of Fuhrer's monograph capped all that had gone before. Entitled 'Historical conclusions', it was an opportunity for the author to summarise his work and findings. But the summary was cursory, the conclusions inconclusive other than the single challenging statement that the arrival of the supposedly exiled Sakyas in the hills 'forced them to develop the entirely non-Aryan and non-Indian custom of endogamy: The work ended rather as it had begun, with a long quotation from a Buddhist text in which the ascetic Vacchagotta addresses the Sakyamuni and compares his teaching to a mighty sal tree that looses all its dead branches, twigs and bark, and yet stands 'neat and clean in its strength. It is as if, oh Gautama, one were to set up that which was overturned; or were to disclose that which was hidden; or were to point out the way to a lost traveller; or were to carry a lamp into a dark place, that they who have eyes might see forms. Even so has Gautama Buddha expounded the Doctrine in many ways.'

It is hard to find a kind word to say about this extraordinary book. Either it was written by someone far out of his academic depth who resorted to padding on a grand scale, or it is the work of someone not quite in touch with reality, so desperate to see what Faxian and Xuanzang had seen centuries ago that he willingly suspended disbelief.

If the proofs of Antiquities were indeed received by Buhler in Vienna and read by him they must have troubled him greatly. And if Buhler ever got the opportunity to compare those proofs with Anton Fuhrer's 'preliminary brief report' on his most recent excavations in the Nepal Tarai he would have realised that his old student's claims to have discovered Kapilavastu — claims which he, Professor Georg Buhler, had fully endorsed and lauded in print — were bogus.

That 'preliminary brief report' was written in March 1898 as soon as Fuhrer got back to Lucknow. It contained two indisputable successes: Fuhrer's identification of Sagarwa lake as the site of the Sakya massacres visited by the Chinese pilgrims; and his identification of the Asokan column at the village of Gotihawa as the Buddha Krakuchanda memorial pillar seen by Xuanzang. But, crucially, what it never explained was where exactly the city of Kapilavastu was or what Fuhrer had found there. His impressive sounding map references — 'lat. 27°32'-38' N. and long. 83°3'-10' E: — meant that Kapilavastu city covered an area in excess of sixty square miles, not the twenty-eight that Ffihrer himself implied.

What Fuhrer's report also highlighted was that the copper reliquaries recovered from the seventeen Sakya stupas at Sagarwa bore the names 'of the following Sakya heroes, viz. Kundakumara, Junahakamara, Dhammapalakumara, Aljunakamara, Mahimsaasakumar, Yudhitthakurnar, Guttilakumara, Nandisena, Surasena, Sugaragutta, Aggidatta, Cetaputta, Giridanta, Sutasoma, Akitti, Lipananda, and Sabbadatta.'

These names, Fuhrer claimed, were 'for the most part engraved in pre-Asoka characters on the outside of the caskets, in two instances written in ink inside the lid, and in three cases they are carved in the bricks forming the relic chambers.' And as well as these seventeen inscribed caskets of the slaughtered Sakyas there was also the casket covered with an ornamented copper lid found in the ruined great stupa at Sagarwa, 'on which was incised in pre- Asokan characters the following: "Relics of the Sakya Mahanama", the successor to King Suddhodana of Kapilavastu.'

Despite the presence of a capable draftsman who produced accurate drawings of the stupas' bricks with their inscribed weaponry (see p. 109), and despite a camera on hand, Fuhrer's final report contained not a single drawing or photograph of any of these inscriptions. Fuhrer had made his claims knowing that the Nepalese Captain had confiscated all the caskets and that it was extremely unlikely that they would ever be seen again.

'If the alleged inscriptions had been found,' was Vincent Smith's subsequent comment, 'he would of course have photographed them. ... They were coated with verdigris (secured by oxidation) and no inscriptions on them could possibly have been detected without very careful cleaning. ... There can, therefore, be absolutely no doubt that the alleged inscriptions were absolute forgeries! In fact, Smith was wrong: these were not forgeries, which implies physical existence; they were plain lies.

Professor Buhler certainly received at least one communication from Fuhrer while the latter was still in Nepal. On 21 February he wrote from Zurich to Rhys Davids in England asking for his help over the word Sukitti or Sukiti, occurring on an inscription found by an English planter and sent to him by Fuhrer, adding that: 'The account, sent by Fuhrer, of the result of the Nepalese excavations at Kapilavastu and the neighbourhood is very good. Nothing must be said about it in public. He has been ordered to send a preliminary report ten days after his return: Fuhrer was back in Lucknow at the beginning of March, so that his preliminary report should have been completed by mid-March. If Prof. Baler ever saw a copy of that preliminary report the sheer audacity of Fuhrer's claims to have found and read no less than eighteen pre-Asokan inscriptions must have set the alarm bells ringing. But, of course, there is no proof that Buhler did see it.

Nor, it must be said, is there any evidence to show that the Professor ever knew of the revelations concerning his protégé's dealings with the venerable Burmese pongyi or monk Shin U Ma.

On 2 February 1898 — that is to say, when Fuhrer was still deeply entrenched in his main dig at Sagarwa — the Government of Burma wrote to the Government of the NWP&O concerning complaints it had received from a monk named U Ma. These involved a certain Dr. A. A. Fuhrer, Archaeological Surveyor to the Government of the NWP&O. Shin U Ma had first taken the complaints to a local government official in Burma, Brian Houghton, and had then backed them up with tangible evidence in the form of letters received from Dr. Fuhrer. Houghton had duly passed U Ma's complaints and copies of his letters on to government headquarters in Rangoon, as a consequence of which they arrived on the desk of the Chief Secretary to the Government of the NWP&O, who passed them on to the Secretary of the Department of Revenue and Agriculture, Archaeology and Epigraphy. From there they made their way to the desk of the Commissioner of Lucknow.

As soon as he returned to his offices at the Lucknow Museum in early March Fuhrer was confronted with the communication from Burma and asked to explain himself. According to the file, his letters to the Burmese monk went back as far as September 1896, when he had written to U Ma about some Buddhist relics he had sent him, allegedly obtained from Sravasti. The contents of this first letter indicate that the two had met while the Burmese was on a pilgrimage to the holy sites in India and had struck up a friendship not unlike that described by Rudyard Kipling in his novel Kim (then in the process of being written in England), which begins with a wandering Tibetan lama being greatly moved by the knowledge of Buddhism shown by the Curator of the Lahore Museum (Rudyard's father J. L. Kipling).

Dr. Fuhrer and U Ma had then come to some arrangement for the one to send the other further relics. On 19 November 1896 Fuhrer wrote again to U Ma to say that:

The relics of Tathagata [Sakyamuni Buddha] sent off yesterday were found in the stupa erected by the Sakyas at Kapilavatthu over the corporeal relics (saririka-dhatus) of the Lord. These relics were found by me during an excavation of 1886, and are placed in the same relic caskets of soapstone in which they were found. The four votive tablets of Buddha surrounded the relic casket. The ancient inscription found on the spot with the relics will follow, as I wish to prepare a transcript and translation of the same for you.

This letter of 19 November 1896 was written more than a year after Fuhrer's first trip into Nepal made in March 1895 (during which he made his discovery of the Asokan inscription on the stump at Nigliva Sagar), but just before he set out on his second foray into Nepal (where he would meet up with General Khadga Shumsher Rana at Paderiya on 1 December 1896). Yet already, it seems, he had found Kapilavastu. In the year referred to in his letter — 1886 — he was still a relative newcomer to the NWP&O Archaeological Department and had yet to conduct his first excavation.

Fuhrer's next letter to U Ma was dated 6 March 1897, three months after his much trumpeted Lumbini and Kapilavastu discoveries. In it he referred to more Buddha relics in his keeping which he would hold on to until U Ma returned to India. Seven weeks later, on 23 June, there was a first reference to a 'tooth relic of Lord Buddha', and five weeks on, on 28 August, a further reference to 'a real and authentic tooth relic of the Buddha Bhagavat [Teacher, thus Sakyamuni]' that he was about to post to U Ma.

The letters now began to come thick and fast. On 21 September Dr. Fuhrer despatched 'a molar tooth of Lord Buddha Gaudama Sakyamuni ... found by me in a stupa erected at Kapilavatthu, where King Suddhodana lived. That it is genuine there can be no doubt.' The tooth was followed on 30 September by an Asokan inscription Fuhrer claimed to have found at Sravasti. Then on 13 December Fuhrer wrote to say that he was now encamped at Kapilavastu, in the Nepal Tarai, where he had uncovered 'three relic caskets with dhatus [body relics] of the Lord Buddha Sakyamuni, adding that he would send these relics to U Ma at the end of March. What is most odd here is that on 13 December 1897 Fuhrer had not yet entered the Nepal Tarai, having been given strict instructions that he was not to do so until 20 December.

This bizarre hoaxing — for no element of financial fraud seems to have been involved — could not go on. The arrival in Burma of the Buddha's molar tooth seems to have been too much for the hitherto credulous Burmese monk, who soon afterwards wrote what sounds like a very angry letter protesting at the remarkable size of the tooth in question. This letter was evidently forwarded from Lucknow to Basti and then probably carried by mail runner to Fuhrer's 'Camp Kapilavastu' at Sagarwa. It was replied to on 16 February 1898, when the Archaeological Surveyor was still encamped at Sagarwa. Writing at some length, Fuhrer went to great pains to mollify the Burmese, declaring that he could quite understand why `the Buddhadanta [Buddha relic] that I sent you a short while ago is looked upon with suspicion by non-Buddhists, as it is quite different from any ordinary human tooth' — as indeed it was, since it was most probably a horse's tooth — 'But you will know that Bhagavat Buddha was no ordinary being, as he was 18 cubits in height as your sacred writings state. His teeth would therefore not have been shaped like others: In a further bid to shore up the credibility of the tooth, Fuhrer went on to say that he would send U Ma —

an ancient inscription that was found by me along with the tooth. It says, 'This sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is the gift of Upagupta.' As you know, Upagupta was the teacher of Asoka, the great Buddhist emperor of India. In Asoka's time, about 250 BC, this identical tooth was believed to be a relic of the Buddha Sakyamuni. My own opinion is that the tooth in question is a genuine relic of Buddha.

This supposed Asokan inscription was afterwards found to be written in perfectly accurate Brahmi Prakrit, its most obvious models being the many similar relic inscriptions found at Sanchi and other Buddhist sites, with which Fuhrer was very familiar through his work on Epigraphia Indica.

It is highly unlikely that Fuhrer would have wanted his old patron to know about his troubles with the Burmese monk, and there is no surviving evidence to show that he or any one else wrote to Buhler about it. Yet the fact is that the file of the Fuhrer-U Ma correspondence was going the rounds of the concerned departments of the Government of the NWP&O in Allahabad in the spring of 1898. Because it touched on matters in Burma, which at that time came under the authority of the Government of India, it must also have been known and talked about in Government House, Calcutta. The professional opinions of senior members of the Asiatic Society of Bengal may well have been sought, the most respected among them being the editor of Asiatic Researches, the journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. This was the Swiss philologist Dr. Augustus Hoernle, a leading authority on early Central-Asian languages, who was at this time working on the decipherment of Khotanese texts written in Brahmi script (and whose own reputation was about to be badly dented by his acceptance of the forgeries of the notorious Islam Akhun of Kashgar, exposed by Aurel Stein in 1901). Philologists formed a tight circle and if Dr. Hoernle knew of the Fuhrer-U Ma correspondence, he may well have communicated his concerns to Vienna. Whether or not Dr. Hoernle was involved, it would have been surprising if whispers of the U Ma scandal had not reached London and Vienna by the end of March or the first week of April 1898.

As for Anton Fuhrer, nemesis was now fast approaching in the person of Vincent Smith, who corresponded with Dr. Hoernle in February and March while working with Willie Peppe on his article on the Piprahwa excavation for the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. No mention of the U Ma scandal can be found in the surviving correspondence of any of these parties, but there is just a hint of a growing desperation on the part of Dr. Fuhrer in a letter written by him to Willie Peppe on 31 March from Lucknow Museum. Fuhrer had been expecting him in Lucknow on the 26th, together with the Piprahwa stone coffer and its contents, but Peppe had not come and he had heard nothing from him:

The long looked for 26th March has come and gone, and lam sorry to say I had not the pleasure of seeing you here. If you are still coming do kindly allow me to prepare coloured drawings of all the objects found in your excavations. I shall be very happy to send a man to Birdpore on any day you mention, so that he could bring a part of the valuables here, in order to prepare an illustrated report. Or, if you do not mind, you could send the things by registered post (unpaid), and I shall return all objects with as little delay as possible.

But Peppe prevaricated, and a month later Fuhrer had still not received the promised relics. On 21 April he wrote again to Peppe to say that he would be 'glad to receive your relics in small instalments when ever you can spare them; adding that he had 'sent Prof. Buhler at Vienna copies of the photographs and a correct impression of the [urn?] inscription. He will send you soon a printed copy of [his article in the Journal of?] the Academy of Sciences at Vienna.' Thus suggests that when Fuhrer wrote this letter on 21 April he had not received any recent news from Vienna.

A few days later Fuhrer received a polite but firm letter from General Khadga Shumsher Rana in answer to his appeal for support against Dr. Waddell. The General agreed that he, Dr. Fuhrer, 'certainly had a good share in identifying the birthplace of Buddha' — but not the major role he had publicly given himself.

At this point, no doubt thoroughly fed up with all the public bickering that had long gone on between two government servants — Drs. Waddell and Fuhrer — the Lieutenant-Governor of the NWP&O himself stepped in to order that 'discussions of a controversial nature regarding claims to the merit of prior discovery' should be excluded from all future publications. As far as Sir Antony MacDonnell was concerned, 'Dr. Fuhrer's share in the discovery was confined to the deciphering of the inscriptions [on the columns at Lumbini and Nigliva Sagar],' and that was it.

As Anton Fuhrer's star began to fade so Vincent Smith's rose. In mid-March 1898, having refused to accept his resignation, the Lieutenant-Governor now offered him an immediate promotion to the post of Commissioner of Faizabad Division, to be taken up at the end of the year, and in the meantime a temporary 'acting' post as Chief Secretary to the Government of the NWP&O. This more than salved Smith's wounded pride and he accepted with alacrity. His promotion came with the additional bonus of a hot weather spent away from the open furnace of the plains in the cooling lakeside air of Naini Tal, in the foothills of the Kumaon Himalayas.

Just as Simla served as the summer capital of the Government of India so Naini Tal filled the same role as the summer capital of the Government of the NWP&O, an Elysium to which all the province's departments and headquarters staff migrated in mid-March, only returning to the plains in October. As acting Chief Secretary, Smith now found himself at the very centre of things, in direct touch with every senior government official in every department, and with the ear of the Lieutenant-Governor himself, Sir Antony MacDonnell.

Spoken of behind his back as 'our Fenian friend' because he was an Irish Catholic with nationalist sympathies, MacDonnell was a dedicated administrator but disliked and even feared by his more junior ICS colleagues on account of an ill-temper which he combined with a steely exterior. It was said of him by a friend that 'If Antony and another are cast away in an open boat and only one of them can live, it will not be Antony who is eaten'. These qualities had earned him the nickname of the 'Bengal Tiger' during his years in the Bengal secretariat and as acting Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal. A little later, Lord Curzon, as Viceroy, was to describe MacDonnell as 'a strange creature, by far the most able administrator we have in this country but .. destitute of human emotion' and regretted that 'so conscientious a worker and so able an official should not hit it off better with his own subordinates and should be, as is alleged, so suspicious and so severe towards any excepting the few whom he trusts among his own men'. Whether this was a fair assessment or not, it seems that in the case of his acting Chief Secretary the Lieutenant-Governor set aside his suspicious nature and came to rely on his judgement.

Anton Fuhrer also took to the hills. He had long been due some local leave, which he took in early April, although in his case it meant going by train with his family to the more distant but less expensive hill-station of Mussoorie. He was still on leave in Mussoorie when he heard of the distressing news from Vienna.
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

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The upper left corner of Mrs Elfie Peppe's map of the Birdpore Estate, drawn in 1930. At the top the boundary markers, with Nepal and the Annapurna/Dhaulagiri Range beyond. At top left corner is the Piprahwa stupa, with Birdpore House (and tennis court) at bottom centre. The canals and reservoirs built by the two William Peppes, father and son, are much in evidence (Courtesy of Neil Peppe).

The Lumbini Garden, from a watercolour painted by the traveller Perceval Landon in 1908, seen from the west, with the Asokan pillar at the centre and the Hindu temple behind. From Landon's Nepal, published in 1928 after Landon's death.

Birdpore House, from a watercolour painted by Mrs Elfie Peppe in 1943. The house was rebuilt by William Peppe (senior) after being burnt down in the troubles of 1857. In the 1950s it was sold to become a Government rest house and has since fallen into dilapidation (Courtesy of Neil Peppe).

The Nepal Tarai. A villager returns home in the late afternoon in wintertime. (Photo by Binod Rai).

The Nepal Tarai. Sarus cranes and buffalos feeding in the fields (Photo by Binod Rai).

Descendent of the Sakyas and Koliyas? A Tharu village elder. (Photo: Binod Rai)

Descendent of the Sakyas and Koliyas? A young Tharu woman. (Photo: Binod Rai)

A group of Tharus warming themselves by a fire in their village, situated in what was long ago the country of Kapilavastu (Photo: Binod Rai).

The remains of the great monastery at Jetavana Garden, Sravasti, where the early Buddhists made their summer monsoon retreat, photographed in winter morning mist (Photo: Liz Allen).

The two sections of 'Bhim Sen's smoking pipe' at Nigliva Sagar, with the author examining the damaged Asokan inscription honouring the Buddha Kanakamuni (Photo: Binod Rai).

Worshippers at the modern structure enclosing the temple of Mayadevi, Lumbini Garden, in winter morning mist. (Photo: Binod Rai).

Emperor Asoka's inscription honouring the birthplace of Buddha Sakyamuni, with the crack in the column clearly visible (Photo: Binod Rai).

The Gotihawa pillar, probably erected by Emperor Asoka to honour Buddha Krakuchanda, examined by the author and Gyanin Rai of the LDT. (Photo: Binod Rai).

The great stupa at Lori Kudan, believed to mark the place where the returning Sakyamuni was met by his father King Suddhodana (Photo: Binod Rai).

Sagarwa lake, believed to be the site of the massacre of the Sakyas, at evening. (Photo: Binod Rai).

The pit at Sagarwa, first excavated by General Khadga Shumsher Rana and afterwards by Anton Fuhrer. The site of the latter's main excavation lies between the pit and the lake, just visible at upper left (Photo: Binod Rai).

The Ramagrama stupa, said to be the only stupa containing the undisturbed remains of Buddha Sakyamuni. (Photo: Binod Rai).

The temple at the heart of Tilaurakot, with animal offerings left by Tharu worshippers, said to be built over the remains of Queen Mayadevi's palace at Kapilavastu (Photo: Binod Rai).

Part of the city walls of Kapilavastu at Tilaurakot. (Photo: Binod Rai).

The eastern gate at Tilaurakot, said to be that by which Prince Siddhartha left the city of Kapilavastu and by which he re-entered as Buddha Sakyamuni (Photo: Binod Rai).

The Piprahwa stupa after restoration by the Archaeological Survey of India, seen from the east; in the foreground part of the great monastery where the `Kapilavastu' sealings were found in 1972. (Photo: Liz Allen)

The Piprahwa stupa from the west, with the western monastery in the foreground. The low ground immediately west of the stupa has never been excavated and may well contain an Asokan pillar (Photo: Liz Allen).

Part the Peppe family's share of the Piprahwa reliquary jewels in their original display cases (Courtesy of Neil Peppe).

Part the Peppe family's share of the Piprahwa reliquary jewels in their original display cases (Courtesy of Neil Peppe).
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

Postby admin » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:52 am

Chapter 6: The Drowning

Lake Constance, 8-9 April 1898

On the late afternoon of 8 April 1898 a stout, middle-aged gentleman with a full beard was seen sculling a hired skiff on Lake Constance, which straddles the border between Germany and Switzerland. According to eye-witnesses, he was 'rowing forward and backward for some time on one and the same spot Three days earlier he had walked into a hotel in the lakeside town of Lindau, booked a room but failed to sign himself in. He had spent most of 7 April rowing up and down on Lake Constance and then on the afternoon of 8 April had again resumed his rowing, having left at the reception desk of his hotel a telegram addressed to his wife in Zurich that said nothing more than 'Come tomorrow: He was last seen on the water 'after 7 o'clock in the evening; which at that time of the year meant after dark. On the morning of 9 April the skiff was seen still on the water but overturned, unmanned and with one oar missing. Despite this discovery, two days passed before the hotel manager felt sufficiently concerned by the absence of his guest to contact the police. A search was instituted but without success and, after several days, was called off without a body being found. Indeed, the body never surfaced, which was highly unusual, raising the possibility that it had been weighted down.

Because of the lack of a corpse, his family's confusion over his whereabouts and the understandable caution of the local authorities to commit themselves, it was not until 15 April that it was established that the missing presumed drowned rower was Hofrath Doktor Johann Georg Buhler, Knight of the Prussian Order of the Crown, Comthur of the Order of Franz-Josef, Commander of the Indian Empire, Professor of Indian Philology and Archaeology at the University of Vienna. Letters written to T. W. Rhys Davids in February show that Buhler was with his Swiss wife and their sixteen-year-old son in Zurich until he returned to Vienna on 26 February. According to Buhler, the Austrian Government had decreed an unusually early Easter vacation that year, which meant that his teaching duties at the university were to resume on 21 March and would continue over the Easter weekend itself, beginning on Good Friday 8 April. Yet it appears that, without a word to his wife or to anyone else, the Professor had abandoned his academic duties on 5 April to return to his family in Zurich — except that, unaccountably, he had stopped off at Lake Constance to go rowing.

The manner of Buhler's death at the age of sixty-one shocked philologists and historians through Europe and Asia. On the 8th of April last,' wrote his close friend the Sanskritist Professor Max Muller, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society —

while enjoying alone in a small boat a beautiful evening on the Lake of Constance, he seems to have lost an oar, and in trying to recover it, to have overbalanced himself. As we think of the cold waves closing over our dear friend, we feel stunned and speechless before so great and cruel a calamity ... He who for so many years was the very life of Sanskrit scholarship, who helped us, guided us, corrected us, in our different researches, is gone.

That was the line taken by friends and colleagues alike. In India the Indian Antiquary printed no less than twelve extended obituaries or appreciations by his peers of the scholar acknowledged by one and all to have been the greatest among them. Several went into unusual detail on the circumstances leading up to the great man's tragic demise. 'Boating was Buhler's favourite sport, and he often liked to practice it, particularly after hard work,' wrote one of these obituarists, the historian Professor Werner Kaegi of Basle:

On Good Friday the 8th he was induced by the beautiful spring weather to stay one day longer, 'in order to make a longer excursion,' as he was heard saying. He started in the afternoon in one of those long and narrow boats, the oars of which lie so lightly on the outriggers, that they are lifted even at a great distance by the wash of a steamer, if they are not held tightly as soon as the waves approach. ... In the opinion of experienced people living near the lake it is highly probable that he lost one oar, which he tried to secure again, and in trying to catch it he, being a stout man, fell overboard. By this natural and simple hypothesis the terrible accident becomes perfectly plain and intelligible.

Prof. Kaegi had added this detailed explanation to his obituary because, as he explained, of newspaper reports of 'rumours circulating in Vienna as to a voluntary or violent death of Hofrath Buhler.' He went on to insist that he and the late Professor's friends 'deny most positively the very possibility of a suicide committed by Buhler for ethical or philosophical motives.'

Yet there were features of Buhler's behaviour that were hard to explain away, particularly his entirely uncharacteristic behaviour in not communicating with his wife. This his friend C. H. Tawney surmised was because 'Professor Buhler had evidently intended to surprise his family in Zurich with his visit, and had therefore given no hint of his movements, [as a result of which] they continued to correspond with him at his address in Vienna and were much distressed at receiving no answer: It was also suggested that even the greatest of scholars might have had weaknesses that left them vulnerable to outside pressures. 'Buhler was free of all touchiness in questions of scholarship,' declared Prof. Friedrich Knauer of Kiew University, while adding that 'even men of the greatness of a Buhler are not always proof against "gnatbites'". The newly-elected Boden Professor of Sanskrit Arthur MacDonnell took much the same line, referring to Baler's 'high-mindedness' which 'always deterred him from doing or saying anything against those to whom he felt he owed a debt of gratitude; while also hinting at a degree of touchiness about his professional reputation: 'Had he ever been unjustifiably attacked, his aggressor would probably have had cause to repent his temerity. For Buhler, as he told me himself, kept a record of the blunders which he found in the labours of other scholars, and which he might have felt compelled to refer to in self-defence.'

Despite the defensive operation mounted by friends and colleagues the circumstantial evidence was compelling, suggesting this apparently strong and healthy man, still at sixty-one very much in possession of his faculties, had indeed taken his own life. If it was a suicide, the reasons why will never be known for certain. But some would claim that a combination of revelations concerning his former student and long-time collaborator in India lay at the heart of it; and that these revelations led the unfortunate Prof. Buhler to believe that the Piprahwa inscription, about which he had written so recently and so confidently, was nothing more than another fraud perpetrated by Fuhrer — one with which his own name would be inextricably linked. If so, he was not to know that the chronology of events made such a forgery impossible.

It took some weeks for the news of Buhler's disappearance and presumed drowning to filter through to India. Anton Fuhrer's response is unrecorded and can only be imagined.

To what degree the death of the world's pre-eminent Sanskritist affected the enquiry into Dr. Fuhrer's dealings with U Ma is equally a matter for conjecture. But it is odd that what might be called the Fuhrer scandal failed to break and that its author appeared to suffer no consequences. This may be attributed to the Government of NWP&O's determination to prevent the affair from becoming public knowledge and so cast a stain on one of its departments. Whatever was said on the subject was kept off the record and, as far as possible, out of the files, and initially, at least, the Archaeological Surveyor to the Government of NWP&O held on to his job.

However, on 8 August, four months after Buhler's death, Charles Odling, CSI, Secretary and Chief Engineer to Govt., NWP&O, PWD, received the first of 500 printed copies of Dr. Fuhrer's long-delayed Antiquities of Buddha Sakyamuni's Birth-Place in the Nepalese Tarai. He was perturbed to discover that it had been printed without being submitted to his own office for approval. This did not prevent him from authorising a week later Fuhrer's costings for a new publication: 500 copies of what was evidently intended to be an extremely lavish report on the Archaeological Surveyor's excavations of Kapilavastu — the printing to be done at the Government Presses in Allahabad, the twenty line drawings prepared at the Survey of India Offices at Dehra Dun and the fourteen coloured plates prepared by Messrs. Griggs and Sons in London, this last at a cost of £75. Odling's only proviso was that Fuhrer's proofs for this second publication must be submitted to him before printing.

Copies of Fuhrer's Antiquities now began to circulate through a number of NWP&O Government departments, with one copy landing on the desk of the Lieutenant-Governor. What Sir Antony MacDonnell's first thoughts were on reading the book are not known but his response was to ask his acting Chief Secretary, Vincent Smith, to carry out a thorough enquiry into Dr. Fuhrer's activities that extended far beyond his Buddhist relic forgeries. Within weeks this enquiry reached its inevitable conclusion in a face-to-face confrontation between Smith and Fuhrer in the exhibition hall of the Lucknow Museum.

'I went to Lucknow in September 1898, by order of government,' wrote Smith afterwards, 'to enquire into Dr. Fuhrer's proceedings, and convict him of systematic falsification of his correspondence with several Governments: One of the first questions Smith put to Fuhrer was why a drawing on display in front of them, showing the base of the damaged stupa he had excavated at Sagarwa, bore the label `Stupa of Mahanaman':

I asked Dr. Fuhrer his authority for this label, and he answered with some confusion that he found a brick with the word Maha on it which he interpreted as Mahanaman. He added that the brick crumbled to pieces. The story about the brick being manifestly false, I told Dr. Fuhrer so, and drew my pencil across the label. He did not make a protest, or say a word about the alleged inscription on the casket lid [found in the same stupa]. No photograph or facsimile of that inscription exists, and it is perfectly clear that no such inscription exists. In his correspondence with the Burmese priest Uma [U Ma], Dr. Fuhrer committed an exactly similar forgery by sending Uma a document purporting to be a copy of an inscription on a casket, and reading, 'Relics of Upagupta.' I charged Dr. Fuhrer to his face with that forgery and he did not deny it.

Dr. Fuhrer now took the only course of action still open to him: he resigned on the spot before he could be sacked. It was a resignation that the Government of the N WP&O was only too happy to accept.

However, there still remained the urgent questions of what was to be done with Dr. Fuhrer's two Nepal reports — the one newly published and the other about to be printed — and who was to take over the Archaeological Surveyor's work. It was decided at the highest level that all copies of Fuhrer's Antiquities of Buddha Sakyamuni's Birth-Place should be withdrawn with all speed and destroyed, and that the publication of Fuhrer's Kapilavastu report should be abandoned. The Province's Architectural Surveyor, Edmund Smith, was made acting Archaeological Surveyor and officiating Curator of the Lucknow Museum. However, he was not thought sufficiently experienced to take on the major archaeological work that Fuhrer had been carrying out almost single-handed for a decade. There was also the question to be resolved as to who would fill the German's place in the Nepal Tarai. This was a matter of some urgency since the Nepal Durbar had given permission for Dr. Fuhrer to continue his Kapilavastu excavations over the coming cold weather season of 1898-99. Vincent Smith was not alone in regarding this as an opportunity not to be missed.

It was Smith who found a solution. A year earlier he had received an unsolicited archaeological report from a Bengali who styled himself Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji (written `Mookherjee' in early reports, the word babu being a Bengali term of respect for an educated man but which came to be employed by the British to denote a clerk). Mukherji described himself as an archaeologist and part-time employee of the Government of Bengal. In a covering letter Mukherji had written that 'Mr. Smith might remember me as the author of the illustrated Report on Lalitpur Antiquities (Bundelkhand) which Mr. Finlay showed him at Agra at the time when the Viceroy Lord Lansdowne visited it The attached report was entitled Preliminary Report on my Tour in Champaran Tarai in March 1897 and in its opening paragraph Mukherji claimed to have discovered 'the hitherto lost site of Kusinagara' in the Champaran Tarai. This was the district east of and adjacent to Gorakhpur and at this time still part of Bengal (it soon afterwards became part of the province of Bihar). Mukherji had been deputed to look for Kusinagar by the Government of Bengal but under the orders of Dr. L. A. Waddell, his instructions being 'to search for the site of the Buddha's Parinirvana (death) in the Jangly [jungle] tract from Rampurva, where is an inscribed Asoka pillar, to Bhikna-Thori, the Napalese [sic] outpost between two hills'.

Mukherji had duly scoured the area but had been unable to locate any 'Buddhistic relics' and had come away disappointed. However, on his way south from the border area he had paused at Lauriya Nandangarh and Lauriya Areraj, the sites of the two Asokan columns first brought to public notice by Brian Hodgson many years earlier. Here he did a rethink, 'constantly brooding over the extracts from Rockhill's Tibetan Buddhism and from Hwien Thsang [Xuanzang], which Dr. Waddell had kindly supplied me,' which led him to conclude that this site and not the one at Kasia must be the real Kushinagara. In defiance of Dr. Waddell's instructions, he set about excavating the largest of the mounds near the Asokan pillar at Lauriya Nandangarh:

I employed a number of Kulies to clear the very dense and thorny jungles that covered the big mound ... and in two days' superficial excavations, I discovered that this mound of bricks, wrongly called Gurh (fort), represents a circular structure about 300 feet in diameter, and about 100 feet in height even now in ruins. On the north face the wall appears to be quite vertical and straight, and not sloping and round, as on the other sides. This might belong to the adjacent Vihara mentioned by H. Thsang. As I suspected before [,I this appeared to be the very stupa erected by Asoka the Great in about 260 B. C. over the remains of an anterior one, dated 543 B. C., which he broke in order to remove Buddha's burnt relics to Pataliputra and subsequently to other towns ... If the base is cleared, I doubt not, that the Vihara, the Nirvana statue, as also the inscribed pillar [as seen and described by Xuanzang], will be discovered.

A copy of Mukherji's preliminary report, already set in print but with the addition of hand-drawn drawings and notes in the Bengali's neat hand, survives among Vincent Smith's papers. On the front cover Smith has written in pencil 'mostly rubbish' and the margin of the report is littered with double exclamation marks and such comments as 'not yet justified', 'no proof,' 'where is the proof?,' 'not a particle of proof,' 'wrong, 'pure imagination' and, finally, 'cheeky'. Yet there are also underlinings in pencil of various statements by the Bengali that had evidently excited Smith's interest. Why Mukherji should have directed this preliminary report to Smith is a mystery, but part of the answer must lie in Mukherji's already vexed relations with Dr. Waddell. The fact was that the Bengali was a man with a past — one with which Smith may not at that stage have been wholly familiar.

Very little is known about Puma Chandra Mukherji's early antecedents other than that he was 'a self-made, self-taught man,' Bengali in origin but raised in Lucknow, where he found clerical work in the city as a babu (in the British sense of the word) and wrote extremely bad verse in English. But his early published work shows that Mukherji also held strong views on British rule in India that today would be described as Hindu nationalist. He felt that the English-medium education he had received had done him no favours and that Bengali Babus like himself were 'now looked on in the light of the Jews in the middle ages'. Indeed, he saw himself as a perfect example of the 'educated native; whom he described as —

one of the chief ephemeral products of British rule. He is a heterogeneous phenomenon of self-glorification and congratulation of the educational system. ... He vomits forth undigested matter. Ego and mother-country he knows not, nor cares much for them; whatever concerns non-ego and foreign country he is quite conversant [with]. ... The crow assumed the peacock's feathers amidst the laughter of all; his own class excommunicated him; the other shunned him as unworthy of the honour of their society. So our friend is in a dilemma; he is a social outlaw, while the Englishman hates him as an aping machine of his baser parts.

This portrait of a self-hating babu comes from a remarkable work entitled The Pictorial Lucknow written by Mukherji over the course of several years and finally published in 1883 uncompleted for lack of funds. Divided into three parts dealing with Lucknow's political history, ethnology and architecture, it was highly critical of the British Raj. The 'unjust greediness of the British Lion' had, he argued, first exploited and then destroyed the Kingdom of Oude, and had then gone on to undermine India's Hindu and Muslim cultures with Christianity and other alien ideas. Written barely a quarter of a century after what the British referred to as the Sepoy Mutiny and Mukherji called India's 'death-struggle for its right to govern itself; it made no bones about its author's admiration for the mutineers of 1857 — a stance that a few years earlier would have probably led to his transportation to the Andaman Islands:

The [East India] Company lost its reason, not only politically and militarily, but in the civil department as well. It dared trample on the social and religious principles of the people. ... Local custom and laws were trampled under foot. Foreign codification, with her constant companions, ignorance and over-taxation, reign Led] supreme. ... The nobles and Talukdars, civil servants and soldiers, artisans and citizens — all suffer[ed] equally So the fuel of anger was added to the fire of discontent. The people recoiled from their loyalty and became patriotic for their own interests. ... The chapatti, the lotus, and the impure greased cartridge gave the signal for explosion. Immediately [in May-June 1857] the Sepoys break out; the disaffected chiefs join them; and the poverty-stricken people follow them. Every one unites in the common cause, forgets reciprocal enmity, and finds a good means of retribution for numerous and conflicting grievances.

As a précis of the causes of the 1857 uprising Mukherji's summary can hardly be bettered.

However, Mukherji's Pictorial Lucknow was more than an attack on the ruling power. It was also a hymn to the architectural glories of the city and a call for the authorities to act to preserve the past, whether it was calling a halt to destruction of old Lucknow, which was being 'fairly improved off the face of the earth', or respecting Oude's more ancient heritage. Oude's ancient monuments, he argued, deserved better treatment than being used for 'mere metalling of roads or protective embankments to bridges: The province's past also needed proper investigation: 'It is a well-known fact that Oudh, the ancient Koshal [Kosala], was almost the cradle of Aryan colonisation, and that the different types of the people, who, one after another, came here and rose to power and sovereign position, left vestiges of their civilisation, layer after layer, which requires a thorough search and most penetrative exploration.'

Mukherji had a talent for drawing which he developed. In 1884 he contributed a number of drawings to a report on the conservation of old buildings, and it was noted that he had an aptitude for archaeological work. The outcome was his appointment as a master draftsman in the NWP&O's PWD, the same umbrella department that employed Dr. Anton Fuhrer. In 1887-88 Mukherji surveyed and drew up plans of antiquities in the Lalitpur subdivision of Jhansi District, afterwards published in two volumes. He then moved down to Calcutta to work for Dr. Bloch, Superintendent of the Indian Museum, as his personal assistant. After some years this arrangement ended in acrimony and dismissal, apparently over the way Mukherji exceeded his brief in collecting material for the museum in the Patna region, an area that Dr. Waddell had come to regard as his by right. He considered himself the authority on ancient Pataliputra and he resented what he saw as the Bengali's clumsy intrusion when the latter began to carry out excavations. As Mukherji's report on Champaran demonstrates, the Bengali evidently felt entitled to use his initiative, and his forwarding of that report to Smith may well have been a response to criticism from Waddell or worse.

Far from being warned off, Mukherji then made matters worse by again returning to Patna in the winter of 1897 to excavate under orders of the Government of Bengal — orders which appear to have originated from someone other than Dr. Waddell. His digs in and around Patna produced what Mukherji believed to be parts of six separate Asokan pillars, one found among a layer of ashes and embers, leading him to conclude a deliberate attempt had been made to split the pillars by heat, possibly the work of the anti-Buddhist Raja Sassanka in the sixth century. Smith agreed with this theory, adding that 'During the great Benares riot of 1809 the Muhammadans destroyed the pillar known as Lat Bharo by the same method: But Dr. Waddell did not agree, describing the Babu's report as a 'wholesale perversion of truth and mischievous misdirection of work.'

Smith's initial verdict on Mukherji's report of his Patna excavations was that it was 'too crude for publication.' Yet he relented to the extent of writing an introduction to the report (now lost) and to propose that the Bengali should be authorised to superintend the Nepal Tarai excavations under his indirect supervision.

No sooner had Mukherji been appointed than Dr. Waddell came forward to demand that the appointment be rescinded and that he himself conduct the Nepal excavations. After much lobbying by Waddell and by the Government of Bengal on his behalf it was agreed that Mukherji should work 'in conjunction with and under the direction of Doctor Waddell: It was a compromise that satisfied neither party.

When Babu Mukherji reported for duty at Lucknow on 9 January 1899 he was immediately assailed by orders from Charles Odling, Secretary and Chief Engineer to Govt., NWP&O, PWD, as to what he might and might not do. He could consult books in the Museum library but not take them out without special permission, he was to follow the rules regarding travelling allowances and, above all, he was to clearly understand that in Nepal the excavations would be carried out 'at the expense of and under the orders of the Nepal Durbar, and that all he was authorised to do was to 'indicate the places where the excavations should be made and record the results.' On the 17th of that same month Vincent Smith, who was now in post as the new Commissioner of Faizabad, came up to Lucknow to brief him in person, and on his advice Mukherji wrote a letter to Colonel H. Wylie, British Resident in Kathmandu. The letter shows the Babu to have been a man of considerable diplomatic skills — qualities that he would require in full in the days to come. He had noted the many obstacles that his predecessor had faced in trying to go about his work, particularly with regard to the way that any artefact found had immediately been removed by Dr. Fuhrer's Nepalese escort:

I beg therefore most respectfully and earnestly that this is not the way to conduct archaeological researches in order to achieve scientific results. Since it is my duty to superintend the excavations in the best way I shall find necessary, as also to take casts, photographs, drawings and accurate and minute notes of all our future discoveries, which require repeated examination when found, I shall feel grateful, if you kindly use your influence to get me the full opportunities for the satisfactory discharge of my duties. ... You can assure His Excellency the Prime Minister that I am a Brahman of the Orthodox school, and knowing as an Archaeologist the sacred and delicate nature of the ancient relics, no desecration or carelessness can possibly occur in my hands.

On 25 January 1899 Babu Mukherji crossed into Nepal with specific instructions from Vincent Smith: the first, to 'fix the position of the city [of Kapilavastu] ... and ascertain the positions of the gates'; the second, to make a map of the city showing its position relative to the Kanakamuni pillar at Nigliva Sagar, the second pillar stump at Gotihawa, the town of Taulihawa and the surrounding Tharu villages.'

In accordance with these orders Mukherji proceeded to Taulihawa, where he met his Nepalese escort and a labour force of fifty local Tharus. However, on the following morning he received a letter from Dr. Waddell ordering him to come at once to Nigliva village, about four miles away, where Waddell was encamped. Here he was met by Waddell who without saying a word handed him a telegram from the Government of the NWP&O instructing him to return immediately to India and report to the Commissioner at Gorakhpur, Dr. Hoey.

Mukherji had no alternative but to do as he was told. He made his way across country to Uska Bazaar railway station and caught the first train to Gorakhpur, where he presented himself at Dr. Hoey's cutchery or office. To his mortification he was informed that a serious complaint had been laid against him by Dr. Waddell in a telegram to the Lieutenant-Governor, and that he was to remain in Gorakhpur pending an enquiry.

No records survive of the contents of that telegram or of a follow-up letter from Dr. Waddell to the Lieutenant-Governor, but it is clear that Mukherji's behaviour at Patna and his generally seditious character had been brought to the Lieutenant-Governor's attention.

On 29 January Commissioner Hoey received a telegram from Charles Odling in Allahabad informing him that Babu Mukherji was free to return to Nepal to continue his work. On the same day letters were despatched by Odling to both Mukherji in Gorakhpur and Waddell in the Nepal Tarai. The first informed Mukherji — without so much as a word of explanation as to why he had been detained — that he 'should scrupulously avoid any action of which Major Waddell might reasonably complain and carefully abstain from doing anything likely to offend him'. The other letter told Dr Waddell that 'with the information at present before him, the Lieutenant-Governor is not satisfied that you take a correct view of Mr. Mukherji's conduct at Patna and declines to recall him'. It went on to warn Waddell that 'His Honor looks to you to adhere scrupulously to the engagement made with the Government of India, in regard to working with and on good terms with Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji.'

It is hard to interpret Dr. Waddell's behaviour as anything other than a deliberate spoiling operation to keep the Bengali archaeologist away from what Waddell evidently regarded as his territory. With Mukherji now away from the scene he put the fifty Tharus to work clearing the site beside the lake at Nigliva Sagar where Dr. Fuhrer had first uncovered the Asokan inscription on the Buddha Kanakamuni pillar. To his surprise and satisfaction he found no evidence of a great Kanakamuni stupa in the immediate area, and to his even greater satisfaction he discovered, on digging out the Kanakamuni stump, that it was not the base of that pillar and was not set in foundations. It demonstrated not only that Dr. Fuhrer had lied and that the Kanakamuni pillar had originally stood somewhere else.

'This pillar is not in situ,' Waddell afterwards declared in a brief report to the Secretary of the Department of Revenue and Agriculture of the Government of India:

Its broken end was merely stuck three feet [in fact, seven feet] into the mud bank of the Nigali-tank. ... Moreover the great stupa mound which was alleged [by Dr. Fuhrer] in the Government report to be in its immediate neighbourhood, and the existence of which was accepted by Mr. Smith, did not in reality exist — it was a pure fabrication to reconcile this false identification with the descriptions of the Chinese pilgrims.

Dr. Waddell now needed a witness to back him up, so he downed tools and headed back to Gorakhpur: 'To attest to these important facts, which altered the whole character of my enquiry, I asked the leading archaeological authority of the North-Western Provinces, Dr. Hoey, the Commissioner of Gorakhpur, to kindly come and see these places on behalf of Government.'

By the time Dr. Waddell reached Gorakhpur Babu Mukherji was back in Nepal. He made a second rendezvous with the Nepalese Captain at Taulihawa and proceeded with him and his labour force into the sal forest north of the town. After three and a half miles they encountered the great banked enclosure known locally as Tilaura Kot. This imposing local feature struck Mukherji as an obvious place to begin his work. He may well have made enquiries and learned that the word lot; usually taken to mean a fort or hill, had an older meaning as a seat of government or home of a king or deity; that the word 'laura' meant a staff; and that the word 'til' could mean three. Thus one reading of Tilaura Kot was 'the royal court of the three pillars.'

Whatever his reasoning, the Babu set up his camp at the little village of Singurh outside the western wall of the kot and set the fifty Tharus to work felling trees and clearing the undergrowth. Over the next few days the workmen continued to uncover more and more of what swiftly revealed itself to be an extensive city wall, skilfully constructed of fired bricks in remarkably good condition, and surrounded by what had once been a deep moat linked to the nearby River Banganga. Mukherji himself divided his time between supervising the clearance and exploring the immediate neighbourhood within a radius of ten miles.

His work was going well, with the Nepali officer 'co-operating with me very smoothly,' when on the evening of 7 February a runner arrived with a 'chit' from Dr. Waddell ordering the Nepali Captain to stop all work and bring his entire labour force to Gotihawa. 'After nightfall' at the close of the following day, 8 February, Dr. Waddell appeared accompanied by Dr. Hoey, and they and their party made camp. No word of explanation was offered to Mukherji by Waddell until next morning when he was summoned to Waddell's tent and ordered to leave off his mapping at Tilaura Kot and start mapping Sagarwa in accordance with Vincent Smith's specific instructions to fix the position of Kapilavastu and make a map of the city. In the meantime, he was told, the Tharu workmen would be carrying out excavations elsewhere under Dr. Waddell's directions.

Not surprisingly, already strained relations deteriorated further. After the departure of the two Britons with all the diggers an agitated Babu Mukherji sat down at his tent to write a long letter of complaint. 'All our programme of works has been upset,' he wrote to Mr. Odling in Lucknow:

To upset every work without a moment's notice is a serious difficulty, and the Captain bitterly complained to me that there was no system, he and his men about so in number being moved here and there without a moment's notice and no courtesy. At Gotiva, five miles off, work was commenced and the Doctor ordered it to continue the next day. But shortly after he forgot all about it, telling the Captain to attend him at Ruminidei [Lumbini], last evening. But neither he nor Dr. Hoey reached the place up to this morning.

I am trying my best under the circumstances and am finishing the plans already begun here before I move to Sigrava [Sagarwal a few days hence. ... To leave half done work at every place is no work. A child even has a system of playing with his dolls.

From subsequent notes made by Waddell and Hoey it is obvious that the former had come to the Nepal Tarai with two axes to grind. His first priority was to go over the ground covered by Dr. Fuhrer during his three forays into Nepal and demonstrate to the Commissioner of Gorakhpur that much of what Fuhrer had claimed to have done or seen was, in Dr. Hoey's phrase, 'pure invention, an absolute lie.' This he achieved in a most satisfactory manner.

At Nigliva Sagar Hoey was shown the damning evidence of the Asokan pillar stump without foundations. 'If Dr. Fuhrer excavated [here], he has told a falsehood as to what he saw,' the Commissioner afterwards commented. 'Major Waddell exposed the whole shaft before me. The pillar is not in situ. I saw [at] the base a shattered end of a pillar, not a clean cut end as at Gotilva [Gotihawa], and there is no masonry pediment whatsoever'. Nor, of course, was there any sign of Buddha Kanakamuni's great stupa: 'The ruins are a pure figment of Dr. Fuhrer's fancy. The whole passage is pure invention, an absolute lie. Nothing of the kind exists. lam appalled at the audacity of inventions here displayed: And then there was the issue of Fuhrer's public claim to have found Kapilavastu. 'Dr Fuhrer has not identified Kapilavastu; was Dr. Hoey's terse judgement. 'He did not find at the place which he indicates any of the traces requisite to establish the location.'

The Commissioner of Gorakhpur was, it is said, a 'kind-hearted and genial' person and 'averse to controversy,' but what Dr. Waddell had shown him on the ground forced him to conclude that plain speaking was now unavoidable. 'I was inclined to be sceptical ... when you wrote to me that you had found so little truth in the published reports of Dr. Fuhrer's explorations,' he afterwards told Dr. Waddell:

I took advantage of my camp being in the north of Basti to go over the whole ground with you. I then came to the same conclusion at which you had already arrived, that Dr. Fuhrer had put together absolutely false statements and added a padding of general Buddhist disquisition to make up the report to be passed through by the North-Western Provinces and Oude Government to the Government of India. It is not pleasant for me to write in strong terms of condemnation about work done under Government patronage, but it is my duty to speak out when asked, and I have therefore given notes on the points which you have selected and have not minced words.

Dr. William Hoey (seated cross-legged, wearing old-fashioned 'mushroom' sola topee) admires the Asokan pillar (out of focus, left foreground) at Lumbini, most probably taken in mid-February 1899. If so, the person seated on the ground on his right could be General Khadga Shumsher Rana. One might also expect Lawrence Waddell to be in the group, except that it is difficult to reconcile the appearance of the squatting gentleman in the military boots with published photos of Waddell. The younger person closest to the camera in the more modern cork sun helmet may be Duncan Ricketts from nearby Dulha Estate. The saddhu carrying the umbrella is the Hindu ascetic in residence in the Mahadevi temple. (Courtesy of the Hoey family)

Hugely gratifying as this unmasking of the man who had cheated him must have been — and doubly so to have done so in the presence of a witness as respected as the Commissioner of Gorakhpur — Dr. Waddell knew his triumph would be incomplete until he had achieved his second objective, which was to complete what his rival had signally failed to do and discover Kapilavastu himself — and to do so in the presence of Commissioner Hoey. The only problem was that he had now lost Xuanzang's guide post of the Kanakamuni pillar: 'On finding that the alleged Kapilavastu was not really that place [Sagarwa], and the local clue to its position in the original of the Kanakamuni pillar had also disappeared, I had in my search for Kapilavastu to fall back on the far distant pillar of Rummindei, discovered by General Kharga [Khadga] Shumsher, as my nearest fixed point.'

Accordingly, the two sahibs now moved from Nigliva Sagar to Lumbini, which they reached on to February. Here they were joined by General Khadga Shumsher and heard from his own lips how he had arranged to meet Dr. Fairer at Padariya precisely because 'he knew the Lumbini Garden was there'; how the General had come fully expecting to find the inscription below the surface; and how it was he and not Fuhrer who had then exposed the Asokan inscription on the pillar. 'Not only was this digging done by the General in the absence of Dr. Fuhrer,' Dr. Waddell was afterwards able to report, 'but the General tells me that he himself made the rubbing of the inscription which Dr. Fuhrer carried off as his own when he arrived later on, and it was made on Dr. Hoey's paper and with Dr. Hoey's heel-ball.'

To Babu Mukherji's great surprise that same evening the Nepalese Captain reappeared at Tilaura Kot together with all the Tharu labourers and new instructions, prompting the Bengali to write another letter of complaint to his superior in Allahabad:

Dr. Waddell writes to me to-day from Ruminidei [Lumbini] to say that I should proceed with making detailed plans here and at Sagrava. How can I make detailed plans without opening and examining the ruins by excavations? He has sent back the Captain, who arrived here this evening with the Doctor's letter to me. He will have to remain here idling with his coolies[,] about so in number[,] for io to 15 days until the Doctor returns. For nothing he [the Captain] was taken to Ruminidei about 18 miles off.

Dr. Waddell has not issued any fresh instructions beyond those of Mr. V. A. Smith, which instructions the Doctor repeats to me little by little as if I have not received the whole from you. And from the few minutes conversation I had with him the other morning I found that he wants me to do the mechanical part of the work with my intellectual eye closed. Why?


I submit, however, to the inevitable circumstances and shall do my best so far as I can.

Mukherji closed his letter with a plea that the work he had achieved in spite of Dr. Waddell should not be overlooked: 'Since I shall not have any opportunity for showing my original work or making any important discoveries I beg to submit a sketch-plan of the Tilorakot, which struck me as the most probable site of Kapilavastu, for I could not find its vestiges at Sigrava [Sagarwal forest as stated by Dr. Fuhrer.'

Signed 'P. C. Mukherji' and dated ii February 1899, this map of the brick-walled enclosure in the sal forest was entitled 'Rough Sketch Plan of the Tilora-Kot, most probably the site of the ancient Kapilavastu.'

Accompanying the sketch map was a note giving eight reasons why, in Babu Mukherji's professional opinion, Tilaura Kot had to be the city of Kapilavastu:

1. Xuanzang had mentioned ten deserted towns round about Kapilavastu and 'I have traced already some seven kots or ruins round about Tilora';

2. Xuanzang had described the inner wall of Kapilavastu as made of brick and about 14 or 15 li in circuit, and 'the inner wall of Tilora was of bricks, which is about 2 miles in circuit';

3. Xuanzang saw 'four stupas and viharas outside the four gates of the town, and a glance at accompanying sketch will show that they correspond here'; there was `no other brick kot in the neighbourhood, nor could I find it in the forest of Sigrava [Sagarwa] where Dr. Fuhrer located the Sakya town';

4. Xuanzang had described King Suddhodana's palace inside the city as being in ruins, over which a temple had been raised, and 'my excavation on the north-west elevated portion of the fort showed that such was the fact. And the broken sculptures collected in a modern unfinished temple might represent the old statues mentioned by him';

5. According to Xuanzang, north of the palace were the foundations of Queen Maya's palace and a vihara, north-east of which was Asita's stupa, 'exactly as the mounds in the sketch show';

6. Xuanzang had located the inscribed stone pillar of Krakuchanda Buddha some fifty li south of Kapilavastu, 'and Gotihava about five miles south-west of Tilora fulfils these conditions';

7. According to Xuanzang, Kanakamuni Buddha's town was thirty li north-east of Krakuchanda's town, north of which was a stupa and an inscribed pillar 'and the Nigliva pillar actually mentions Kanakamuni ... though the distance appears to be greater';

8. 'The place of massacre of the Sakyas was on the north-west of Kapilavastu and the several small stupas [excavated by Fuhrer at Sagarwal are on the north of Tilora.'

These were the reasons, Mukherji concluded, 'which induce me to conclude that Tilora-kot might represent the town of Suddhadana, the Buddha's father.'

The much-put-upon Bengali Babu had found what Dr. Fuhrer and the other sahibs had passed by and missed: the ancestral home of Gautama Sakyamuni — or, to be more precise, the city of Kapilavastu as seen by the Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang in the seventh century.

Dr. Waddell was at this same time intent on the same goal. Having instructed the Nepalese Captain and his workmen to return to Babu Mukherji, he and Dr. Hoey accompanied General Khadga Shumsher north-eastwards through the Nepal Tarai to the village of Saina-Maina (today renamed Devadaha), thirty-five miles northeast of Lumbini. This was apparently at the General's invitation, for he evidently wanted them to see an excavation that he himself had conducted there, having been directed to that village by a report of an Asokan pillar, subsequently found to be false. However, he had done some digging and had uncovered a small statue of a Buddha and another of a mother suckling a child, leading him to conclude that he had found Devadaha, the capital city of the Koliyas, where Queen Mayadevi had dreamed of being impregnated by a small white elephant and where the new-born Prince Siddhartha had spent his first weeks at the home of his maternal grandfather King Suprabuddha.

From Dr. Waddell's point of view, the excursion to Saina-Maina turned out to be a wild goose chase. His overriding concern was to resolve the Kapilavastu issue and he had only accompanied General Khadga Shumsher in the hope of finding the ruins of Kapilavastu in that area. He made his excuses and left: 'I had to scour that part of the country for several hundred square miles,' he afterwards wrote, with characteristic exaggeration, 'and the difficulties of this task were all the greater as the country had never been surveyed, and the Nepalese knew little about it, and the settlers are all recent colonists mostly from British India who have cleared the forest but have no traditions whatsoever as to the ruins found there.'

Some days later Dr. Waddell turned up at the kot in the sal forest where he had left Babu Mukherji. The Babu had by this time finished his map of Sagarwa as ordered and, once back at Tilaura Kot, had made good use of the Tharu coolies released by Waddell by putting them to work excavating a number of sites within the kot's walls. This was Waddell's first opportunity to take a good look at Tilaura Kot and what he saw must have shocked him to the core: almost two miles of high brick walls complete with an outer moat laid out in the form of a rectangle, and on each of the four sides a north, south, east and west gate complete with guard house. Moreover, at the very heart of Tilaura Kot, where a section of forest had been felled to make a clearing, Mukherji's excavations were uncovering what looked suspiciously like an ancient temple which might or might not have been built over an even older palace.

Waddell must immediately have realised that the game was up; that in his desire to unmask Dr. Fuhrer he had allowed the Bengali babu to steal much more than a march on him. Uncertain as to how to regain the initiative but determined to do something, he commandeered a party of diggers and led them out of the kot complex to a large mound a hundred yards outside its eastern walls, where he set them to work clearing the site. Perhaps he was taking his cue from Xuanzang, who had written that outside Kapilavastu's eastern gate was 'the temple of Isvara-deva. In the temple is a figure of the deva [god or deity] made of stone, which has the appearance of rising in a bent position. This is the temple which the royal prince when an infant entered.'

Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji's exemplary plan and cross-section of his excavation of the stupa sited outside the eastern gate of Tilaura Kot, previously dug into at the top and then abandoned by Major Waddell.

The central mound and 'Queen Mayadevi's bathing poor at Lumbini, photographed from the south by Babu P. C. Mukherji in March 1899. The top of the Asokan pillar can just be made out half way down the slope left of the mound topped by the brick Hindu temple.

A detail from Mukherji's map of the same area. A trial trench dug by him can be seen in both photo and map. (From P C. Mukherji's Report)

Dr. Fuhrer had claimed to have found this same Isvara-deva temple some distance to the north-east, and it may be that Dr. Waddell was still focused on proving the German wrong. In the event, the mound revealed itself to be a brick stupa very similar in shape and construction to that at Piprahwa. On the second day he abandoned his dig and, without another word to Mukherji, headed for the Indian border.

Babu Mukherji completed the work on the stupa that Waddell had abandoned and then took his labour force to Lumbini, where he spent a week conducting a detailed survey of that complex site, complete with trial trenches, before moving on to do the same at Piprahwa.

In the meantime, Dr. Waddell had reached Calcutta, where he immediately dashed off a short report, dated 22 March 1899, which he submitted to the Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Revenue and Agriculture. 'Ultimately I found a site possessing the aggregated topographical features of Kapilavastu as described by the Chinese pilgrims,' he stated baldly and untruthfully. 'And I also found what seems to be the original position of the Kanakamuni pillar.'

Dr. Fuhrer, it may be remembered, had linked the Gotihawa pillar to Buddha Krakuchanda, almost certainly correctly. Dr. Waddell's theory was that the Gotihawa pillar was actually the base of the Buddha Kanakamuni pillar. Finding that the bottom of the stump of the Nigliva Sagar had broken off at an angle and seeing that the top of the Gotihawa pillar had been sheared off in the same way, Waddell had concluded that all three pieces of pillar were from the one column, which had originally stood at Gotihawa. It was an ingenious theory, raised several times since, but spoiled by the fact that the diameter of the base of the Nigliva Sagar stump is greater that that of the top of the Gotihawa pillar. Recent tests have also shown that the composition of the two pillars is slightly different.

Waddell concluded his little report by drawing the Government of India's attention to the 'deplorable way in which Government is being misled over this important historical enquiry.' He begged that it should henceforward 'be treated as an imperial and not a provincial matter'— in other words, dealt with by the Government of India and not by the Government of the NWP&O. In the meantime, he urged that 'the surveyor of the North-Western Provinces Government' — meaning Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji — 'who is at present causing the Nepalese government needless trouble in excavating sites to no useful purpose, should be withdrawn without delay.' He also submitted a claim for 450 rupees to cover 'the enormous amount of unforeseen travelling which I had to perform.'

It is not known whether Waddell's expenses claim was upheld but his report was copied and passed on to the Government of the NWP&O, where it ended up on the desk of the new Chief Secretary, who passed it on to his predecessor, Vincent Smith, for his comments. Smith responded with a confidential letter the contents of which have not, alas, been preserved.

Dr. William Hoey did rather better, for in the course of his visit to Saina-Maina as a guest of General Khadga Shumsher Rana he learned that the sub-district south-east of the township was called Bhaghaura. Hoey shared the General's theory that the river which flowed down from the foothills west of the village of Saina-Maina was the ancient River Rohini, which in Buddha Sakyamuni's time had divided the Sakya country of Kapilavastu from the Koliya country of Koliygrama /Ramagrama /Devadaha. Somewhere in this region was the stupa-mound erected by the Koliyas over their one-eighth share of Sakyamuni Buddha's relics, the only one not subsequently opened by the Emperor Asoka. Although the stupa came to be known as the Ramagrama stupa, it was originally said to be at Byaghrapura, which to Dr. Hoey's ears sounded too similar to the modern Bhaghaura to be a coincidence.

Wild elephants lay flowers at the Buddha relic stupa at Ramagrama while Naga snake divinities coil protectively round the dome. A relief from the Amaravati stupa now in the British Museum, most probably dating from the Kushan era (first—third century CE).

Both the Chinese travellers had visited the Ramagrama stupa, both journeying east from Lumbini to get there. Unusually, it was Faxian who had provided the most valuable account of why the great emperor had failed to open up the stupa — and what had befallen it thereafter:

East from Buddha's birthplace, and at a distance of five yojanas, there is a kingdom called Rama. The king of this country, having obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha's body, returned with it and built over it a tope, named the Rama tope. By the side of it there was a pool, and in the pool a dragon, which constantly kept watch over (the tope), and presented offerings to it day and night. When king Asoka came forth into the world, he wished to destroy the eight topes, and to build (instead of them) 84,000 topes. After he had thrown down the seven (others), he wished next to destroy this tope. But then the dragon showed itself took the king into its palace; and when he had seen all the things provided for offerings, it said to him, 'If you are able with your offerings to exceed these, you can destroy the tope, and take it all away. I will not contend with you.' The king however, knew that such appliances for offerings were not to be had anywhere in the world, and thereupon returned (without carrying out his purpose).

(Afterwards), the ground all about became overgrown with vegetation, and there was nobody to sprinkle and sweep (about the tope); but a herd of elephants came regularly, which brought water with their trunks to water the ground, and various kinds of flowers and incense, which they presented at the tope.

After saying his farewells to Dr. Waddell, and most probably to General Khadga Shumsher, too, since there is no mention of the General accompanying him, Dr. Hoey made his way back from Saina-Maina towards the Indian border, but by an indirect route that took him south-east into the sub-district of Bhagahura and to the little market town of Parasi Bazaar. Four miles south of the town on a bend in the River Jharahi Hoey came upon an impressively large and quite undisturbed stupa. It was some thirty-seven miles due east of Lumbini, not that different from Faxian's five yojanas, or about thirty-three miles. This, Hoey concluded, had to be the relic stupa of the Koliyas at Byaghrapura containing the undisturbed share of Sakyamuni Buddha's remains. Modern Buddhist archaeology tends to agree with Dr. Hoey, and for religious reasons the stupa of Ramagrama remains undisturbed to this day, keeping whatever secrets it may hold.

It was not until the publication in 1901 of Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji's A Report on a Tour of Exploration of the Antiquities of Kapilavastu Tarai of Nepal, during February and March of 1899, that the world of archaeology first got to hear of the true identification of Kapilavastu, and who had made it. Of course, as far as the general public was concerned that honour had already been claimed by Dr. Anton Alois Fuhrer, late Archaeological Surveyor to the Government of the NWP&O. Even so, after all the humiliations that Dr. Waddell had heaped on him, it must have been a sweet moment for Babu Mukherji when he opened the May 1899 issue of the Theosophist to read in print his own account of the discovery of Kapilavastu, in which he informed that periodical's readers that:

You will be agreeably surprised to hear that though the discovery of Kapilavastu was announced to the world two years ago, Dr. Waddell and Dr. Fuhrer each fighting for and claiming the credit of the discovery, and though the former was deputed by the Bengal Government in this year, the exact site remained unidentified, till I, deputed by the North-Western Provinces and Oude Government, was able to trace it — thanks to the great Masters who are guiding our good works.

Dr. Waddell's immediate response was to threaten to sue.
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

Postby admin » Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:25 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 7: The Prince Priest

Gorakhpur Division, 1898

The speed with which news of the Buddha relics uncovered at Piprahwa spread by word of mouth can be judged by the fact that within a week of the stone coffer's opening on 18 January 1898 a yellow-robed, shaven-headed and austere-looking Siamese bhikku (monk) arrived at the gates of Birdpore House demanding to speak to Peppe Sahib.

Ever since the discovery of the inscribed Asokan pillar at Lumbini in December 1896 Buddhists from Burma, Tibet and Ceylon had started coming to the area, at long last able to fulfil the pilgrim's basic requirement to visit the scenes of Sakyamuni Buddha's birth, enlightenment, first sermon and Maharaparinirvana. The subsequent discovery of what appeared to be the remains of the Buddha allotted to the Sakyas had as yet received no publicity, yet already here was a pilgrim humbly yet very firmly requesting permission to view the relics — and no ordinary pilgrim at that.

The monk was received by the Peppes as an honoured guest. He came bearing credentials, one known sponsor being a highly-respected Pali scholar of Ceylon, the Venerable Sri Subhiti, abbot of the Waskaduwe Vihara at Kulatura, and an avid collector of Buddha relics. The Ven. Subhiti had already asked for and received from the Government of Bombay a relic from a stupa excavated at Sopara. From the Commissioner of Gaya, the eminent linguist Mr. George Grierson, Superintendent of the newly-established Linguistic Survey of India, he had received a branch of the sacred bodhi tree at Bodgaya, and he even then was in the process of securing from Major Harold Dean of the Indian Political Service, recently returned from a military campaign in Chitral, 'at his own expenses, as a present two boxes containing some ancient sculptures of Buddhism and stone images of Buddha which were discovered by him during the same time.'

The Ven. J. C. Jinavaravansa's signed carte de visite, presented to Willie Peppe at Birdpore on 5 April 1898. (Courtesy of Neil Peppe) 

The stern-looking Siamese monk first declared himself to be the Venerable Jinavaravansa, acting as the Ven. Subhiti's agent in his quest for Buddha relics. Then, greatly to the bemusement of the Peppes,' he let it be known that before renouncing the world he had been Prince Prisdang Chumsai, grandson of King Rama III of Siam and cousin of the present ruler King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). Before and after photographs, subsequently presented to the Peppes, helped to establish his bona fides.

The Siamese Royal Prince Prisdang Chumsai. His photograph is dated from just after his fall from grace and exile to Ceylon but before his ordination as a Buddhist monk. (Courtesy of Neil Peppe)

The Ven. Jinavaravansa made an immediate impression on the Peppes, and not merely because he was a Siamese prince. In addition to a commanding presence and impeccable manners, he spoke excellent English, which was not surprising considering his upbringing and early life. Born in Siam in 1851, he had been educated in Singapore by order of his uncle the enlightened and much misrepresented King Mongkut (Rama IV) of 'The King and I' notoriety before being sent to England to study engineering at King's College, London. After becoming the first Siamese to graduate from a Western university Prince Prisdang had been accredited as Siam's ambassador to a number of countries, as well as acting as his country's treaty negotiator. In 1885 he had written the draft of Siam's first constitution but in the following year was accused by his cousin King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) of conspiring with others in writing a sixty-page petition urging him to reform or risk being colonised by a Western power. He was summoned back to Siam and appointed director-general of his country's new Post and Telegraph Department, only to resign after 'vicious' allegations were made against him by his enemies. These allegations were probably of a political nature but the official line was that, having criticised the King for his polygamy, he himself had left his wife and children for a woman he had met in Hong Kong. His response was to go into self-imposed exile in Ceylon, where in 1896 he took holy orders as a Buddhist monk at the Waskaduwe Vihara in Ceylon, soon afterwards setting out on what became an extended pilgrimage to all the Buddhist sacred sites — which in late January 1898 brought him to Birdpore House.

After being shown round the Piprahwa stupa and having venerated the relics found therein, the 'Prince-Priest' — as Jinavaravansa now became known to the Peppes and to the British authorities — intimated that he had come on a double mission: to secure a share of the Piprahwa relics for the Buddhists of Ceylon but also to ensure that the rest went to Siam. 'No relics of the Buddha authenticated by an inscription have ever been found and this makes the Piprahwa relics unique,' he subsequently argued in a letter to Willie Peppe. Considering 'how little importance Europeans attach to the bone and ash relics, he was sure that the Government of India would now agree 'to do what is right and legitimate.' He then went on to explain why his cousin King Chulalongkorn was the most appropriate person to have custody of the Piprahwa relics:

1. The king of Siam is suggested as the proper person to have the custody and the right to distribute as he is the only and sole remaining Buddhist sovereign in the world;

2. When the king visited the island [of Ceylon] last year, on his way to Europe, the Ceylonese petitioned him to extend his patronage in a more direct manner and asked him to send good and learned priests from Siam to reorganise and establish the order of priesthood and unite them with the sacred order of the brotherhood of Siam, an order that has been reformed and reorganised by the late king of Siam;

3. The order of Buddhist priesthood [in Siam] is now recognised as the most strict and pure that has continued in unbroken succession from the time that Buddhism was introduced into the country, which cannot be said of any other country.

However, Peppe had already placed the Piprahwa relics at the disposal of Government, which meant that the matter was out of his hands. He therefore passed the Prince-Priest's memorandum on to the Commissioner of Gorakhpur, Dr. Hoey. On 13 April 1898 Hoey wrote formally to the Chief Secretary to the Government of the NWP&O, enclosing Jinavaravansa's memorandum. 'There is I believe; he wrote, 'no doubt from the credentials with which he came furnished that Jinavaravansa is really the cousin of the king of Siam, but I am not prepared to recommend that the gift should be made to him.' The issue should, in his opinion, be handled at the highest level.

There were good reasons for treating the disposal of the relics with the greatest caution since a major dispute had been raging for some years at Bodhgaya between Buddhists of the newly-formed Maha Bodhi Society, led by the Ceylonese reformer Anagarika Dharmapala, and a group of Hindus over the ownership of a site the Buddhists regarded as theirs. In 1894 a near-riot had occurred at the Mahabodi temple in which Dharmapala and a number of his followers had been assaulted and injured by zealots acting for the Hindu mahant, or head priest, whose order had been in occupation of the temple site for some generations. The Government of India's first duty was to its own majority constituency of Hindus, yet the issue of the Buddha relics could also be turned to the Government's advantage. Hoey continued:

It is a matter of common knowledge that the Buddhists are not satisfied because the Budh Gya temple is in the possession of the Hindus. The attitude of the Government of Bengal in this matter is necessarily one of neutrality. At the same time the connection of the British government with Buddhist countries renders it desirable that if an incidental opportunity to evince its consideration for Buddhists should arise, advantage should be taken of it to manifest its good will. Viewing the Government of India in this case as the British Government, I consider its relations with Siam, a country bordering on Burma, would justify the gift for which the application has been made. At the same time I believe that the coveted relics should be forwarded through this Government [of the NWP&O] to the Government of India and transmitted by His Excellency the Governor-General [i.e. the Viceroy] to the King of Siam.

Vincent Smith, recently appointed to the post of acting Chief Secretary and now stationed in Naini Tal, replied to Hoey on 18 May approving his actions and saying that the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir Anthony MacDonnell, had taken a keen interest in the discoveries at Piprahwa Kot, and had concluded that the finds fell into two categories:

To the Buddhist world the actual relics are a matter of intense interest. To European scholars the accessories, e.g. the stone coffer, the crystal vase and the small finds are the matter of interest and the two classes of objects require different treatment. The objects of interest to Europeans should be placed in a museum such as the Imperial Museum, Calcutta, and the authorities would be asked to send sets of duplicate objects to the Provincial Museum, Lucknow, and to decide whether any objects should be sent to the British Museum.

As for the relics themselves, which Smith described as 'the fragments of bone and ashes,' these were, for the time being, to be 'placed in a sealed jar in the Government Treasury at Basti' pending a final decision. Smith also reported that it had been agreed that Willie Peppe should be allowed to retain 'a few duplicates' of the Piprahwa treasure for himself.

Before going on to take up his new post of Commissioner of Faizabad, Vincent Smith returned to Birdpore House where he and Willie Peppe sifted through all the gems, gold leaves and other pieces from the Piprahwa stone coffer to make an agreed division which left the Peppes with about one-sixth of the original treasure, which Willie Peppe subsequently had sealed inside four or five double-sided glass cases.

The Government of India's main share was then boxed up and, together with the crystal casket, the four soapstone caskets and the stone coffer, taken by Willie Peppe by train down to Calcutta, where on 3 August he handed them over to Dr. Bloch, Superintendent of the Indian Museum.

In the meantime both the Prince-Priest, now staying at Bodhgaya, and his religious superior in Ceylon, the Ven. Subhiti, were anxiously waiting for further news of the relics — and begging for a share of them. The Ven. Subhiti wrote to Vincent Smith to tell him that he 'would be placing me under a very great obligation if you could procure for me one of these bone relics' and, when that plea failed, he wrote directly to the Viceroy, Lord Elgin, reminding him that the Government of India's record on the preservation of Buddhist relics left much to be desired:

The great number of holy relics acquired by Cunningham from Punjab and other places in India had been sent and placed in the British Museum in England, but they were all destroyed by a fire. On a subsequent occasion when some more were found and when they were being carried to England the ship was wrecked and they were all lost. At these the Buddhists are much grieved. Their grief is that the Piprahwa relics will also be lost if kept out. With respect to this, a pupil of the memorialist's [,] P.C. Jinawarawansa bhiksu, a member of the royal family of Siam[,] was sent to India by the memorialist and the Buddhist community of Ceylon to inspect the said holy relics.

It is hereby humbly requested to the British government[,] who are our rulers and who never disrespect any religion[,] that they may be allowed to have the said relics so found to be deposited in stupas to be built for the purpose and to worship, reserving to Government any share for the purpose of keeping and preserving in such museums.

On the same day on which he wrote to Hoey, 18 May, Smith also wrote to the Chief Secretary of the Government of India to inform him of Peppes discoveries and enclosing letters from Jinavaravansa and Subhiti. He also stated that Sir Antony MacDonnell was of the opinion that 'all Buddhist countries will desire to share in relics of such sanctity' but that their disposal could be 'more conveniently decided by the Government of India'. This reluctance to recommend a course of action on the part of the Lieutenant-Governor was perhaps attributable to the fact that relations with a foreign power were not among his responsibilities — although it might well be put down to a characteristic of which the next Viceroy, Lord Curzon, was later to complain: Antony MacDonnell's reluctance to offer an opinion on any topic.

In the event, the Government of India decided in late July that the Piprahwa relics should be entrusted by the Government of the NWP&O to the King of Siam 'as the only existing Buddhist monarch for distribution on condition that His Majesty would not object to offer a portion of the relics to the Buddhists of Burma and Ceylon'. The good offices of the Prince-Priest would not be required. On 29 July Willie Peppe wrote to the Ven. Jinavaravansa in Bodhgaya to break the news, only to find that the latter had been kept fully informed: 'To me it matters not in the least who takes the relics to Siam: replied the Prince-Priest, 'so long as the King is recognised as having claim to them as the head of the Buddhist religion, and I am only sorry that you were not selected, as I had hoped that you would be, to take the relics to Siam, but that the Siamese Govt. is to send a deputation to receive them.'

The Prince-Priest also took the opportunity to ask if he might have some examples of the relic jewels that Peppe had been allowed to keep:

I would ask you to let me have one of the Buddhist crosses which is quite unknown in Siam, as a specimen, and one or two of the different kinds of flowers, which are the characteristic of them, as also one trident, for exchange with anything you may consider equivalent and like to have, either from Siam or Ceylon, and I hope you will let me have them if you could possibly spare them as souvenirs of my visit to your home.

The Prince-Priest got what he asked for and soon afterwards the Peppes were surprised to receive a parcel containing an album of Siamese postage stamps in mint condition, followed by a note from Jinavaravansa explaining that this was 'a complete collection of Siamese postage & revenue stamps which contains all the stamps are [sic] are in Siam even in the present day except one [sic] one "att" stamp which has since been introduced. Several of these are not issued and are therefore very rare.'

Equally determined to secure some of Peppe's share of the jewels was the Ven. Subhiti, the first of whose begging letters was written on 17 June, just as garbled press reports of Dr. Fuhrer's activities at the 'massacre of the Sakyas' site at Sagarwa had begun to muddy the waters:

I hear that the relics & other articles you have discovered were taken in charge of Govt, but you have been allowed to have some of those for your disposal. I hear also some false rumours given out by some people who were in India regarding these relics, i.e. that there were only a few bone relics of Buddha and all the rest were bones of those Sakyas who were died at the battle of Widudhaba war, etc. ... I am now most anxiously waiting & aiming at my mind always towards that quarter with the expectation of receiving from you some of those bone relics of every size as you have kindly intimated me your desire of doing so.

More letters followed — until their recipient finally cracked. Added to the top of one such letter, dated 8 August, is a brief note in Willie Peppe's handwriting: 'Sent him 20 relics & one gold roll 15.8.98. WCP.' These begging letters were a foretaste of what lay in store for the family, who until the remaining Piprahwa jewels were removed to England by Willie Peppe's second son Humphrey some five decades later were constantly having to deal with strangers turning up unannounced to see the collection and to beg or even demand an item for themselves.

Having willingly accepted the conditions attached to the offer by the Government of India, King Chulalongkorn of Siam deputed Phya Sukhom, a Royal Commissioner of the Ligor Circle in Southern Thailand, to head a delegation to India to receive the relics. On Tuesday 14 February 1899 Commissioner Sukhom, accompanied by his Secretary, was received by Commissioner Hoey at Gorakhpur. The party proceeded to Birdpore where Peppe showed his visitors round the site from which he had extracted the stone coffer thirteen months earlier. The party then returned to Gorakhpur, where on Thursday 16 February the relics were brought from the Government Treasury at Basti and presented 'with great ceremony' to the King's representative, who then placed them in a number of small golden pagodas specially made for that purpose. By way of exchange Peppe received from Phya Sukhom a decorated tray, initially dismissed as cheap brass-work and used for visitors' calling cards but afterward found to be high-quality silverware.

A lithograph of the lost Hoey standing Buddha. This is the only known representation, taken from Hoey's and Smith's joint article in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 1895.

Presiding over the handover was Dr. William Hoey, representing the Governments of India and the NWP&O, who declared:

On this occasion we cannot but recall the gathering of rival kings who were prepared to fight at Kusinara for the cremated body of the great preacher of peace, among the many episodes of whose life none stand out more beautiful than his interventions between brother tribes and kingly neighbours to prevent bloodshed. Nor can we forget the events which led to the extinction of Buddhism in the Indian land where it was first propagated; one of many instances which may be cited in the history of the world in which the power of kings was used to push or crush a religious system. Reflecting on these bygone days we are entitled to congratulate ourselves that we live in an age of toleration and of wide sympathy with the faiths which others profess. As a practical illustration of this sympathy the present memorable occasion loses none of its significance.

There is one small footnote to these events. Is it possible that the missing 'third Buddha' from Dr. Hoey's collection mentioned earlier (see Chapter 4, p. 112) might have found its way to Bangkok at this time? One wonders whether the statuette could have been presented by Hoey to the Royal Envoy, Phya Sukhom, on this occasion in 1899 — or even given at an earlier date to Prince-Priest Jinavaravansa.

From Birdpore Commissioner Phya Sukhum proceeded by train to Calcutta, where he received from the Indian Museum a selection, listed as 'fragments of stone vase, gold and silver leaves, jewellery, pearl and coral,' of the Piprahwa jewels now in their collection.

It is worth noting that the decision to hand over the Buddha relics to the King of Siam was taken during the viceroyalty of Lord Elgin and was already known to Peppe when Lord Curzon's appointment was announced on 11 August 1898 — Elgin himself had only been told the day before. Curzon took up office only at the beginning of 1899 shortly before the relics were handed over. The arrangements for the ceremony had presumably been made long before and it seems that Curzon had no desire to change them, being quite content that the hand-over should be done at the provincial level. The lack of reference to Piprahwa in either his or Elgin's correspondence with London suggests that they attached no great importance to it. What Curzon's private correspondence does show, however, is that he regarded himself as a friend of the King of Siam and they exchanged a number of extremely cordial personal letters both before and after Curzon took up office; in one of these the King thanked Curzon for giving his envoy 'every facility' in his mission to receive the relics.

On 9 February 1900 a third and far grander ceremony took place in Bangkok — one that in its own way mirrored that which had taken place at Kushinagara some 2,500 years earlier — at which two portions of the Piprahwa Buddha relics were presented to delegates from the Shwe Dagon pagoda in Rangoon and the Arakan pagoda in Mandalay; one portion to delegates from the Marichiwatta stupa at Anuradhapura; and two portions handed over 'conjointly with the condition of mutual agreement as to the place of deposit' to representatives of five different Buddhist sects from Ceylon: the Malwatta and Asgiriya viharas in Kandy and three viharas in Colombo. In a final ceremony the remaining Buddha relics from Piprahwa and the associated jewels were enshrined in the Golden Mount pagoda in Bangkok.

The Prince-Priest played no part in these ceremonies. Some months after his intervention at Birdpore he returned to Ceylon, where after leading a life of extreme austerity for some years he became the abbot of Dipaduttamarama Vihara in Colombo, reinvigorating that foundation and setting up a number of schools for Buddhists. The relic jewels he obtained from Willie Peppe were eventually enshrined by him in the Ratna Chetiya or Jewel Stupa at Dipaduttamarama, the building of which he had begun in 1908.

With the death of King Chulalongkorn in 1910 the Ven. P. C. Jinavaravansa returned to Siam but was prevented by the new king, his nephew Vajiravudh (King Rama VI), from attending his cousin's cremation so long as he dressed as a monk. He was afterwards forbidden to join the Siamese sangha as a bhikku. Forced to return to secular life in Siam, Prince Prisdang Chumsai continued to be treated as an outcast by the king and eventually moved to Japan, only returning to Siam after the bloodless coup of 1932 which marked Siam's transition from absolute to constitutional monarchy. He died all but forgotten in 1935.

As for the disgraced Anton Alois Fuhrer, it seems he too may have sought refuge in the Dharma, for the February 1902 edition of the Maha-Bodhi and United Buddhist World, a journal edited by the notable Buddhist reformer Anagarika Dharmapala and published in Calcutta, carried a short paragraph of local news headed 'A German Buddhist Priest': The item read in full:

The Ceylon Standard remarks: 'Much interest has been excited in Buddhist and other circles at the prospect of Dr. Fuhrer [sic] coming to Ceylon to join the Buddhist priesthood. The Press notices recently made regarding this gentleman have given rise to grave suspicion. We understand that Dr Fuhrer will have an opportunity given him of refuting the charges made against him before he is accepted by the leading Buddhists here as an exponent of the religion of Buddha.'

This paragraph shows that attempts by the Government of the NWP&O to keep the Fuhrer scandal under wraps had failed, but it may also provide an explanation for Fuhrer's bizarre behaviour. Some of his earlier frauds, such as the plagiarism of other people's work, can be put down to the actions of a man under pressure who thought he could cut corners and get away with it. Once head of his little department he began to make bold claims for the early dating of Jain sculptures excavated by him at Mathura believing he would be unchallenged, which suggests a certain academic naiveté. However, from the mid-1890s his work became increasingly focussed on Buddhist sites, and at this same time he came under pressure from his employers, the Government of the NWP&O, to demonstrate the worth of his archaeological department. His first truly outrageous claim was to have seen the great stupa of Kanakamuni Buddha at Nigliva Sagar and the ruins of Kapilavastu nearby. This was the action of a man who genuinely believed himself on the verge of a great discovery and who badly needed just such a discovery, but who had run out of time. It was a gamble and, in the event, he was desperately unlucky in failing to find Kapilavastu where he had already proclaimed it to be. But from that time onwards his actions seem also have been driven by a second factor: the discovery of Buddhism itself — a discovery intimately bound up with his readings and re-readings of Faxian and Xuanzang and his close identification with the latter in particular. Like his rivals Waddell and Smith, Fuhrer set too much store by the directions and distances they gave and what they saw, the great difference between these three searchers being that only one took them literally.

Fuhrer wanted to believe that the sacred landscape explored by two devout Chinese Buddhists in the fifth and seventh centuries still existed in that same idealised form in the last decade of the nineteenth century. So strongly did he believe this that he sought to make it so. The second of the reported bogus Buddha relics sent to the Burmese monk U Ma he said had come from the relic stupa of Sakyamuni Buddha at Kapilavastu — a Kapilavastu not yet located in the geographical sense but already firmly established in Fuhrer's mind on some metaphysical plane. This metaphysical reality may be extended to his bogus relics, for there is no evidence that he sought any financial gain from them. His sole motive appears to have been a desire to satisfy U Ma's hunger — and perhaps his own — for Buddha relics. By the time he came to write his extraordinary and fantastical Monograph on Buddha Sakyamuni's Birth-place in the Nepalese Tarai he was quite patently inhabiting a parallel world in which the only truth that mattered was that of Sakyamuni Buddha's homeland, as seen through the eyes of Xuanzang.

The archaeological fakery of which Anton Fuhrer stands accused is by no means unheard of in archaeological circles. In 2000 the Japanese archaeologist Fujimori, who for two decades had been rewriting early Japanese history with progressively earlier finds, was caught on videotape salting a site about to be excavated by his team and afterwards confessed to having tampered with most of the 180 prehistoric excavations he had worked on. Biblical archaeology has also proved a rich field for those desperate to prove some aspect of Biblical truth, whether in seeking to prove the existence of Jesus by faking an inscription, as in the case of the 'James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus' ossuary trumpeted by an American publication in 2002, or to show that Jewish refugees came to the Americas in the first century, as suggested by the ten commandments in Old Hebrew supposedly found inscribed on a rock in the desert at Los Lunas, New Mexico, in the early 1980s. Somewhat closer to home and to Dr. Fuhrer's behaviour is the case of Frederick Bligh Bond, who in 1901 was appointed by the trustees of Glastonbury Abbey to carry out excavations at the ruins of this famous abbey in Somerset. He claimed that his excavations were guided by the psychic thoughts of a group of long-departed monks who together formed the 'Company of Avalon' and wished to see the abbey rebuilt. The trustees decided that the Company of Avalon was interfering with Mr. Bond's archaeological explorations and his engagement was terminated.
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

Postby admin » Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:25 am

Part 2 of 2

What happened to Fuhrer after his arrival in Colombo — and to the unfortunate wife and children who presumably accompanied him — remains a mystery. They simply disappeared from public notice. As the news item from the Ceylon Standard shows, the press were on to Dr. Fuhrer. The scandal made good copy and reporters would have pursued him wherever he went — unless he and his family travelled under a different name. It would be nice to think that, whatever surname Anton Alois may or may not have assumed, he and his family found peace and a sanctuary in which to rebuild their lives.

As for the man who believed that Fuhrer had robbed him of the glory due to him, Dr. Waddell continued to demand redress. It is clear from the guarded responses in the files of the Government of the NWP&O that Dr. Waddell made a series of complaints to the Government of India, charging the Government of the NWP&O with 'official defamation' by publishing Dr. Fuhrer's Buddha's birthplace monograph, which he claimed had injured his 'character and reputation'. The result of the Government of the NWP&O widely circulating 'this falsified report has already been to ruin my reputation amongst the leading Orientalists in Europe and America. Relying on this book as the authoritative pronouncement of Government, they have been led not only to exclude me from all share of the discovery, but to regard me as the impostor in the matter: As if this were not enough, Waddell also complained that he had been publicly defamed 'both in my official and private capacity' by an employee of the Government of the NWP&O, a 'dishonest agency which Government has been and is still employing; despite having been 'utterly discredited as an Archaeologist by all competent authorities to whom he is known, by the Indian Museum, the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and the Bengal Government.'

This unnamed 'dishonest agency' was, of course, poor Babu P. C. Mukherji, and the public defamation of which he was accused was his crowing remark made in The Theosophist about 'Dr. Waddell and Dr. Fuhrer each fighting for and claiming the discovery' of Kapilavastu. In view of 'this person's defamatory attack; Waddell demanded the requisite redress, which was that he should be allowed 'in conjunction with Dr. Hoey, to complete the exploration of the Kapilavastu region', of which he possessed 'unique knowledge.' If no redress was forthcoming he would 'take whatever steps he may deem necessary to vindicate his honour in this matter.'

However, Sir Antony MacDonnell evidently had more important things to think about and he passed Dr. Waddell's complaints on to Vincent Smith, no doubt judging him to be the person best qualified to deal with them, even though the latter was now in his new post as Commissioner of Faizabad and was no longer his acting Chief Secretary. Smith dealt with Waddell tactfully and unambiguously. The first issue was easily dealt with. 'I see nothing in Dr. Fuhrer's unfortunate book which in any way concerns Major Waddell's honor, character, or reputation; he concluded. 'The little note, page 29 of the monograph, which Major Waddell calls "an attack" on him is merely a correction of a bearing, and the correction is not without justification'. By withdrawing the book from circulation, destroying the remaining stock and striking it from the Archaeological Survey of India series the Govt. of the NWP&O was doing all that was required of it.

The famous Mayadevi bas-relief from Lumbini, drawn by P. C. Mukherji's draftsman Sohan Lal. (From P. C. Mukherjes Report)

The issue of Waddell's complaint against Mukherji should have been a more straightforward matter to deal with because it was the word of an officer of the IMS against that of a temporary employee of the Govt. of the NWP&O and a troublesome one at that, with a history of complaints against him. Smith summoned Mukherji down to Faizabad, heard his side of the story and read his full report of his explorations in the Nepal Tarai. It soon became clear to him that the Bengali had excelled himself, not only in relation to his work at Tilaura Kot but also at Lumbini where, quite apart from his two weeks of mapping and excavating, he had also used his status as a Brahmin to make a thorough search of the Hindu temple that straddled the main stupa. In the antechamber he had found, among a number of severely damaged sculptures, a large bas-relief which appeared to have been deliberately broken in two and its features defaced. Within the main shrine itself was a second and much larger bas-relief showing a group of similarly defaced figures, the largest of which had also lost its head when the sculpture had been broken in two. This Mukherji could not immediately identify — until a more thorough search under the floor of the antechamber revealed the missing head. Once the two sections had been reunited it immediately became clear that the largest of the figures was Mayadevi, with her right hand reaching up above her to grasp the branch of a sal tree as she gave birth. Beside her stood her sister Prajapati reaching out towards her, with the figures of Brahma and Indra looking on. At her feet, severely defaced, was the outline of the infant Siddhartha, already standing.

Mukherji had thought the panel to be of a style similar to the workmanship he had seen while excavating at Pataliputra and he had no hesitation in calling it Mauryan and most probably damaged by Muslim iconoclasts, a view shared by Smith, neither recognising that first Fuhrer and then Hoey had seen the Mayadevi figure intact (seep. 135). So by a quirk of fate the discovery of a now world-famous statue, first identified as Queen Maya giving birth by Anton Fuhrer, and again identified as such quite independently a few months later by William Hoey, is today credited to the man who brought back the first image of it, Puma Chanda Mukherji.

Having read Babu Mukherji's extensive and fully illustrated report Smith wrote to Dr. Waddell to ask if he had anything to add to the latter's very brief report written after his return from Nepal. He got no reply, which led him to put on record that 'Major Waddell has unfortunately preferred not to communicate to the Government of the North-Western Provinces and Oude the conclusions at which he has arrived concerning the topography of the Tarai, and I am consequently not able to deal with his criticisms quite so easily as I could if he had expressed himself frankly: He then read the PWD's file containing all the correspondence relating to the recent explorations, including all the charges made against Mukherji by Waddell.

On 25 May 1899 Smith wrote to the Lieutenant-Governor, first giving his judgement on Babu Mukherji:

I have the honor to say that I think Mr. Mukerji did excellent work this year in the Nepalese tarai. He displayed great activity and industry, working with keen enthusiasm, and I have every reason to believe that his surveys and drawings are as accurate as was possible in the circumstances. I consider him an acute and careful observer, though his theories may not always command assent. ... I expect that his final report will add materially to our knowledge of the Buddhist antiquities of the Tarai.

On the issue of Dr. Waddell, Smith was careful to restrict himself to diplomatic language:

I regret that Major Waddell has declined to work in co-operation with Mr. Mukherji, and I am ignorant of his conclusions. ... I regret that I am unable to support the proposal that the exploration of the Kapilavastu region should be completed by Messrs. Waddell and Hoey. Nor can Major Waddell claim to possess unique knowledge of the country to which he paid a flying visit. ... Mr Mukherji was in the country for two months and traversed the same ground as Major Waddell: so far as I know, Major Waddell did not take any plans, drawings or photographs. The draftsman and photographic apparatus remained with Mr. Mukherji, whose knowledge of the various localities must, I should think, be more extensive than that of the rival explorer.

I have never seen Major Waddell, and know him only from his writings. I do not wish to say anything which could give offence, and therefore abstain from assigning reasons for my opinion that it is not desirable to entrust to him the duty of further exploration. ... I fail to see the necessity for the steps which Major Waddell desires to take in vindication of his honor.

Dr. Waddell undertook no further archaeological explorations on Indian soil. In September 1900 he received orders to join the expeditionary force being assembled to put down the Boxer Rebellion in China. On his return he was despatched to the North-West Frontier to take part in a campaign against the Mahsuds. A year later he was involved in yet another frontier campaign, this time in Swat. His hour of glory came in 1903 when he managed to persuade the Government of Bengal that he was the right man to accompany Col. Francis Younghusband on his mission to Tibet as the expedition's archaeologist. His role in that shoddy imperial adventure as cultural commissar has been told elsewhere, but it is fair to say that his behaviour as the expedition's looter-in-chief was exactly what was to be expected of the man who tried and failed to destroy the reputation of a better man who stood in his way.

Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji's Report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Terai, Nepal, the region of Kapilavastu, during February and March 1899 was duly published in 1900 in Volume VI of the Archaeological Survey of Northern India series. It came with a laudatory prefaratory note by Vincent Smith, now retired from Government service and thus freed from the constraints which had hitherto prevented him from discussing Anton Fuhrer's deceptions in the Nepal Tarai. Its publication restored Mukherji's reputation as an archaeologist and led to the publication of his long-delayed report on his excavations of Patna.

Lord Curzon was installed as Viceroy in Calcutta on 3 January 1899. None before or since came better prepared. One of his main concerns was to thoroughly overhaul Indian archaeology, which he criticised as having 'no supervision, no control'. Addressing the Asiatic Society of Bengal in February 1900 he promised a new order in which conservation would go had in hand with excavation, epigraphy and the proper provision of museums. 'It is,' he declared, 'equally our duty to dig and discover, to classify, reproduce and describe, to copy and decipher, and to cherish and conserve. As part of this process a new Surveyor General or Inspector General of Archaeology was required, as in the days of General Cunningham, but someone thoroughly versed in the latest and most scientific techniques. Vincent Smith's name appears to have been put forward for the post but was rejected by Lord Curzon, who wrote privately to the Secretary of State for India that he was 'not the man we want for the new Director-General of Archaeology. He is an amateur, a dilettante and not a man of science. Instead, twenty-six-year-old John Marshall was appointed, a thoroughgoing professional from the British Museum who had learned his trade under Sir Arthur Evans on Crete but with no experience of India.

The arrival of John Marshall in India in 1902 marked the beginnings of the modern era of Indian archaeology. Greater security along India's North-West Frontier meant that the Buddhist civilisation of Gandhara now became the main focus of Marshall's work. One of its casualties was Babu Mukherji, whom Marshall employed not as an archaeologist but as a pandit or learned man. 'Without the advantage of a scientific training; wrote Marshall, 'Babu P. C. Mukherji showed himself ungrudgingly devoted to his work and possessed of a variety of useful knowledge which was not infrequently turned to good account'. The Babu's last known contact with Vincent Smith was made in January 1902 when he wrote to him in England. Only the postscript survives among Smith's papers, but from this it is clear that Mukherji was still eager to complete the work he had begun in the Nepal Tarai in 1899:

As Pandit of the Bengal Survey, I am touring in Behar. I have been last month to the ruins of Bawangurh, near Tirveni, where you once suggested to me that Ramagrama or San-mo might be found. ... Since the question of the identification of Kapilavastu is now almost set at rest, thanks to you for the opportunity you gave me, would it not be better if you recommended to the Govt. of India in connection with your Prefatory Note & the programme of tour I sketched in my Report [on Kapilavastu], for an exhaustive exploration of the region from where you locate Sravasti & Kusinara to Vaisali, embracing a sufficient tract to settle all doubtful points about the Chinese Pilgrims' line of route. I wish to do that work under your supervision. ... This is a great and important work. P. C. Mukherji.

How Smith responded to this appeal is not known. The Bengali Babu is believed to have died of fever in 1903, soon after the publication of his book The Indian Chronology: Buddhistic Period, in which he argued that Vincent Smith in his Asoka; The Buddhist Emperor of India (1901) had got his early chronologies all wrong; that the Sandrocottus of the Greeks was not Chandragupta but Asoka: that there had been two Asokas, one Mauryan and one from the Nanda dynasty; and that it was not Asoka but his grandson Samprati who had put up the inscribed rock edicts — unsupported claims that did nothing to diminish his reputation as a maverick. Although overshadowed by his fellow Bengali, the pioneer Indian archaeologist Rajendra Lala Mitra, sometime President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji deserves to be better remembered by his countrymen, not least for putting the home town of the Buddha Sakyamuni back on the map.

Smith's introduction to Mukherji's Kapilavastu report was not quite his last appearance in print in India. Dr. Fuhrer's years of work on the excavations on the Jain stupas at Mathura had never been published, although a large number of photographic plates, maps and drawings of excellent quality had been prepared. It was decided that something must be done and the task was given to Smith to salvage what he could and get it into print. Smith's The Jain Stupas and Other Antiquities of Mathura was published in 1901 as Volume XX of the Archaeological Survey of India's New Imperial Series. In his Introduction Smith set out the known history of the excavations at Mathura beginning with General Cunningham in 1871 and ending with Dr. Fuhrer's series of excavations between 1888 and 1896. He quoted briefly from Fuhrer's reports as the Lucknow Museum's curator, almost without comment other than to note that one seemingly important inscription highlighted in Fuhrer's final report of 1896 had not been found and that, until it was, 'no inference from it can be safely drawn: Rather than dwelling on Fuhrer's reports he directed the reader to the impressions and photographs sent by Fuhrer to the late Professor Buhler, which the latter had 'admirably edited' and published in Volumes I and II of Epigraphia Indica, adding that 'the necessarily restricted plan of the work precludes me from attempting any elaborate discussion of the numerous topics of interest suggested by the plates.'

Vincent Smith retired from India in 1900, having been preceded by William Hoey, who went home on leave at the end of 1899 and formally retired soon after. Both men had put in enough service in India to be able to claim the generous pension of £1,000 per annum that was one of the major perks of being a member of the Heaven- Born. From 1903 to 1905 Dr. Hoey was Reader in Hindustani and Indian History at Trinity College, Dublin. In 1906 he moved to Oxford, where he was attached to Jesus College as the University Lecturer in Hindustani preparing ICS probationers for their service in India. During this time he published Urdu Praxis: a Progressive Course of Urdu Composition (1907) and A Memorandum on the Training of Selected Candidates for the Civil Service of India as Probationers in England (1913). Until shortly before his death in 1918 he remained an active fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society — the records showing, for example, that in October 1913 he took part in a round table discussion on the dating of King Kanishka that included Vincent Smith and Dr. L. A. Waddell. Shortly before his final retirement in 1916 he published a booklet entitled Going East, no doubt based on the advice he gave to his students and full of practical tips drawn from his own Indian experience. These ranged from the right clothing to buy — 'You want one topi for show and one for use'— to appropriate behaviour — 'Take but little alcohol in any form at any time, and never any until after sunset ... Always keep Quinine in s grain tabloids; but don't dose yourself continually. There is a drug habit known as "Quinine Habit", which is most dangerous' ... 'Wherever you may be stationed, in whatever capacity, learn the vernacular.'

The booklet ends with what could be seen as a summation of Dr. William Hoey's philosophy for getting on in India:

You are to spend the best years of your life in exile. Study the people around you, their interests, customs, sorrows, superstitions and simple joys. Ballad, folklore and fairy tale are the literature of the humble villagers whom you meet in camp and jungle. The forest track, the cover of the sambur, the haunt of the tiger, the buried ruins, the inscribed stone, all are in their keeping. To enter into their life will gain their confidence, and relieve the tedium of your exile.

For Vincent Smith retirement from the ICS meant leaving one career in order to take up a second. He initially settled in Cheltenham from which he commuted to Dublin, where he had been appointed Reader in Indian History and Hindustani at the University of Dublin, but his tenure there was brief. His first major work, Asoka, the Buddhist Emperor of India, was published in 1901 and followed three years later by his Early History of India, in which he controversially followed Anton Fuhrer's lead in declaring Buddha Sakyamuni and his fellow Sakyas to be non-Aryan and 'sturdy hillmen.' This history subsequently became the first part of what was to be his magnum opus, the Oxford History of India, first published in 1919. In 1910, after several years of academic isolation, he moved to Oxford to join St John's College and became a curator of the Indian Institute. A second major disappointment was his failure to get elected to the Readership in Indian History after having served as deputy reader. However, he and Dr. Hoey were mainstays of the Indian Institute for the better part of a decade, during which time Smith contributed scores of papers to learned journals on Indian numismatics and history.

Smith continued to maintain that both Sravasti and Kushinagar were still waiting to be found in the Nepal Tarai. However, in 1907 John Marshall's right-hand man Dr. J. P. Vogel recovered from Kasia no less than 463 seals 'belonging to the Convent of the Great Decease' one showing a 'flaming pyre.' A year later, one of John Marshall's new generation of Indian archaeologists, Pandit Daya Ram Sahni, excavating at Cunningham's Jetavana-Sravasti at Saina-Maina found a copper plate in a monastic cell recording the grant of six villages to 'the community of Buddhist friars, of which Buddhabhattaraka is the chief and foremost, residing in the great convent of holy Jetavana.' Further excavations at Kasia Kushinagar in 1911-12 produced more seals, three showing a coffin between sal trees, as well as a fifth century copper-plate with an inscription indicating it was 'deposited in the (Pari)nirvana-caitya [Maharaparinirvana stupa], and thus testifies that the stupa in which it was found was called by that name and that this spot was believed to be the place of Buddha's death in the fifth century.'

Solid lines show Faxian's route from Sravasti to Kapilavastu and on to Lumbini. Dotted lines show Vincent Smith's proposed route by way of Piprahwa

What held up much better was a hypothesis Smith had first put forward in his introduction of P. C. Mukherji's Report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Terai, Nepal, the region of Kapilavastu, during February and March 1899. Unable to reconcile the two Chinese pilgrims' very different accounts of Kapilavastu and its surrounds, he had re-examined their directions and distances and found Faxian to be much less accurate than Xuanzang. Faxian's unreliability allowed Smith to propose that Faxian and Xuanzang had gone to two quite different Kapilavastus:

The later traveller [Xuanzang] started from the stupa of Kasyapa north of Sravasti and made his way direct to the ruined city on the Banganga [Tilaurakot]. Doubtless he travelled along the road which still exists skirting the foot of the hills through Tulsipur and Panchpirwa in the Gonda District. His predecessor [Faxian] would have followed the same road for most of the way, but in the final stages he must have diverged to the south and marched direct to Palta Devi, or Krakuchandra's town [Faxian's Na-pei-keal to which he reckons the distance to be twelve yojanas. Fa-hien then moved on five miles to the north-east (he calls it north), and reached Sisania, from which he marched five miles to the south-east (he calls it east), and so arrived at Piprava [Piprahwa], or Kapilavastu, from which the Lumbini garden was distant nine or ten miles. He found Konagamana's town more or less directly on the road from Krakuchandra's town to Kapilavastu. He was not interested in the Tilaura-Kot town, and, therefore, passed it by.

In brief, it was Smith's case that Xuanzang's direct route had led him to Kapilavastu II — now Tilaurakot — but that Faxian's more southerly route had taken him first to the town of 'Na-pei-kea' — now Palta Devi in Basti District — and then to the original Kapilavastu I — now the Piprahwa complex.

Palta Devi, according to Smith, was to be found 'in a bend of the Jamuar River, about three miles on the British side of the border' and about six miles west of Birdpore. Francis Buchanan on his pioneering survey eighty years earlier had noted Palta Devi as a Shiva temple built over 'a considerable ancient edifice. The temple was also well known to Willie Peppe, who had himself seen there 'a broken pillar, worshipped as a Mahadeo ... said to extend deep into the ground' which he believed to be Asokan. Owing to religious sensitivities he had been unable to examine the pillar more carefully.

The other modern site referred to by Smith was the village of Sisania (today Sishaniya Pandey) inside Nepal and about five miles north-west of the Piprahwa stupa. Smith had passed close to Sisania on his way to visit Dr. Fuhrer's excavation at Sagarwa but not close enough to see the ruins there, which had first been brought to his attention by Babu Mukherji, who had declared them to be the remains of an ancient town. According to Smith's theory, this was the site of Buddha Kanakamuni's town, first visited by Faxian and then by Xuanzang. As for the Asokan pillar which Xuanzang had seen there, that had subsequently been moved to its present site beside the Nigliva Sagar, perhaps by a Buddhist Pala king in the eleventh or twelfth century: 'Considering that Firoz Shah conveyed the Asoka pillars at Delhi, one from Mirath (Meerut), and the other from Topra near Ambala [Umballa], no difficulty need be felt about the transport of the Konagamana pillar eight or thirteen miles. Coolies are cheap, and with enough coolies anything can be moved.'

What Vincent Smith could not explain was why, if Faxian visited the Piprahwa stupa complex as Kapilavastu, he made no reference to the stupa there as the reliquary of the Sakyas' share of Buddha Sakyamuni's relics. 'I cannot offer any plausible explanation; he admitted, 'which is the more strange, because Fa-hien in his account of Kushinagara alludes to the legend of the division of the relics: What Smith might have proposed was that by the time the Chinese pilgrim came to that region the countryside had reverted to jungle: 'In it there was neither king nor people. All was mound and desolation. Of inhabitants there were only some monks and a score or two of families of the common people.' the few remaining Buddhists would not have been able to read the Brahmi script on the Asokan pillars, and may no longer have known what they represented. The monks relied on oral transmission, verbal accounts handed down from one generation to the next. After gaps in occupation these would inevitably have become corrupted over time.

Smith's 'two Kapilavastus' theory found few supporters at the time, even his old friend and some-time rival William Hoey describing it as 'thin'.

Smith belonged to a generation of administrators who took a paternalistic view of British rule in India. His studies of Indian history led him to conclude that India was unsuited to democratic self-government and his last foray into the public arena was an unwise attack made at the age of seventy-one on the Montagu- Chelmsford proposals for Indian political reform of 1919, which he criticised as pandering to the 'spirit of make-believe' he believed was prevalent in Indian politics. He died in Oxford, in February 1920, his last work, an article on 'The Invasion of the Punjab by Ardashir Papakan (Babagan), the first Sasanian King of Persia, A. D. 226-41,' being published posthumously in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in April 1920.

As for those who had ruled over the tarai in Smith's time, Sir Antony MacDonnell served briefly as the President of the Indian Famine Commission in 1901 before resigning on the grounds of ill-health and returning to London. It was expected that he would return to India as the Governor of Bombay but he surprised everyone by taking up an offer to become the administrative head of the Irish Government as Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Ireland, where his known nationalist sympathies eventually made his position untenable, leading to his resignation in 1908 at the age of 64. He was then given a peerage as the first Baron MacDonnell. On the creation of the Irish Free State in 1921 he was proposed as a senator but declined to take it up. He died without male heir in 1925.

MacDonnell's opposite number across the border, General Khadga Shumsher Rana, continued to bide his time as Governor of the Western Tarai until the death of his elder brother in March 1901. The third brother, Rana Shumsher, had already died so in the absence of General Khadga Shumsher in exile the position of ruling Prime Minister passed to the liberal-minded fourth brother Deva Shumsher, whose unsuitability for the post was shown by his attempt to abolish female slavery in the kingdom. Before his surviving elder brother could summon his allies and march on Kathmandu the other members of the satrabhai met and forced Deva Shumsher to abdicate in favour of the fifth and most able of the brothers, Chandra Shumsher, who became Maharaja and Prime Minister of Nepal in June 1901. In 1903 ex-Prime Minister Deva Shumsher and General Khadga Shumsher made a joint attempt to seize power while Chandra Shumsher was away in Delhi attending the Edward VII Coronation Durbar, but the Prime Minister had been kept fully informed of their plotting and the outcome was that both the two exiled brothers were banished from Nepal for life. The former was given a mansion in the hill-station in Mussoorie and a pension, while his more dangerous elder brother was forced to live at a greater distance from Nepal. He settled in a lakeside villa in Sagar, in the heart of the Central Provinces (now Madya Pradesh) and miles from anywhere.

That the General continued to retain an interest in Buddhist archaeology is shown by a series of articles he contributed to the Pioneer in 1904, in which he speculated on what still lay waiting to be discovered in the Nepal Tarai. Three remarks of his are of particular interest to modern archaeologists. The first concerned the derivation of the name of Tilaura Kot: 'The term Laura is equivalent to Laguda, a Staff. The Asoka pillars would seem to have been called Laguda by the common folk. Tilaura Kot was so called because it contained three pillars.' What the General was too polite to explain to his English-speaking readership was that another meaning of the word laura was 'phallus,' which in a culture that worshipped the male generative organ as a Shaivite symbol would be a perfectly appropriate term to describe a large pillar rising out of the ground. If this was correct there should have been a third Asokan pillar in the area — which led directly on to the General's second observation. This related to the Shaivite temple known as the Towleshwar Mahadev built in the late nineteenth century at the crossroads in the centre of the town of Taulihawa, three miles south of Tilaura Kot:

The temple of Towleshwar Mahadev attracts the attentions of every careful researcher after Buddhistic 'antiquities' and relics by its particular position, i.e. on the raised ground which must always be a stupa; also by the few stone images of the Buddhistic period lying about the place in a state of ruin. I saw a few old 'recluses' there and by pumping the least reluctant member of the community came to know that formerly the mound was topped by a linga, which he affirmed was without end, and built over it the present temple of Towleshwar Mahadev, or the Shiva of Towlihawa. The Linga itself seemed to have been hewn out of a piece of Asoka's pillar although the priest of the temple denied it. I was further told that the Anauta Lingh [i. e. the lingam stone] was Rakta Mutt [red statue] i.e. of a red colour which was characteristic of the red stone of Asoka's pillars. It is a pity that the search for pillars was not made two decades ago, when it lay bare and had not been covered by such a big temple. The 'mystery' of the pillar will, in consequence, remain unsolved for ages to come.

The General believed that this overlooked Asokan pillar in Taulihawa had been placed there by Emperor Asoka to mark the site of the relic-stupa of Buddha Krakuchanda. However, a more plausible theory is that Tilaurakot's Towleshwar Mahadev temple was built around the base of the Buddha Kanakamuni Asoka pillar by Hindu immigrants at some point in the nineteenth century after the upper part of the pillar had been pulled down or broken off. Part of this upper section was then removed to its present site at Nigliva Sagar, where it was deliberately broken in two, perhaps so that the upper section could be used as a roller for crushing sugar cane.

To this day the lingam in the Towleshwar Mahadev temple remains so covered in vermilion powder and offerings that it is impossible to determine what exactly it is. Archaeologists seeking to examine the stone have always been rebuffed by the temple authorities, although it has been suggested that some of these same archaeologists, being good Hindus, have not pressed the matter too hard.

The General also speculated on the real location of Sravasti, believing, like Fuhrer, Smith and Mukherji before him, that it remained undiscovered in Nepal's Western Tarai. He believed it to be located thirty-six miles north of Nepalganj, ninety miles northwest of Tilaurakot in the Surkhet valley:

The valley is almost desolate now — majestic sal trees and bamboo topes growing in solitary grandeur around it — and is interspersed with a few straggling hamlets of which the names of Ramrikad, Deovali, Danda deserve a mention. A friend of mine, who at my request inspected the places, tells me that `Ramrikad; or the beautiful arrow of Bhimsen, means nothing but an octagonal pillar tapering towards the top. Can this be one of the pillars mentioned by Hienthsiang [Xuanzang]? ... The place is said to contain some interesting ruins. Unfortunately, the information reached me at the fag end of my touring season, when the much dreaded malarial fever makes its appearance. I have, therefore, included the examination of this place in my program for next year, when I hope to be able to test the correctness, or otherwise, of my surmise bordering on conviction that Surket is the real Sravasti.

Unfortunately, politics and exile intervened, and General Khadga never got to test his theory. From that day to the present no serious effort has been made to explore the Surkhet area.

According to family legend, General Khadga made one last attempt to return to Nepal in the 1910s. He arranged to meet his younger brother Prime Minister Chandra Shumsher at the India- Nepal border, where the two of them conferred for five minutes out of earshot, after which the brothers turned their backs on each other and returned to their respective homes. The General subsequently spent a decade repairing his family's fortunes through clever investments in Calcutta. Once he was satisfied that his children were well provided for he bade them farewell and moved to the holy city of Varanasi (Senares), where he abandoned his comfortable lifestyle to become a sanyasi. He died there in 1921.

The Mayadevi temple and Asoka pillar at Lumbini as it was in 1930, photographed by Humphrey Peppe.

The Mayadevi temple photographed by Humphrey Peppe a decade after Kesher Shumsher Rana's disastrous excavations and restoration. (Courtesy of Neil Peppe)

Only one other member of the ever-expanding Rana family ever showed any interest in archaeology: Chandra Shumsher Rana's third son Kesher Shumsher, who liked to call himself 'Kaiser.' A great dilettante, best remembered for his library and the 'Garden of Dreams' he had built to his own design in his palace grounds in the heart of Kathmandu (now beautifully restored and open to the public), he most unwisely decided to do some archaeology at the Lumbini site, which had remained untouched since P. C. Mukherji's visit in 1899. Between 1933 and 1939 Kesher Shumsher Rana carried out a number of brutal excavations rather in the style of Dr. Fuhrer but with much less excuse, given that archaeological method had made great strides on the sub-continent over the intervening three decades.

As photos taken in the early 1930s show, the site was desperately in need of conservation, but Kesher Shumsher's conservation took the form of demolition. In the name of archaeology he demolished many of the smaller stupas that surrounded the original Mauryan stupa and destroyed most of the ornately decorated brick platform that had been built about it in Gupta times. Then in the name of restoration he replaced the crude little brick Hindu temple with an even cruder version set on a modern brick platform with railings. At the same time the original 'Mayadevi bathing pool' was dug away, reshaped into a rectangle and provided with stone steps in the manner of a Hindu bathing ghat.

Under the oppressive rule of the Ranas no word of criticism or foreign interference was allowed. The restoration of the Shah monarchy in 1951 first opened Nepal to the modern world but did little to improve things. It took the visit of the UN Secretary General U Thant to Lumbini in 1967 to get the Government of Nepal — which, to all intents, meant the Hindu monarch King Mahendra — to take an active interest in the country's Buddhist heritage. The Buddhist U Thant let it be known that he was deeply distressed by the condition of the site of the Buddha's birthplace and this shamed the king into setting up a committee to restore Lumbini and turn it into a centre of international pilgrimage. A Japanese architect was brought in to design the Lumbini Master Plan, creating three areas linked with walkways and a canal, with the Mayadevi Sacred Garden complex at one end, a monastic zone in the middle and a secular zone at the other end. Even so, it was not until 1992 that a major recovery programme was begun to restore the Mayadevi temple, involving archaeologists from the Japan Buddhist Federation, the Government of Nepal's Department of Archaeology and the Lumbini Development Trust. What little was left of the original Mauryan central stupa was almost totally stripped away to reveal a base made up of some fifteen chambers, surrounded by a square circumambulation path — a floor not so dissimilar from that of the damaged stupa uncovered by Dr. Anton Fuhrer at Sagarwa. At its centre was found an irregularly shaped slab of rough conglomerate rock, with a natural 'footprint' at its centre. Its significance remains undetermined but its careful positioning at the centre of the stupa raised over it suggests that it was intended to be a marker stone representing the exact spot on which the child Buddha was born.

Sad to say, once the area had been stripped back to basics it was covered by a new temple, designed by the Nepal Institute of Engineering, in every way as inappropriate and as hideous as its predecessor. Critics are assured that this is temporary but to date no alternative plans have been put forward to do what is required, which is to restore the area to something closer to its original Asokan form and to give it back its sanctity.
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

Postby admin » Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:32 am

Part 1 of 2

Chapter 8: The Aftermath

1900- 2008

On 6 June 2004 the then general secretary of the Buddhist Society in London and a volunteer were together making a photographic inventory of the Society's possessions at their premises at 58 Ecclestone Square. In what is known as the Rupa cabinet in the Society's lecture room they found a small cardboard box with a label on the lid on which was written in ink in Willie Peppe's distinctive handwriting "'Relics of Buddha" from the Piprawah Stupa Birdpore Estate Gorukhpur N.W.P. India 1898'. Inside, nestling in each of twelve compartments, were twelve jewels from the Piprahwa stupa: two pearl-like objects, two necklace beads, four flower-petal-shaped gems of different colours, and the remaining four stones cut in various shapes and sizes.

Although the box was known about, no one at the Buddhist Society was quite sure how long it had been in the Rupa cabinet or where it had come from. Yet it had certainly been with the Society for some years and probably dated from the first period of the Society's history, which went back to 1907 and the formation of the Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland.

The handwriting, the date on the box, the archaic spelling of 'Gorukhpue and the use of 'NWP,' which was abandoned in 1903 when the province was renamed the United Provinces, all suggested very strongly that Willie Peppe had presented the twelve jewels as a gift before returning to India and Birdpore in the autumn of 1900. The most likely explanation is that the box came to the Buddhist Society indirectly through Prof. Thomas Rhys Davids or his widow Caroline Rhys Davids (who spoke to the Society on the subject of Buddhist archaeology in 1930), but that they had originally been presented by Willie Peppe to the Royal Asiatic Society on 10 April 1900.

On that date Peppe was a guest of the RAS at their premises at 22 Albemarle Street when their Honorary Secretary, Rhys Davids, gave an illustrated lecture on the Piprahwa excavation and its significance. The Society's records show that Peppe afterwards answered questions from the floor and received a vote of thanks, proposed by Rhys Davids and seconded by Dr. William Hoey, for 'the great services he had rendered to the history and archaeology of India'. However, there is no record of a box of Buddhist reliquary jewels being presented at that occasion or at any other time, although it should be said that the Society's records are far from complete after two changes of address subsequent to its occupation of 22 Albemarle Street.

A striking feature of Rhys Davids' lecture was the stress he laid on the authenticity of the Piprahwa excavation: 'The careful excavation of Mr Peppe makes it certain that this stupa had never been opened until he opened it. The inscription on the casket states that "This deposit of the remains of the Exalted One is that of the Sakyas, the brethren of the Illustrious One." It behoves those who maintain that it is not, to advance some explanation of the facts showing how they are consistent with any other theory. We are bound in these matters to accept, as a working hypothesis, the most reasonable of various possibilities. The hypothesis of forgery in this case is simply unthinkable.'

After these unusual opening remarks Rhys Davids went on to consider what the Piprahwa Kot might represent: 'If this stupa and these remains are not what they purport to be, then what are they?' The inscription, he believed, was 'worded in just the manner most consistent with the details given in the [Mahanibbana] Suttana' — except that later texts such as the Asolcavadana had described how Emperor Asoka had opened the original Buddha relic stupas in order to redistribute their contents. So how, he asked, were the inscribed casket at Piprahwa and Asoka's removal of the Buddha relics to be reconciled? He believed he had the solution:

Though the sceptics — only sceptics, no doubt, because they think it is too good to be true — have not been able to advance any other explanation, they might have brought forward an explanation which has so far escaped notice. It is alleged, namely, in quite a number of Indian books that Asoka broke open all the eight stupas except one, and took all the relics away. This is a remarkable statement. That the great Buddhist emperor should have done this is just as unlikely as that his counterpart, Constantine the Great, should have rifled, even with the best of intentions, the tombs most sacred in the eyes of Christians.

Indeed, this was how Asoka's Buddhist contemporaries had at first viewed his actions, so that when he went to break open the first of the stupas at Rajgir he met fierce resistance and was forced to bring in his army to enforce compliance. But then Rhys Davids went on to draw the attention of his audience to a passage from the Asokavadana which he believed had been corrupted over time: 'Having given back the relics, putting them distributively in the place when they had been taken, he restored the stupa. He did the same at the second, and so on till he had taken the seventh bushel; and restoring the stupas he went on to Ramagama.' Clearly something was wrong here, for the emperor would not have removed the relics from the stupas merely to put them back. Surely, the passage was meant to convey that Asoka, having removed the relics, then gave back some portion of the same relics, otherwise why would he have had the stupas restored. Thus the Piprahwa stupa had been opened by Asoka, its Buddha relics removed, then restored with some portion of the original relics returned.

No record was kept of what else was said at the RAS meeting, but Rhys Davids' opening remarks sound very like a riposte or an answer to doubts raised. If doubts were already circulating, this might offer an explanation as to why — assuming Willie Peppe did donate his box of jewels to the Society — they were subsequently removed from their premises, perhaps in 1907 when Rhys Davids (to all intents a Buddhist himself), stepped down as Honorary Secretary of the RAS. That Rhys Davids continued to support the authenticity of the Piprahwa excavation can be seen from remarks made in his book Buddhist India, published in 1903, in which he offered a new twist to Smith's 'two Kapilavastus' theory.' 'The old Kapilavastu was probably at Tilaurakot. But Peppe's important discoveries at the Sakya Tope (at Piprahwa) may be the site of a new Kapilavastu built after the old city was destroyed by Vidudhabha.'

What can be said with certainty is that Willie Peppe left London with the thanks of Indology's great and good ringing in his ears and joined his family on holiday in Scotland. So far as is known he carried out no further excavations on the Birdpore Estate. However, the long shadows cast by the activities of Dr. Anton Fuhrer continued to darken Piprahwa.

Rhys Davids was succeeded as Honorary Secretary at the RAS by the much less Buddhistically inclined John Faithful Fleet, ex-ICS, who belonged to an earlier generation than Smith and Hoey and was separated from them by the fact that he spent his Indian career in the Bombay Presidency. Fleet came out to Bombay in 1867, having studied Sanskrit at University College, London, under Professor Theodore Goldstucker — another of that remarkable band of German scholars who dominated Indology at that period. His duties as an administrator did not prevent Fleet from continuing his Indian studies, which brought him into the circle of Professor Buhler, who had preceded him to Bombay by four years, and other philologists at Bombay University. In 1883, thanks to General Cunningham, Fleet was appointed to the specially created post of Epigraphist to the Government of India, a position he held until the Epigraphical Department was closed down five years later. Besides co-editing the Indian Antiquary, Fleet's most important contribution to Indian studies was his work on Gupta inscriptions and early Indian chronology, scholarship that proved immensely valuable to Smith and other historians.

Fleet retired from the ICS in 1897 after thirty years service, and a decade later took over from Rhys Davids at the RAS, where he exploited his privileged position to the full, particularly when it came to publishing in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, which carried in excess of ninety articles by him between 1907, when he took over from Rhys Davids, and his death in 1917. A cursory analysis of these contributions reveals that for a period of approximately five years commencing in 1905 his scholarship was focused on early inscriptions written in Brahmi. His starting point was the Piprahwa inscription, on which he published no less than three readings in as many years. In 1905, by starting his translation at a different point in the ring of Brahmi lettering from his predecessors, he came up with:

Of the brethren of the Well-famed One, together with children and wives this receptacle of relics of Buddha, the Blessed One of the Sakyas.

This reading provoked a strong response from a number of Continental scholars, beginning with the French philologist Silvain Levi, who argued in Journal des Savants that the Piprahwa relics were actually those of the Sakyas slaughtered by King Vidudhaba and that the correct reading of the inscription should be: 'C'est ici les reliques des Cakyas, freres bienheureux du saint Bouddha, avecs leurs soeurs, leurs fils et leurs femmes [Here are the relics of the Sakyas, blessed brothers of the saint Buddha, with their sisters, their sons and their wives].' Fleet was forced to revise his reading, now declaring, in line with Levi, that the relics could not be those of Buddha Sakyamuni: 'The record in fact commemorates ... an enshrining of relics, not of Buddha himself as his hitherto been believed, but of his kinsmen, with their wives and children and unmarried sisters. And now we see the meaning of the curious articles, numbering more than seven hundred, which were found in the stupa along with the inscribed vase.'

To arrive at this conclusion Fleet had to reinterpret two key words: sakiyanam and sukiti. The first, he declared, did not relate to the Sakya clan at all but could only be a noun or adjective expressing a relationship: 'Discarding the suggestion which I made on the previous occasion, I find the natural meaning of the word sakiya, as used here in one of the ordinary meanings which belong to it as the Pali form of the Sanskrit, svakiya, own, meaning belonging to oneself.' As for sukiti, Fleet took this to mean 'possessed of good fame' and so 'a special appellation of Buddha, used here in a more or less sentimental or poetical fashion, to denote him as "the Well- famed One.'" While he had been unable to find such a word used as an epithet for the Buddha in Buddhist literature, he had found in the Mahavastu in a list of such names ending in kirti, so it might well have been a local appellation.

But this now raised the ire of two more French scholars: the eminent and by now elderly French Orientalist Auguste Barth, who had published critical remarks on British archaeology in India and had a reputation as a sceptic, and his more junior colleague Emile Senart. The latter now intervened to defend the interpretation towards which he believed the late Prof. Baler been working at the time of his death, one in which the word sukiti was to be read as a personal name in the genitive. Thus the inscription should read:

This receptacle of relics of the blessed Buddha of the Sakyas (is the pious gift) of the brothers of Sukirti, with their sons and with their wives.

M. Auguste Barth took the same view but had a lot more to say:

Dr. Fleet accepts, in effect, Professor Rhys Davids' now so improbable interpretation of Sukiti as a designation of the Buddha; from Professor Levi he takes over the latter's general conclusion that we have to deal with the relics of the victims of the massacre. But then Sakiyanam at the end can no longer be an ethnical name, as 'the Sakyas of the Buddha' would have no sense in any language. So he makes it an adjective, representing it as from the Sanskrit Savakiya, suus proprius' with the mean of 'relations, kinsman'. ... On this frail basis Dr. Fleet would build an entire long chronological edifice.

Barth proposed the following reading:

This receptacle of relics of the blessed Buddha of the Sakyas (is the pious gift) of the brothers of Sukirti, jointly with their sisters, with their sons and their wives.

He also went on to pour cold water over the entire business of relics, declaring that the Piprahwa inscription —

in no way tends, even indirectly, either to strengthen or to weaken the accounts of the distribution of the ashes, or their removal by Asoka, or of the destruction of Kapilavastu and the Sakyas; nor does it supply us with materials for constructing a chronological system; it simply makes us acquainted together with the name of an unknown personage, no doubt some local raja, with the existence (after so many others, teeth, frontal bone, alms bowl, hair, even the very shadow) of new relics of the great reformer, relics probably more ancient, and which [some] may, if so inclined, suppose more authentic, than any others.

Faced with this heavyweight assault, Fleet admitted defeat on the meaning of the word sukiti, declaring 'I now abandon my opinion that there is any reference to Buddha in the word in question' — while adding, as if sotto voce, 'But who is Sukiti?' So it came about that the opinion of M. Auguste Barth, who had the strongest claim to the mantle of the late Hofrath Georg Buhler, prevailed, and the majority of Western scholars came to accept his view that, even though the inscription was most probably 'not later than Asoka,' it did not relate to the original Sakya deposition of Buddha Sakyamuni's relics.

Barth's reading continues to find general acceptance to this day. Writing in 1991 the German archaeologist and scholar Herbert Hartel noted that the opening iyam salilanidhane budhasa bhagavate was quite different from the usual Buddhist reliquary inscriptions from the Gandharan region and from Central India, all confidently dated to the second century BCE. He ascribed the inscription to 'a more familiar, a Sakya tribal connection: However, he also believed that Piprahwa's steatite reliquary vases could not have been produced before the second century and the magnificent crystal casket not earlier than the first century BCE. More recently the distinguished American epigraphist Richard Salomon has stated that 'the weight of scholarly opinion nowadays is in favour of dating such early records as the Piprahwa, Sohgaura, and Mahasthan inscriptions as contemporary with or later than Asoka', while adding that he himself has little faith in dating on palaeographical grounds alone, 'especially when, as in the case of Mauryan period inscriptions, we have a very little corpus to work with. Such palaeographic dates are rough estimates at best, guesses at worst.'

None of these scholars dealt directly with the question of fakery, but the spectre of Anton Fuhrer was never far away. Any hopes that the damage to Indian archaeology had been contained following his resignation were dashed when in January 1912 an article with the innocuous sounding title of 'On Some Brahmi Inscriptions in the Lucknow Museum' appeared in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. Its author was the relatively youthful German scholar Dr. Heinrich 'Alders, who had studied at Georg Buhler's old alma mater of Gottingen University before coming to Oxford to work in the Library of the Indian Institute from 1895 to 1899. Some time after his appointment as Professor of Indic Philology at Berlin University in 1909 Elders made an extensive tour of Buddhist and Jain sites in India, in the course of which he visited Lucknow Museum. Three years earlier Vincent Smith had written to the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society expressing concern at the state of affairs at the Lucknow Museum, where the new curator, Babu G. D. Ganguli, had complained to him that Dr. Fuhrer's collection of Jain sculptures from Mathura remained uncatalogued and that 'a large number of the inscribed sculptures are lying scattered in the Museum without any sort of label on them.' Luders duly inspected the sculptures, and on his return to Germany went into print to demonstrate with chapter and verse how someone had invented a number of inscriptions supposedly excavated at Ramnagar in Rohilkhand 1891-92, in some instances basing them on genuine inscriptions logged in Epigraphia Indica. More critically, Luders also drew attention to some Brahmi characters inscribed on the back of a Jain statue from Mathura in the Lucknow Museum, done so crudely as to cause him to declare that 'I am not sure whether the pages of the Epigraphia Indica are really the proper pages for such a joke. ... I cannot help declaring this inscription to be a forgery. The decision of the question who is responsible for it I leave to the readers of this paper: Since Dr. Anton Fuhrer had excavated the Jain statue in question at Mathura in 1891-92 and in his report had even drawn attention to the remarkably early date it carried, there remained little doubt as to who the culprit was.

In the late 1920s Willie and Ella Peppe retired from India, having sold their summer retreat in Mussoorie to a Sikh maharaja and after handing the management of the Birdpore Estate over to their second and third sons, Humphrey and Lionel. Willie's last public association with the Piprahwa excavation appears to have been in 1932, when he was due to address the Buddhist Society in London on the subject but was unable to do so after becoming seriously ill. His health continued to deteriorate and he died in Welshpool in 1936. Meanwhile in India, his two sons Humphrey and Lionel had married their cousins, the sisters Elfie and Vivienne Parry. Lionel subsequently joined the Royal Navy, leaving the running of the estate entirely in the hands of his elder brother. From a short note on the Piprahwa stupa written by Humphrey Peppe in retirement it is clear that the family's collection of relic jewels continued to draw pilgrims to Birdpore House, and to cause them problems: 'Many Buddhists from Burma and Ceylon, pilgrims from Lumbini, have been shown them, and also VIPs who have come to the Basti District or visited the Lumbini Garden. Some have tried to take them from me.'

In 1952, five years after Independence, the Government of India abolished the zamindari system and nationalised all such estates, paying minimal compensation to their owners in the form of bonds redeemable in annual increments over a period of forty years. According to Humphrey Peppe, 'this really tore the whole fabric of rural life in the Provinces. In many cases of bad zamindars this was beneficial to the villagers, but in others disastrous.' It marked the end of the Peppe connection with the estate which the family had established and built up over more than a century of struggle. The only way they could redeem their bonds was to sell them at half their face value. They also sold what little property was left to them, including Birdpore House, which became a Government Inspection Bungalow providing accommodation for touring government officers. Humphrey Peppe was allowed to rent three rooms on the ground floor while he stayed behind in India in an attempt to secure the compensation money due to them. During this same period the Piprahwa area came under the ownership of the Archaeological Survey of India by compulsory purchase.

Just before Christmas 1956 Peppe was asked to vacate his rooms for VIPs who were due to arrive on 25 December. He went to stay with friends but on returning home on Boxing Day found Birdpore House still very much occupied. 'I found the house swarming with VIPs, officials, police and all the children from the nearby bazaars and villages; he afterwards recalled. 'I think there were thirty-eight cars parked on our one time tennis lawn, apart from numerous tents etc. However, it was worth it.' The VIPs turned out to be the young Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, who were on a pilgrimage tour of India as part of the celebrations for the 2,500th anniversary of Buddha Sakyamuni, as calculated by the Tibetan calendar:

I asked the District Magistrate how I was expected to greet him, the God-King. He suggested the ordinary Indian salutation, both hands raised almost to the level of the face, with palms together and fingers extended. He introduced me to the Dalai Lama, who in the most friendly way took one of my hands in both of his, and put me at my ease immediately; the Panchen Lama followed his example. The former was quite a young man of about twenty-one, I think, of Mongolian type, about the same height as myself, dressed in a sombre dark reddish brown robe of thick woollen material, draped off one shoulder. He was clean shaven and his head very closely cropped all over.

The two Tibetan leaders had come to Birdpore to venerate the Piprahwa stupa before moving on to Lumbini, but they also asked to see the jewels in the Peppes' possession: 'They spoke through an interpreter but evidently understood a great deal of English. They were both charming, and showed a great interest in the objects I had to show them'.

The ancient bas-relief of Queen Mayadevi giving birth to Buddha Sakyamuni, photographed at Lumbini by Neil Peppe in 1958. The round white objects are flower offerings left by pilgrims. (Courtesy of Neil Peppe)

Three year later Mrs Elfie Peppe was spending a last Christmas with her husband in his rented rooms at Birdpore House when the Dalai Lama paid a second visit. This was a year after the Dalai Lama had fled Tibet in the wake of the failed Tibetan uprising against the Chinese occupation. 'He seemed extremely interested in everything Western; recalled Elfie Peppe of their meeting —

asking innumerable questions about the history of the estates, the countries in Europe we had visited, and our intended voyage back to England. I offered him an enlarged photograph that my son Neil had taken of the ancient stone carving depicting Buddha's birth, which was in the temple he had just seen that afternoon [at Lumbini], and he insisted that we both sign our names on the back, with the date, and — making a little joke — even the time ... There was about him a spirituality, yet with a warm friendliness, which impressed me strongly.

Soon after the Dalai Lama's visit the Peppes left Birdpore and India for good.

In February 1962, after a gap of more than six decades, the Archaeological Survey of India returned to the Nepal Tarai to carry out a survey at and around Lumbini, at the request of His Majesty's Government of Nepal. The person deputed was the then Superintendent and later Director of the ASI, Mrs. Debala Mitra. In February 1962 she and her party set up a base camp at Lumbini and after making a thorough survey of the area, during which they examined no less than thirty-six sites, they settled on two of them: Lori-Kudan and Tilaurakot. The site at Lori-Kudan, just south of Taulihawa town, had last been surveyed by P. C. Mukherji and, on the basis of its four large mounds, identified by him as 'the famous Nyagrodha Monastery, where Suddhodana received his son as the Buddha' and where the Sakyamuni's aunt and stepmother Prajapati had presented him with a gold-threaded robe. Debala Mitra's findings disappointed those expecting evidence of early Buddhist occupation, for her main conclusion was that the imposing and finely decorated buildings uncovered were 'the remains of three Brahminal temples ... none ... earlier than the eighth century A. D: She found no inscriptions or dateable objects and her report was subsequently criticised as quite literally superficial by Nepali archaeologists, in that most of her excavation work had been restricted to clearance of the mounds and had not gone deeper than ground level. Since then no further excavation work has been carried out at this important site to prove or disprove its earlier Buddhist credentials. As far as the Lumbini Development Trust is concerned Lori-Kudan remains the site of the Nyagrodha Monastery.

Moving on to Tilaurakot in March of the same year — a timing that would have been unthinkable even two decades earlier but was now possible thanks to DDT and paludrine — Mitra dug a hundred-foot trench that cut though a section of the enclosure's northern rampart and into a part of the Kot's interior. The trench uncovered no structures other than a number of terracotta ring wells. The shards of pottery recovered from the trench included significant amounts at the lowest level of the distinctive black early pottery found in North India known to archaeologists as Northern Black Polished Ware or NBPW. Mitra's meticulous analysis of these and other artefacts led her to conclude that while 'the settlement of the town may go back to about the 6th century BC, if not earlier,' the occupation of the area excavated had not begun until the third century BCE, with few signs of occupation continuing after the start of the Christian era. Although a number of coins were found, only two could be dated — to the first and second centuries BCE. Almost 200 human or animal terracotta figurines — of which more than fifty were of elephants — were ascribed to the same period. Also found in large quantities were beads, mostly of terracotta and bone but including glass, agate, rock-crystal, carnelian, chalcedony, garnet, amethyst, jasper and topaz. Superficially these invite comparison with those found at Piprahwa in 1898 but none come close to matching the delicate lapidary work that is such a distinctive feature of the Piprahwa treasure.

Mrs. Mitra's findings came as a great shock to Nepal's still fledgling Department of Archaeology, which immediately began planning an excavation programme using its own domestic archaeologists. These began at Tilaurakot in 1967 under the leadership of the Department's most senior officer, Jara Nanda Mishra, and continued under Babu Krishna Rijal, with additional excavation being undertaken by a Japanese team from Rissho University. Their work, spread over a decade, was summarised by B. K. Rijal as the discovery of 'a net-work of the part of Suddhodana's palace complex. ... The bastions and watchtowers ... are comparable to ancient cities in India dating to the eighth—sixth century BC' — conclusions criticised by Western archaeologists as utterly untenable. Nor did these conclusions do any favours to the early work carried out by J. N. Mishra, in the course of which he uncovered two well-constructed stupas in the jungle less than half a mile north of Tilaurakot which became known as the jodi or 'twins.' The largest he found to have been constructed in four phases, beginning in the fourth century BCE and ending in the second century BCE.

What Mishra also demonstrated was that Mrs. Mitra had been extremely unlucky in the placing of her trench, for his own work showed extensive occupation of the site during the Mauryan, Sunga and Kushan periods, and, in particular, a great deal of strengthening of the walls and their four gates during the Kushan era. Although evidence of earlier occupation was limited, Mishra established nine levels of occupation at Tilaurakot, beginning in about 700 BCE — a date that his successor sought to push back by several centuries with no real supporting evidence. Rajal's one undisputed coup was his unearthing in 1973 of a hoard of thirty-one silver punch-marked coins in a trench just outside the western ramparts. Although an exact chronology of North Indian punch-marked coins based on the various symbols stamped on them has still to be agreed upon, Rajal was probably on firm ground in asserting that the coins ranged from pre- to post-Mauryan, and equally correct in stating that they demonstrated that in the third and second centuries BCE the inhabitants of the town within Tilaurakot's walls had enjoyed 'a comfortable urban life with sound economic base marked by organised trade and commerce.'

It was at this point that nationalist archaeology first reared its head, beginning with Mrs Debala Mitra's book Buddhist Monuments, published in 1971, in which she wrote that the city of Kapilavastu remained unidentified: 'Although we explored a large part of the area which formed part of the ancient country of Kapilavastu and excavated extensively Kodan and limitedly Tilaurakot, we did not find anything in favour of the identification of Tilaurakot with Kapilavastu: She went on to argue in favour of Kapilavastu being on the Indian side of the border: 'The inscription on the reliquary found within the main stupa at Piprahwa coupled with Piprahwa's correspondence with Fa-hien's [Faxian's] bearing and distance of Kapilavastu in relation to Lumbini raises a strong presumption for Piprahwa and its surrounding villages like Ganwaria being the site of Kapilavastu,; The conflicting literary evidence from Xuanzang and Faxian Mitra resolved by the simple expedient of repositing the Nyagroda complex north of Kapilavastu, in defiance of both Xuazang's and Faxian's directions which had placed it on the south side. 'Nyagrodharama represents Piprahwa,' she wrote, so it followed that 'the remains of Kapilavastu are to be sought in the mounds immediately around Piprahwa and not in the distant site of Tilaurakot.'

From a strictly archaeological viewpoint there were solid grounds for excavating at Piprahwa and near the neighbouring village of Ganwaria just to the south, where 'ancient habitation mounds' were covered in pottery shards that included NBP ware. As for Piprahwa itself, Mitra went on to declare: 'Intensive excavation in the monasteries at Piprahwa is likely to yield some monastic seals or sealings which usually furnish the name of the establishment. If they are found, they will prove conclusively [the] identity of Piprahwa and the adjoining sites with Kapilavastu or otherwise.'

Even before these astonishingly prescient words had appeared in print Mitra's colleague, K. M. Srivastava, Superintending Archaeologist of the ASI's Mideastern Circle, had begun work at Piprahwa, driven, he would afterwards aver, by a 'firm belief in the identification of Kapilavastu: His 'primary objective,' he declared, 'was to locate the lost town of ancient Kapilavastu and thereby settle the long standing controversy'. This absolute conviction of Srivastava's that he was destined to locate Kapilavastu was uncomfortably similar to the beliefs that drove Fuhrer some seventy decades earlier. Coming so hard on the heels of Mitra's remarks, it inevitably led to cries of 'foul' from India's neighbour to the north. It also demands that his results be examined with the utmost scientific rigour.

The bricks covering the two chambers before their opening, showing how the chambers had been set into the earth below the brick stupa, the lowest layers of which can be seen above. From K. M. Srivastava's Excavations from Piprahwa and Ganwaria, 1996. (Courtesy of K. M. Srivastava)

The first thing that Srivastava's extremely professional excavation of the Piprahwa stupa exposed was a pradakshinapath in the form of a ring of burnt bricks, which had been subsequently been built over. The uncovering of this ring allowed Srivastava to determine the exact centre of the stupa, and a well was then dug down to reach the point where in 1898 Willie Peppe had located the giant stone coffer. 'That Peppe was satisfied with the massive stone box, which contained the inscribed casket, was apparent from the cutting,' wrote Srivastava. 'Certain concrete evidences were present before Peppe, which led him to believe that there were no relics below. Both the circular pipe, which led him to the box, and the burnt-brick courses of the stupa came to an end. Peppe, therefore, could not imagine earlier relics below.'

The broken red ware and the undamaged soapstone reliquary casket in situ after the opening of the northern brick chamber. From K. M. Srivastava's Excavations from Piprahwa and Ganwaria, 1996. (Courtesy of K. M. Srivastava)

Srivastava chose to go on digging, and almost immediately came across two sets of six large bricks laid flat and separated by a 65-centimetre-wide section of yellow clay, each brick measuring 42 x 80 x 37 centimetres. Further excavation revealed that these bricks covered two small chambers:

When the three courses of brick of the northern chamber were removed, a soapstone casket came to light. By the side of the casket and separated by a brickbat, one red ware dish with incurved sides and wide mouth was observed. The dish was covered by another dish of the same size broken into three pieces. ... The maximum diameter of the casket was 7 cm, whereas of the dish 26 cm. The height of the casket was 12 Cm. It contained charred bones.

In the southern chamber two red dishes of the same type as before and again laid one on top of the other were uncovered, both smashed into pieces. Two courses of brick lower was a second soapstone casket considerably bigger than the first, its lid broken. Here, too, charred bones were found inside. The red dishes in both brick chambers appeared to be empty, although Srivastava thought that they 'probably contained ash'.

Srivastava's cross-section of the Piprahwa stupa, showing the three phases of its construction and Peppe's earlier trench. From K. M. Srivastava's Excavations from Piprahwa and Ganwaria, 1996. (Courtesy of K. M Srivastava)

It was Srivastava's view that the two soapstone relic caskets were 'contemporaneous to the early period of Northern Black Polished Ware, which could be dated to fifth—fourth century B. C., i.e. earlier in date than the inscribed relic casket discovered by Peppe at a higher level. The dishes found in the chamber confirmed the above-mentioned date.' This generous dating enabled him to declare categorically that 'The finding of the earlier caskets established that the stupa in which they were found was built by the Sakyas over the mortal remains at Kapilavastu, sometime in fifth century B. C.. This indication was already available in the inscription on the casket found by Peppe, which mentioned both Buddha and his community Sakya.'

More convincingly, Srivastava was able to show that the Piprahwa stupa had been built in three distinct phases, marked by diminishing brick sizes, the first twelve layers of the largest bricks having being laid on piled-up earth, with the two brick chambers at the centre. He was equally convincing in arguing that the third and final phase of building, when the base of the stupa was converted from a circular shape into a square one, niches added for Buddha images, and the height of the central dome increased, had taken place during the Kushan era.
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

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Part 2 of 2

A year later Srivastava and his team turned their attentions to the complex of buildings surrounding the stupa, first unearthed by W. C. Peppe and subsequently by P. C. Mukherji. Srivastava was at this stage still convinced that this was Kapilavastu and, as he afterwards admitted, began work on the large quadrangular monastery on the stupa's north-eastern flank 'with the primary objective of unearthing inscriptional evidence to confirm the belief; a perfectly reasonable statement, given that inscriptions in the form of monastic seals have helped to identify a number of major Buddhist sites. Re-excavating the several structures beside the stupa Srivastava established four structural phases in their building, each more elaborate and larger in scale than the last. It became clear from the amount of charred wood uncovered and from a mound of burnt rice found in one of the cells that the complex had been abandoned after a devastating fire, which Srivastava assigned to 'the beginning of the fourth century or the last quarter of the third century A. D.'. But what was undoubtedly the high point of the excavation was the discovery in March 1973 of two seals and no less than seventy-seven sealings on baked terracotta tablets fired bright red, mostly found scattered in cells in the main monastery adjoining the stupa at its north-east corner.

The writings or pictographs on the two seals could not be identified but when the sealings had been cleaned they were found to bear a variety of legends. Of these, thirteen sealings carried the same legend in Kushan Prakrit script, which according to Srivastava read: Maha kapilavastu bhikshu sanghasa', or, 'Of the community of Buddhist monks of great Kapilavastu: Even more remarkably, no less than twenty-two sealings carried all or parts of another slightly more elaborate legend. According to Srivastava, this read: 'Om devaputra vihare Kapilavastusa bhiku sanghasa.' The first word is the sacred primordial syllable om found in Hindu and Buddhist mantras. The word devaputra translates as 'son of the gods/divine son', an honorific known to have been used as a title for the Kushan kings Kanishka (c. 126-150 CE) and his successor Huvishka (c. 150-193 CE), so that the entire legend reads 'Om of the community of monks of Kapilavastu in the monastery of Kanishka/Huvishka.'

Srivastava had no doubts as to what the sealings represented, declaring that he had made 'an epoch-making discovery by settling the location of ancient Kapilavastu, which had been eluding the archaeologists for more than a hundred years: However, the manner in which his findings were initially suppressed by the ASI led Srivastava himself to complain that, far from receiving 'world wide acclaim: his discovery was 'deprived of the recognition and remained behind the curtain. Instead of any applause for the meritorious work, the news continued to be a victim of suppression for a period of three years.' Whatever the reasons for this suppression (which seems to have involved internal professional jealousies), they raised doubts in the minds of the international community of epigraphists, doubts which could easily have been resolved by allowing the sealings to be subjected to full academic scrutiny. Instead, a combination of official interference and misplaced national pride have quite unnecessarily cast yet another shadow on Piprahwa, unnecessary because even though grumbles about lack of transparency continue to this day, the sheer number of sealings involved make it impossible that Srivastava's readings are wide of the mark, certainly as far as the all-important letters kapi- la-va go. They demonstrate beyond doubt is that the monastic complex at Piprahwa at the time of the Kushans was intimately linked with the name of Kapilavastu. 'The Kushan kings were closely attached to the sacred site,' Srivastava believed. 'It was only under their patronage that the stupa and the eastern monastery were embellished in their third stage of construction ... during the time of Kushan emperor Kanishka, and all viharas surrounding the Great Stupa seem to have been amalgamated into one composite Bhikhshu Sangha, which assumed the title of Maha Kapilavastu Bhikhshu Sangha.'

But, of course, the Piprahwa stupa and its surrounding monastic complex did not in themselves constitute the city of Kapilavastu, which Srivastava now sought among the high mounds at nearby Ganwaria. A trial trench cut in 1972 produced such a rich crop of shards and artefacts that Shrivastava and his colleagues committed themselves to a full-scale excavation of a site that extended over 1,000 yards from north to south and about 900 from east to west. The two largest mounds had been ransacked, either for their bricks or for buried treasure. Despite this loss, the excavations revealed them to be viharas very similar in structure and size to the eastern monastery at Piprahwa. Elsewhere there were shrines and what Srivastava categorised as residential structures, but not enough to demonstrate that in its final phase this had had been anything other than very extensive religious complex. Srivastava then set out to establish what lay under the bricks, sinking deep trenches at a number of points to expose the earlier city which he believed had been inhabited by the Sakyas. The results led him to conclude that Ganwaria had been through four distinct periods of habitation:

Period I, dateable between 800 and 600 B. C., was characterised by fine grey ware; black polished ware; red ware vases and dishes with reddish rim and greyish bottom; Period II was distinguished by the appearance of Northern Black Polished Ware, a red ware painted in black horizontal bands and other associated wares. ... A date of between 600 and 300 B. C. was assigned to the period; Period III belonged to Sunga times with its beginning in the second century B. C. and end by the beginning of the Christian era ... characterised by numerous variety of characteristic terracotta figurines; Period IV was characteristically Kushana, dated from the beginning of the Christian era to the close of the third century. Buddha heads and other terracottas in large quantity, Kushana coins, beads of terracotta and semi-precious stones and terracotta sealings were the principal antiquities.

The news of Srivastava's discovery of Kapilavastu inside Indian territory was finally broken by the Times of India on 24 January 1976 under the headline 'Buddha's Lost City of Kapilavastu Found: Much was made of the relics found in the two brick chambers which, after being put on special display at the ASI's headquarters in New Delhi, went on a three-month tour of Sri Lanka. According to Srivastava, his identification of Piprahwa-Ganwaria as Kapilavastu caused 'a great uproar among a particular set of scholars', by which he meant chiefly archaeologists and politicians in Nepal, where the news was received with outrage and talk of an Indian plot to deprive Nepal of its hitherto undisputed claim to be the homeland of the Buddha. But there were also international scholars on hand to point out major flaws in Srivastava's case. The most glaring of these was that during the Kushan period when the Kapilavastu seals were made the Ganwaria site was patently a large monastic site and not a city. There was also the awkward fact that the Ganwaria site had no city wall and, indeed, no eastern gate as described by Faxian. Furthermore, it was on the wrong side of the sites linked by both Chinese travellers to Buddhas Krakuchanda and Kanakamuni. For Siravastava's case to be accepted, much clearer evidence of Gotihawa as a city and not a religious site has to be forthcoming, as well as the discovery of an Asokan pillar or two to the south and west.

These concerns have not prevented the ASI from finishing off its admirable restoration of the sites of Piprahwa and Ganwaria with signs declaring them to be Buddha Sakyamuni's Kapilavastu. Nor have they prevented the state of Uttar Pradesh from rebranding that area as Kapilavastu and the Indian Tourist Development Corporation from promoting it as such, with scores of Indian tour operators now including Piprahwa as such in their 'Footsteps of the Buddha' pilgrim tours.

The response of the Government of Nepal is most clearly seen in the exaggerated claims made for Tilaurakot as Kapilavastu made in B. K. Rijal's Archaeological Remains of Kapilavastu, Lumbini, Devadaha published in 1979.

The result of two countries claiming Kapilavastu as their own has been to cast what Herbert Hartel has called `a highly deplorable political shadow, with Nepal and India indulging in a 'tug-of- war' in which 'publications of the subject have partly left the scholarly level, and prejudices suppress the argumentation'. That is the situation today, although Hartel's fellow countryman Max Deeg has more recently (2003) conducted further archaeological and epigraphical research which has led him to declare his conviction that 'the Kapilavastu which the Chinese pilgrims Faxian and Xuanzang saw is the modern site of Tilaurakot on the Nepalese side of the border.' What helped Deeg arrive at his conclusions are two recent programmes of research. The first was a geophysical survey of the Tilaurakot site carried out in 1997 by a team from Bradford University led by Professors Robin Coningham and Armin Schmit. Using ground-penetrating radar that produced sub-surface images, they were able to reveal the existence of a major street running east and west through the site, with side streets running off it at right angles, clear evidence of a town or city. Returning three years later, the team excavated a trench in the centre of the site and collected pottery shards at the lowest level of habitation which they dated to between 1000 and 600 BCE. They also collected samples for carbon-14 dating, the results of which after calibration gave a 95 per cent probability for a dating of 760-370 BCE, as well as a strong lower boundary peak of 541 BCE with a 92 per cent probability — readings which could hardly be more perfect for those looking for hard archaeological evidence that this site was occupied throughout the sixth and fifth centuries BCE but then ceased to be occupied, at least for a period, early in the fourth century BCE. Yet the fact remains that Tilaurakot still awaits the large-scale excavation its importance demands. Only then will we know its true significance in the story of Buddha Sakyamuni.

The second advance was the thorough survey of the countryside between the Banganga River and Lumbini carried out in 2001-02 by an Italian team led by Professor Giovanni Verardi of the University of Naples. Using GPS and remote sensing techniques, Verardi's team identified no less than 136 archaeological sites in that area, of which no less than no were previous unknown. The team also carried out excavations at and around the Asokan pillar at Gotihawa, showing conclusively that the pillar and associated brick stupa had indeed been raised in the Asokan era, as might be expected, and restored in the Kushan era. They found no trace of any mud stupa preceding the one built of fire-baked bricks and no trace of any relic deposit, confirming that this was a memorial rather than a funerary site. Settlement in that area had begun in the eighth century BCE.

What lingering doubts remain about the authenticity of Tilaurakot as Kapilavastu are very largely due to a failure of will on the part of the Lumbini Development Trust, which has achieved little in the twenty-three years of its existence beyond alienating the local Madeshis and saddening millions of Buddhists the world over. Nepal's Department of Archaeology also bears some responsibility even though it can plead lack of funds and political interference from above. As for His Majesty's Government of Nepal, retired ministers can point to far more important issues they had to deal with, not least a civil war and empty coffers, but the fact remains that they repeatedly came and saw and made promises and did nothing, this despite the fact that in 1997 UNESCO tried to shame the Government of Nepal into doing something by declaring Tilaurakot a World Heritage Site.

Tilaurakot as it is today would be immediately recognisable to P. C. Mukherji, for very little has changed since 1899. Cattle and buffalo roam at will across the site, people from the nearby village use it as a latrine and picnickers from Taulihawa see it as a convenient place to leave their rubbish. In the monsoon season pools of water flood the central 'palace' area and the western gate. The votive offerings of clay elephants and other creatures left by local Tharus at the little brick temple at the heart of the enclosure are the only signs that anyone cares. In the absence of any attempt at conservation the walls first exposed by Mukherji are crumbling away, while the bricks of the Eastern Gate provide souvenirs for overzealous pilgrims. But the painful fact is that very few pilgrims do go to Tilaurakot. No services exist to get them there and there are no services once they get there, so that only the most determined traveller makes the effort.

Now that the last in a line of royal so-called patrons has been shown the door of his palace things must change, for now a real opportunity has presented itself for Kapilavastu-Lumbini to be put firmly on the map — not just for visiting Buddhists and tourists, but for the local Madeshis and the Nepal Tarai, too. With bold, imaginative, politics- and corruption-free planning, funds could be raised from the Buddhist world not simply to restore and conserve Kapilavastu but to make the Kapilavastu-Lumbini area the Ankor Wat of Nepal, a site worthy of its glorious past.

The last words must go to Piprahwa and the relics uncovered there.

In 2001, the ghost of poor Anton Fuhrer reappeared in the form of a complex conspiracy theory, conceived largely by an Englishman named Terence Phelps. Phelps went on the World-wide Web to make a number of claims based on extensive and impressive research, one of them being that the real Kapilavastu was to be found just inside Basti district midway between Basti and Gorakhpur at a site first explored by Archibald Carlleyle. Of greater relevance here is Phelps' assertion that not only the Piprahwa inscription but also the two Asokan pillar edicts at Lumbini and Nigliva Sagar are fakes and part of some elaborate hoax or conspiracy involving not just Dr. Fuhrer but several of the individuals featured at length in these pages. These theories are available for inspection on the internet as Lumbini on Trial: the Untold Story. The detailed chapter and verse set down in the preceding pages should in themselves be enough to convince any fair-minded reader that any claims of forgery or conspiracy involving the 1898 excavation at Piprahwa are baseless.

In June 2004 came the rediscovery of the Buddhist Society's Piprahwa jewels, which indirectly led the present writer to the home of Neil Peppe, son of Humphrey and grandson of Willie. He had in his possession what remained of the Piprahwa jewels granted to the family by the Government of the NWP&O in 1898, as well as various papers and photographs, of which extensive use has been made throughout this account. One curious item was a sealed glass test tube half full of carbonised or petrified rice grains, labelled and bearing the inscription 'Rice found at the Piprahwa stupa, discovered by W. C. Peppe, Birdpur Estate in 1889. The rice appears to have petrified'. Neil Peppe believed these grains had been collected by his grandfather from the bricks of the stupa, which he remembered as being full of rice husks. A sample was made available by their owner for radio carbon testing at RCD Locking and the Radiocarbon Laboratory of the University of Groningen and produced an impressive result of a 65.6 per cent probability level for 55-135 CE, and a 95.4 per cent probability level for 20-220 CE, in other words, slap-bang in the middle of the Kushan era, and the kingship of King Kanishka.

Also among Neil Peppe's treasures was a loose collection of larger and cruder stones and beads which he did not recall had ever been boxed up by his grandfather into display cabinets like the rest, Among them was a small object scarcely one centimetre high, white enamelled and rounded at one end and black and jagged at the other. This on closer inspection appeared to be part of a molar tooth. It was taken with some excitement to the Natural History Museum in London where it was examined by Robert Kruszynski of the Human Origins Group, who declared it to be non-human and probably the cheek tooth of a piglet. It was subsequently sent to the Advanced Microscopy Centre at the University of Leicester, where it was examined by a forensic pathologist who gave his opinion that it was 'non-human and could possibly be canine: The tooth was then sent to carbon-14 testing but insufficient material was available and it was therefore decided that the test should be abandoned.

It is this writer's opinion that this tooth fragment is something of a red herring, and that it and the other loose items with which it was mixed came not from the Piprahwa stone coffer at all but from a badly smashed soapstone vase full of clay uncovered by Willie Peppe at an earlier stage of his excavation — at a depth of ten feet and just before he reached the top of the central 'pipe.' Peppe had described the contents of this smashed vase as 'some beads, crystals, gold ornaments, cut stars etc, but no further reference was ever made to either pot or contents. The inference has to be that Peppe did not connect them with the much finer jewels and beads from the coffer and simply put them to one side. Again, it is this writer's view that the animal tooth fragment and the attendant items should be ascribed to the third and final (Kushan) phase of the rebuilding of the Piprahwa stupa. Not only do the jewels and beads match the larger and clunkier items found elsewhere in India in reliquary vases from the Kushan period but that was also a time when Buddhist relic worship had developed into a cult not unlike Christian relic worship in Medieval Europe when Takes' of saints' bones abounded.

At about this same time Terence Phelps gained an ally in Andrew Huxley of the Law School at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. Huxley presented a paper at SOAS in January 2006 entitled 'A fraudulent scholar in Burma: Rev. Dr. Anton Fuhrer (1853-1930)' in which he highlighted the Fuhrer-U Ma correspondence. Misleading reports of a 'Buddha tooth' and Neil Peppe's collection had now begun to appear in national newspapers and on the internet. For want of scholarly examination the claims of the conspiracy theorists were in danger of being accepted at face value. With the support of the Royal Asiatic Society, this writer organised an informal one-day conference specifically to consider all aspects of the Piprahwa excavations. Thanks to the kindness of Viscount David Lascelles, this was held at the new conference centre at Harewood House, Yorkshire, on 8 July 2006.

Among those present were three scholars of international repute: the historian Richard Gombrich, Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford, and the epigraphists Richard Salomon, Professor of Asian Languages at the University of Washington, and Oskar von Hinuber of the University of Freiburg. Among those invited to present papers were Terence Phelps, Andrew Huxley and Neil Peppe, the latter presenting a sequence of previously overlooked letters written by Vincent Smith and Anton Fuhrer to Willie Peppe during the time Peppe was working on the excavation. Since Phelps's paper 'The Piprahwa Deceptions' and Huxley's 'Georg Buhler's death and its implications for Piprahwa' have not been published it would be improper to comment on them here. However, it has to be said that, with the exception of these two speakers, those who saw and heard the whole evidence presented and the opinions of the highly qualified historians, archaeologists and epigraphists present, came away with no doubts as to the validity of the Piprahwa excavation of 1898. Here it is worth highlighting some closing remarks made by Prof. Salomon on the wording of the Piprahwa inscription:

Normally, a clever forger will borrow terminology and style from genuine inscriptions, but the relatively few reliquary inscriptions that were known at the time of the discovery of the Piprahwa inscription have no significant textual resemblance to it. The Piprahwa inscription is unusual, for example, in using nidhane as the term for 'reliquary' or 'container,' which is nowhere else so used. If a scholarly forger was making up a fake inscription, he would have been likely to have borrowed a term such as samudaga or manjusa from the recently discovered Bhattiprolu inscriptions. ... Forgeries tend to be either blatant imitations of genuine inscriptions, or totally aberrant texts, and if the Piprahwa inscription were a forgery — which I am certain is not the case — it would belong to the latter category. But this kind of forgery can be convincing only if done by a very clever and learned forger, and I do not see any evidence that A. A. Fuhrer, the suspect in this case, was capable of this. Despite its anomalous character in comparison to other relic inscriptions, the Piprahwa inscription rings true in all regards. Its language, for example, is a good specimen of Ardhamagadhi [regional or archaic Maghadi], as manifested, for example, by the dialectally characteristic epenthesis in the last word, sakiyanam= Sanskrit sakyanam. It would have taken a very brilliant linguist indeed to come up with such an excellent imitation of this little-documented language, over one hundred years ago; this is in theory not impossible, but it seems very, very unlikely. In short, it is hard to imagine that Fuhrer, or anyone else for that matter, could have created such a convincing forgery.

Whatever Anton Fuhrer did in Lucknow or in the Nepal Tarai, and whether or not his behaviour affected Prof. Georg Baler in any way, the excavation carried out by William Claxton Peppe was not interfered with in any way — not by Fuhrer, nor by Smith nor any other person. The finds and the inscription were genuine, as are those uncovered by K. M. Srivastava at that same site. Which begs the final question: what was the Piprahwa stupa and its contents all about?

The best hypothesis we are ever likely to arrive on the basis of what we know at present at is that the Kapilavastu in which the Prince Siddhartha grew to manhood was a settlement enclosed within a walled palisade beside the modern River Banganga, pretty much where the ruins of Tilaurakot are today. The leaders of the Sakya and Koliya tribes lived in substantial longhouses or roundhouses of thatch and unplaned timber that fully exploited the natural resources available. The brick walls we see at Tilaurakot today are chiefly expressions of the piety of the Mauryan, Sunga and Kushan rulers who rebuilt Kapilavastu conscious of the weight of Buddhist oral history hanging over them. Few among those international historians and archaeologists who know the subject doubt that Tilaurakot is the city of Kapilavastu seen by Xuanzang, and what doubts remain can best be resolved when the scores of ancient sites currently lying neglected east of the River Banganga between Sagarwa lake and the Indian border have been properly excavated — to say nothing of the full-scale excavation of Tilaurakot by Nepali and international archaeologists working together, followed by full-scale conservation and sensitive reconstruction. Few among those same international scholars outside India doubt that the Ganwaria-Piprahwa complex is essentially a large Buddhist monastic site that came into its fullest development during the Kushan era, only to be largely abandoned following a fire or some catastrophic event towards the end of the third century CE.

If Faxian did indeed come to that same southern site a century later and mistook it for Kapilavastu, he found there 'neither king nor people. All was mound and desolation. Of inhabitants there were only some monks and a score or two of families of the common people'. Earlier on his journey the local inhabitants or local guides had been able to direct him to the Maharaparinirvana sites of the Buddhas Krakuchanda and Kanakamuni, but here, at what he supposed was Kapilavastu, they had nothing to tell him of the site of the deposition of the Sakyas' share of Buddha Sakyamuni's ashes. Two centuries later the better-informed Xuanzang went through much the same process but did far better than Faxian in describing the pillars raised by Asoka honouring Buddhas Krakuchanda and Kanakamuni. Yet this is rather like Sherlock Holmes and the dog that failed to bark in the night. Both Faxian and Xuanzang failed to mention the site of the deposition of the Sakya's share of the Sakyamuni relics, despite the fact that their pilgrimages to Kapilavastu, Lumbini, Ramagrama and Kushinagar were primarily to honour Buddha Sakyamuni. Why? Not because it did not exist, but because no one knew where it was. The link with the past had been broken.

We have no reason to doubt the validity of the account of the division of the Buddha Sakyamuni relics from the funerary pyre given in the Maharaparinirvana suttanta, any more than there is to doubt the stories of Emperor Asoka's disinterment and redistribution of those same relics. There almost certainly was a deposition of a share of the Sakyamuni's remains in Sakya country and, if Sakyamuni's reported instructions were followed, that site was not at Kapilavastu city but at a prominent position beside a well-travelled highway or cross-roads. Patently, all knowledge of that site was lost at some time in Buddhist history, most likely with the social breakdown that came at the end of the Kushan era.

So now to an archaeological interpretation of Piprahwa Kot, where a number of conflicting issues have to be resolved in order to arrive at a coherent solution. There is no reason to doubt the compelling evidence of K. M. Srivastava's sealings found in the great monastery east of the stupa, showing that in the Kushan era this was a monastic site with royal patronage linked with Kapilavastu, just as there is no reason to doubt Srivastava's findings that the four religious buildings surrounding the stupa evolved with it in three main stages, culminating in the Kushan buildings we see today as restored by the ASI. This shows that not only the Kushans but their predecessors, too, held the Piprahwa stupa in high regard. Srivastava's excavation of the stupa also showed that the two brick chambers containing the lowest level of reliquaries had been laid into mud filling above the natural and undisturbed soil, suggested an original stupa of piled-up mud. That, too, is thoroughly convincing.

What are not so convincing are three particular claims made by Srivastava. The first is that the two soapstone reliquary vases from the two brick chambers predate the very similar soapstone reliquary vases found in Peppe's stone coffer. Srivastava offers no evidence to show that they do. All four vases are to all intents identical, almost certainly made at the same place at the same time. His second claim is that these same two soapstone vases found by him are 'contemporaneous to the early period of Northern Black Polished Ware, which could be dated to fifth—fourth century B.C.' This has also to be rejected. It would be hard to find outside India any scholar of the early Buddhist period prepared to say that any of the small soapstone vases found in Buddhist stupas from Afghanistan down to Madras predate the second century BCE. What this means is that even Emperor Asoka, who died within two or three years of 235 BCE, is out of the frame, never mind anyone earlier.

Srivastava's third claim is that the two sets of red ware dishes found with the two soapstone reliquary vases are contemporaneous. This is not necessarily so. There is no reason why this red ware type should not predate the soapstone vases by at least a century. Srivastava offers no thoughts as to why these seemingly empty red dishes should have been there at all, but almost as an aside remarks that they may have contained ash. What this suggests is that the red dishes have a far better claim to have been the original reliquaries placed in the mud stupa than do the two soapstone vases.

This leads us on to a feasible scenario in which bone and ash relics are laid in a mud stupa, possibly as early as the end of the fifth century BCE. The original reliquary that contained these relics may not even have been the red dishes but something far simpler. A century later there is nothing to show that these are the Sakyas' share of the relics of Buddha Sakyamuni other than oral tradition. However, a decision is taken to act on that tradition and to preserve the mud stupa properly. The relics are placed in two red dishes with two similar dishes placed over them as covers. They are returned to their original hole in the mud stupa, which is now protected by chambers made up of large slabs of brick forty inches long and twenty-seven inches wide. A simple brick stupa, round but not necessarily dome-shaped, is laid over them, constructed of the same type of large bricks as those used for the two chambers. This first brick stupa can be described as early Mauryan period and falls comfortably within the reign of Asoka the Great.

Indeed, Emperor Asoka cannot be excluded absolutely from the secene. The archaeological evidence shows that he erected at least three pillars within walking distance of Piprahwa: one to Buddha Saykamuni at Lumbini; one to Buddha Kanakamuni now lying at Nigliva Sagar; and the third, most probably to Buddha Krakuchanda, at Gotihawa. Since the Lumbini pillar commemorates the site of Buddha Saykamuni's birth and Xuanzang records an Asokan pillar commemorating his death at Kushinagar and another pillar at Pataliputra commemorating the site of one of the eight deposition sites of Saykamuni's ashes, it is highly likely that Asoka also raised pillars at the other deposition sites, including that of the Sakyas.

The fact that neither Willie Peppe nor Babu Mukherji nor K. M. Srivastava found such an Asokan pillar at Piprahwa does not mean that such a pillar did not stand there 2,000 years ago. All three archaeologists saw no need to excavate the low ground immediately west of the stupa, mostly taken up with what was once a tank or ritual bathing pond. A column may well have toppled into the tank centuries ago, and even if such a column had been removed traces of its foundation would remain — a hypothesis which a geophysical survey could resolve without any need for digging.

But Emperor Asoka and the soapstone vases recovered by Peppe and Srivastava have nothing in common, for the general consensus among archaeologists outside India is that they cannot date from earlier than the second century BCE — which forces us to ask: who, then, built the great stone coffer with all its remarkable contents?

By the end of the third and the beginning of the second centuries BCE the Mauryan dynasty was already in decline before being brought to an abrupt end by Pusyamitra Sunga c. 185 BCE. Of Asoka's successors, not a great deal is known and very little supported by archaeological evidence. But there is one possible contender, albeit a shadowy one.

Asoka's eldest son was by his first wife, who was a Jain. He was named Kunala and because he rejected the Buddhism adopted by his father he was blinded, supposedly by Asoka's youngest wife, a Buddhist, and excluded from the line of succession. Asoka named as his successor a younger, Buddhist son, Dasarathu, but when Kunala's son, Samprati, came to court to plead for his father Asoka was so impressed by his manly character that he named him as Dasarathu's successor. When Asoka died c. 235 BCE he was duly succeeded by Dasarathu, who reigned for eight years before his death c. 227 BCE. His Jain nephew Samprati then took over the throne of Magadha — at which point the Jain, Brahminical and Buddhist accounts diverge widely. According to the Jain chronicle Pataliputrakalpa, Samprati lived for fifty years and became to the Jam s what his grandfather had been to the Buddhists: a model promoter of Jainism who built many new Jain temples and restored many old ones. He was followed by a cousin or nephew named Salisuka, who by Brahminical tradition, recorded in no less than three Puranas or ancient texts, was an evil man because he applied Asoka's Dharma and was duly punished by the gods by ruling for only a short time. But the Buddhist texts tell a quite different story. They claim that the Jain Samprati ruled for less than a decade before being succeeded by the noble Buddhist ruler Salisuka, who ruled for twice as long — from about 218 to 200 BCE — before being succeeded by the last three Mauryan kings, none of whom ruled for longer than eight years.

One interpretation of the differences in these accounts is the division of Asoka's empire, with Samprati and his predominantly Jain successors ruling in Gandhara and Western India, and Salisuka and his Buddhist descendants in Magadha and Central India. There is very little to go on here, except for the intriguing detail that Salisuka and his apparent rival Samprati were also known by a number of secondary, honorific names, greatly adding to the confusion of who was who and how long each ruled and where. Yet Salisuka was undoubtedly an ardent promoter of Buddhism and so emerges out of the fog of that period as the strongest contender for the role of the ruler who may, or may not, have involved himself in the stupa at Piprahwa.

There is no doubt at all that it was Asoka the Great who erected the Asokan rock and pillar edicts, because he puts his name to his work. But, despite what the Asokavadhana has to say on the matter, the emperor who ordered the eight Buddha Sakyamuni relic stupas to be opened and their contents redistributed may not have been Asoka, but one of his successors, the most likely candidate being his great-grandson (or grandson) Salisuka, possibly derived in part his name suka — 'shining one.'

The collective evidence from the Piprahwa stupa allows the possibility that no earlier than 200 BCE — and even that is pushing it to the chronological limit — a powerful raja whose suzerainty extended from the middle Ganges to the foothills of the Himalayas decided to carry on the sacred work of spreading the Dharma started by the revered Asoka by redistributing the relics of Buddha Sakyamuni. The raja orders the simple brick stupa erected by Asoka over the Sakyas' share of the relics south of Kapilavastu to be opened. The red ware dishes are taken from their brick chambers, all the bone fragments removed and the dishes returned to their chambers. However, on the ruler's instructions, a few bone parts are also returned, but now enshrined in two state-of-the-art caskets of soapstone, specially made for this purpose and turned on lathes, perhaps the first of their kind seen in these parts. The brick chambers are resealed.

But the ruler is growing old and knows he is coming to the end of his time. He wonders if he might have gained more merit had he himself had been present at the reburial of the Buddha Sakyamuni relics or even if sufficient respect was shown. So he leaves his splendid capital at Pataliputra, crosses the great river and sets out on the royal highway marked with the pillars his illustrious predecessor raised. He takes with him the finest gifts his kingdom can supply: a magnificent reliquary of crystal like no other; garlands of flowers, but of the kind that will never wither — not only of gold leaf, which are easily made, but of cut precious stones, the finest examples of lapidary work that the country has ever produced, the product of hours of the most delicate handicraft of which his jewellers are capable. Nothing to match these little carved flowers and leaves will be found in any other Buddhist reliquary on the sub-continent. He also takes with him a coffer hewn from one great block of stone from the same quarries on the Ganges upstream of Kashi from which his great-grandfather (or was it grandfather?) had his edict pillars cut. This, too, is unique. Nothing to match it will be found in any other stupa.

And when, finally, the ruler arrives in some state at the Sakya stupa he has also thought to bring with him two more of the new soapstone reliquary vases, containing just a few more bone fragments of the Sage of the Sakyas, so that he can make his own personal deposition. These, along with the crystal casket, the flowers of gold and precious stones, an assortment of other small treasures of various kinds, he himself places with the utmost reverence into the stone coffer at the centre of the round, flat, brick-built stupa that Asoka built. But then at the last minute the ruler realises that he has left no record of what is being deposited here. He calls for an inscription to be added to one of the reliquary caskets.

So now we come to the small matter of the Piprahwa inscription, undoubtedly genuine but perplexing in that it can be read as a relic either of Buddha Sakyamuni, or the Sakyas, or as a relic of Buddha Sakyamuni gifted by the relatives of someone called Sukiti. What we can also say about the inscription is that it was crudely done and lacked sophistication, suggesting either an early form of Magadhan Prakrit or a very provincial form of the same. Let us go with the second hypothesis.

The ruler calls for a scribe but none are immediately to hand so he has to fall back on a local man, an inexperienced oaf who does his best to scratch a few words around the top of the lid of one of the caskets. Inevitably, in his terror, he botches it. He misses the genitive in 'of the Sakyas' and has to add it above the line, and he is uncertain how the ruler's name should be spelled and is afraid to ask. So instead of writing 'This receptacle of relics of the Blessed Buddha is the precious gift of Salisuka and his brothers — salisukanambhati — with his sisters, sons and wives; he writes sukitibhatinam, which in 2,300 years' time will have learned men arguing over who exactly Sukiti was and why this was the gift not of Sukiti himself but of Sukiti's brothers, sisters, sons and wives.

But the words are written and the sweating scribe assures his lord that he has got it right. Never having had to trouble himself with reading or writing, the ruler has to take the man at his word. So the lid is placed on the stone coffer at the centre of the brick stupa, the ruler retires to his chariot or his palanquin and the clay plasterers and the bricklayers step forward to begin the work that millennia later will be identified by K. M. Srivastava as Phase II of the Piprahwa stupa. Three centuries later fresh orders come from another ruler, this time a king of the Kushans, ordering enlargements, with niches where statutes of Bodhisattvas can be placed, and the addition of a processional path so that pilgrims can more easily circumambulate the edifice. The surrounding monasteries are also enlarged and for two centuries the stupa and its attendant monasteries resound to the chants of monks and pilgrims before the fatal assault that ends in fire and smoke, followed by the encroachment of the jungle, the return of the sal forest and the pipal trees that will in time give this collection of mounds its particular name of Piprahwa.
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

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My first thanks must go to Neil Peppe, family custodian of his grandfather William Claxton Peppe's treasures and papers, for whom life has not been easy these last few years, not least because of some of the issues discussed in this book. However, without his unstinting support this book could not have been written and my hope is that now the story has been told fully the cloud that has hung over the Peppe connection with Piprahwa will be lifted. I am also extremely grateful for the generous support that Viscount David Lascelles gave in hosting and feeding our little one-day conference on Piprahwa in June 1996 at his new conference centre at Harwood House, to say nothing of the support provided by the Harewood Trust's Director Terry Suthers and staff. Another valued supporter of the conference was John Eskenazi, of John Eskenazi Ltd, who made it possible for three organic artefacts from Piprahwa to be scientifically tested as far as that was possible. Also supporting the conference with its imprimatur was the Royal Asiatic Society, with the associated Society for South Asian Studies making it possible for Rakesh Tewari of the UP Archaeological Department to attend. Among those who spoke formally or informally at The Harewood Conference my special thanks to Prof. Richard Gombrich, Prof. Oskar von Hinfiber, Prof. Robin Coningham, Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, Dr. Julia Shaw, Dr. Lance Cousins, Dr. Rakesh Tewari, Dr. Andrew Huxley and Terry Phelps, and to Prof. Richard Salomon for allowing me to quote an extract from his unpublished paper. Another organisation which took an active interest in this project was the Buddhist Society of London; my special thanks its officers, staff and members, especially Dr. Desmond Biddulph, Louise Merchant and Tsugumi Ota, and, indirectly, Ven. S. Dhammika.

As to my research in the UK, my thanks to: Dr. Rosie Llewelyn- Jones of BACSA; Kathy Lazenblatt, Librarian at the Royal Asiatic Society; Dr. Gillian Evison, Curator, South Asian Collection, and Emma Mathieson, Curator, Modern Asian Collection, Indian Institute Library, at the Bodleian, Oxford; Francoise Simmons, Librarian, and Catherine Sutherland, Deputy Librarian, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge; John Falconer, Curator of Photography, and Andrew Cook, Curator of Maps, British Library; Dr. Jennifer Howes, Curator, Helen George, Headley Sutton and his unfailing helpful front desk team, Tim Thomas, Paul Carter, John Chignoli and Dorian Leveque, Asia, Pacific and Africa Collection, British Library; Norman Cameron, Secretary, and staff at the Royal Society of Asian Affairs. Finally, my special thanks to Sheila Hoey Middleton and Lawrence Middleton for so kindly reading through my manuscript at an early stage, for making many helpful suggestions and corrections, for allowing me free use of their research, and for directing my own into some neglected corners.

In India my special thanks to Dr. K. M. Srivastava for allowing me to quote from his work and to reproduce some of his photographs and drawings of his Piprahwa excavations, and to Prof. Himashu Ray of Jawaharlal Nehru University for so generously making her research at the Indian National Archives available to me. My thanks also to: Ram Advani in Lucknow; Dr. Rakesh Tewari of the UP Archaeological Circle and to the Director and staff at the Lucknow Museum; and The Director, Archaeological Survey of India. My thanks to Aman Nath in Delhi for his hospitality, and to Anish Goel and other supporters of Shri S. N. Goenka's Vipassana movement for looking after me in Mumbai.

In Nepal my first thanks must go to the Rai family and, in particular, Binod Rai, who on this occasion to his more familiar services as expedition leader and organiser took many of the colour photographs for this book. Among the many in Kathmandu who helped me in my researches my thanks go to: Lisa Choegyal; Dr. Basanta Bidari; Kiran Man Chitrakar; Prabakar S. Rana; Deepak S. Rana; Dr. Ajaya S. Rana; Bidur Dangol; Harihar Raj Joshi; and Pankaj Pradhananga. For their support, advice and hospitality my thanks to H. E. the British Ambassador Andrew Hall and Kathie Hall; Morna Nance, Director, British Council; Janet Rockwell of `Heaven's Door'; Jim Edwards; Ambika Shrestha; Sangeeta Thapa; Pratina Rana Pande; Ted and Ellen Riccardi; and Charles and Pam Gay. In the Nepal Tarai, my thanks to Dr. Keshab Man Shakya, the incoming Vice-Chairman of the Lumbini Development Trust and members of his staff, especially Sunil Dahal and Gyanin Rai; also to Hem Sagar Baral, Dinesh Gini and staff at the Lumbini Buddha Garden; and to the Tharu people of Sonbarsi village for their hospitality.

Finally, my thanks to the team at Haus Publishing.
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

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Notes on Sources


Indian Office Library, British Library — IOL, BL; Archaeological Survey of India — ASI; Royal Asiatic Society — RAS; North-Western Provinces and Oude — NWP&O; Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society — IRAS; Asiatic Researches — AR; Indian Antiquary — IA; Epigraphia Indica —El; Peppe Papers — PP; Dictionary of National Biography — DNB; Dictionary of Indian Biography — DIB; Asiatic Society of Bengal — ASB; Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal — JASB.

Preface. A Winter in Nepal

Anyone who still believes that Edward Said's Orientalism, 1978, and his follow-up should be taken seriously should read Ibn Warraq, Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said's Orientalism, 2008, the most incisive of a number of critical studies on the subject. The quotation from the Government of Bihar is taken from South Asia Intelligence Review, 2007.

Prologue. The Return of the Wanderer, c. 405 BCE

The account of the Mahaparinirvana of Sakyamuni Buddha is based on the Mahaparinibban Suttanta. I have also drawn on The World of Buddha, translated by Peter Leggatt as it appeared in consecutive issues of The Middle Way from February 2001 to May 2002 and three articles by J. E Fleet: 'The Tradition about the Corporeal Relics of Buddha; IRAS, April and July 1907; 'The Day on which Buddha Died', IRAS, January 1909.

The traditional origins of the Sakyas and Koliyas are given in the Divyavadam (trans. Cowell and Neil, 1886). According to the Dighanikaya (trans. Rhys Davids and Carpenter, 1890) the Sakyas settled in the lower slopes of the Himalayas. The linking of the Sakyas to the sal tree was first made by William Hoey in a letter, JRAS, April 1906, P.453: 'the application of the word saka in Northern India is to the sal-tree ... the sal-tree is also called saku throughout the districts and provinces bordering on Nepal. ... The Nepal Taria forests ... . are essentially sal-forests, and Sakya obviously means "the people of the sal-forests' The issue of whether it was pork or mushroom that the Sakyamuni ate is one that is fiercely debated among scholars of Buddhism (eg. W. Hoey, JRAS, December 1906, p.881, note); I have chosen to follow the literal version.

The dating of the Buddha is discussed in Heinz Bechert, ed. The Dating of the Buddha, 1992 and more recently Lance Cousins, "The Dating of the Historical Buddha: A Review Article; Indology, 2007, I have chosen to follow the still unchallenged reading of Prof. Richard Gombrich in his paper 'Discovering the Buddha's Date; first read at the International Association of the History of Religions Conference in Rome in 1990 but subsequently revised and most recently read at the Harewood Piprahwa Conference, June 2006. An account of the First Buddhist Council, most probably held in the last decade of the fourth century BCE, is given in the Cullavagga of the Vinaya Pitaka and in the Mahavamsa. For early Buddhist history I have consulted Ed. H. Bechert and R. Gombrich, The World of Buddhism; the now outdated T. W. Rhys Davids, Buddhism: being a Sketch of the Life and Teachings of Gautama, the Buddha, 1886, Asoka and the Buddha Relics; JRAS, July 1901, and Buddhist India, 1903; Vincent Smith, Asoka: the Buddhist Emperor of India,1903; J. F. Fleet, 'The Rummindei Inscription and the Conversion of Asoka to Buddhism; JRAS, April 1908; and John S. Strong, The Legend of King Asoka: a Study and Translation of Asokavadana, 2002.

1. The Opening: Piprahwa kot, 18 January 1898

My reconstruction of W. C. Peppe's opening of the Piprahwa stupa is based on the private letters and papers in the Peppe family papers (PP), as described in my (unpublished at the time of this publication) article 'What Happened at Piprahwa.' These include a bound pamphlet with photographs entitled The Piprawah Stupa on the Birdpore Estate Containing the Relics of Buddha, written by W. C. Peppe in the first person, possibly a first draft before he wrote his article 'The Piprahwa Stupa, containing relics of Buddha,' JRAS, July 1898. The remarks about Willie Peppe's character and the closing remark about digging deeper made by Mrs. Peppe is taken directly from Vivienne Peppe's unpublished MS 'The Story of the Peppes, 1983, all PP.

Details of the life of Vincent Smith are found in 'Vincent Smith' by Prof. C.S. Srinivasachari, Eminent Orientalists: Indian, European, Indian, Ed. Anon., 1922. His outspoken character is mentioned in his first entry in the DNB, written by S. V. Fitzgerald, subsequently revised in later editions. The quotations from Vincent Smith's letters to Willie Peppe are drawn from correspondence in PP. I have also drawn on W. C. Peppe, 'The Piprahwa Stupa, containing relics of Buddha, by William Claxton Peppe, Esq, communicated with a note by Vincent A. Smith, ICS, MRAS,' IRAS, July 1908.

Details of the Battiprolu excavation are in Alexander Rea, South Indian Buddhist Antiquities, ASI, New Imperial Series, Vol. XV, 1894.

Some details of the academic life Georg Buhler are taken from 'Dr. Buhler' by Prof. M. S. R. Iyengar, Eminent Orientalists: Indian, European, Indian, Ed. Anon., 1922 and from obituaries written by Max Muller in JRAS, July 1898, and Max Muller and eleven others in IA, Dec. 1898.

The first quoted account of the tarai is from Francis Buchanan/ Hamilton's An Account of the Kingdom of Nepal and of the Territories Annexed to this Dominion by the House of Gorkha, 1815 (Buchanan changed his surname to Hamilton in later years, causing a great deal of confusion). The first European to write about the Tharus at some length was none other than Anton Fuhrer in Chapter 8 of his notorious Antiquities of Buddha Sakyanmni's Birth-place in the Nepalese Tarai, 1898. The disputed origins of the Tharus are discussed in Arjun Guneratune, Many Tongues, One People: the Making of Thant Identity, 2002, and in Subodh Kumar Singh, The Great Sons of the Tharus: Sakyamini Buddha and Ashoka the Great, 2006.

Details of the settlement of the Gorakhpur Tarai, the travails of the European 'capitalists' and the subsequent histories of the Gibbon and Peppe families are taken from three sources in PP: W. Gibbon, The Gorkhpoor Tarai in Days Gone by, privately printed in Birmingham, 1890; W. C. Peppe, Letter addressed to the Settlement Officer of the Basti District in the North Western Provinces of India, recounting a history of the Birdpore Estate from the date it was granted to the Proprietors, to the present time; extending over a period of Fifty Years, privately printed in Mussoorie, 1899; and Vivienne Peppe, unpublished MS 'The Story of the Peppes; 1983. The account of the enforced resettlement of the Tharus is given in Gibbon's Gorakhpoor Tarai in Days Gone by, PP.

Details of the life of General Khadga Shumsher Jung Bahadur Rana came from conversations with two of his great-grandsons: Dr Ajaya S. J. B. Rana and Deepak S. J. B. Rana; also Percival Landon, Nepal, Vol. I, 1927; Silvain Levi, A Notebook of Sojourn, translated by S. Mitra and edited (alas, with many omissions and errors) by Harihar Raj Joshi, 2006.

2. The Reading: Birdpore House, 19 January 1898

The reconstruction of the Peppe family's examination of the Piprahwa reliquaries and their contents is based on the Peppe letters and papers in PP as described above in Ch. 1, and W. C. Peppe, 'The Piprahwa Stupa, containing relics of Buddha, by William Claxton Peppe, Esq, communicated with a note by Vincent A. Smith, ICS, MRAS; JRAS, July 1898. Also to be found in PP are: a rough copy of a deposition about those present at the opening of the stone coffer from the Piprahwa stupa; a recycled letter from Pandit Misra, Magistrate of Basti, to Peppe; a hand copy of the Piprahwa inscription with a note from Peppe, to which a translation and further note from Smith has been added; a series of letters from Smith and Anton Fuhrer's to Peppe. See also my unpublished article 'What Happened at Piprahwa; Ch. 1 above.

An account of the activities of the early British Orientalists and the discovery of the roots of Buddhism in India, including the part played by Francis Buchanan/Hamilton, is given in Charles Allen, The Buddha and the Sahibs, 2003. Buchanan's remarkable reports of his field-work are to be found in the British Library MSS Eur. K156-75, his exploration of the Indian Tarai in Vol. II of Topographical Account of the Northern Part of the District of Gorakhpur and its Antiquities, in three vols. edited by Montgomery Martin, History, Antiquities, Topography and Statistics of Eastern India, 1838.

The Sen dynasty seal is reproduced in W. F. Gibbon, The Gorakhpoor Tarai in Days Gone By, 1890, in PP.

For accounts of the Mauryan dynasty I have drawn on the Ashokavadana and the Divyavadana but also Vincent Smith, Asoka: The Buddhist Emperor of India, 1901; R. C. Majumdar, Ancient India, 1977, Romilla Thapar, A History of India, Vol. I, 1966, John Keay, India: A History, 2001, B. N. Mukherjee, Ancient India, 2003. Asoka's links with Nepal are considered in Daniel Wright, History of Nepal, 1877, and Lama Taranath, History of Buddhism in India, 1971. The seventeenth Asokan inscription lists the pilgrimage sites visited by Asoka. The quotation about Chandragupta's conquests is from Kshmendra's Brihat-Katha-Manjari. Smith's account of Asoka's pilgrimage is taken from Ashokavadana, of which he wrote, erroneously, that 'the chronology of the romance [the Ashokavadana], which places Asoka only a century after the death of Buddha, is manifestly erroneous.'

A. C. L. Carlleyle's account of his supposed discovery of Kapilavastu is given in his 'Report of Tours in Gorakhpur, Saran, and Ghazipur, ASI Reports (Old Series) Vol. 22, 1885. Alexander Cunningham's confirmation of his claim to have discovered Kapilavastu is from his Introduction to A. C. L. Carlleyle, Report of Tours in the Central Doab and Gorakhpur in 1874-75 and 1875-76, which also contains Carlleyle's account of his discoveries of Kushinagar and the Rampurva pillar. A modern translation of Xuanzang's Report of the Western Regions of the Great Tang is given in Max Deeg, The Places Where Siddhartha Trod: Lumbini and Kapilavastu, 2003.

Anton Fuhrer's reports are in: The Sharqi Architecture of Jaunpur, with Notes of Zafarabad, Sahet-Mahet and Other Places in the North-Western Provinces and Oude, ed. by James Burgess, 1889, ASI New Series Vol. I, NWP&O Vol I.; The Monumental Antiquities and Inscriptions in the North-Western Provinces and Oude, described and arranged by A. Fuhrer, PhD, 1891, ASI (New Series) Vol. II, PWP&O Vol. II; Progress Report of the Epigraphical Section for the Working Season of 1895-6, 1897, ASI NWP&O 1895-97; Extracts from Lucknow Museum Reports of 1888-89, 1889-90 and 1890-91; see also Vincent Smith, The Jain Stupa and Other Antiquities of Mathura, 1901, ASI New Imperial Series Vol. XX, NWP&O Vol. V.

3. The Expected Visit: Birdpore House, 27 January 1898

For details of Smith's visit to Birdpore and his reports of Piprahwa stupa contents see Chs. 1 & 2 above, PP. As well as the list of items presented by Vincent Smith in 'The Piprahwa Stupa; JRAS, October 1898, three different lists of the Birdpore relic items are to be found in the PP, as well as Smith's second tentative translation of the Piprahwa inscription, undated.

For details of the ICS career of William Hoey I am much obliged to Sheila Hoey Middleton, also Hoey's remarks in 'Exploration of the Birthplace of Buddha in the Nepal Tarai; Government, NWP&O PWD Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous.

The quoted comments on Dr. Buhler's contribution to Jain studies are taken from Prof. K. S. R Iyengar's essay in Eminent Orientalists, Indian, European, American, 1922. The quoted judgement on Smith's work is contained in Prof. C. S. Srinivasachari's essay in the same work. For Smith's early scholarship on Gupta coins see: 'A Classified and Detailed Catalogue of the Gold Coins of the Imperial Gupta Dynasty of Northern India, with an Introductory Essay; JASB, 1884; 'The Coinage of the Early or Imperial Gupta Dynasty of Northern India', JRAS, January 1889; 'Observations on the Gupta Coinage; JRAS, January 1893; 'Further Observations on the History and Coinage of the Gupta Period; JASB, 1894.

For my sources on early Indian history see Ch. 2 above. Quotations from Faxian are from James Legge's translation, A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa- Hiuen of his Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline, 1886. Quotations from Xuanzang are from Samuel Beal's translation, Si-Yu-Ki: Buddhist Records of the Western World by Hiuen Tsiang, 1884.

Fuhrer's closing quotation is from his Progress Report of the Epigraphical Section for the Working Season of 1895-6, 1897, ASI NWP&O, 1895-97.

4. The Unannounced Visit: 'Camp Kapilavastu; 28 January1898

V. Smith's account of his foray into Nepal and his meeting with Dr Fuhrer are to be found in: Government, NWP&O. PWD Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous. Exploration of the Birthplace of Buddha in the Nepal Tarai. File No. 49 Mis.; and in Annual Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey Circle (Epigraphical Section) NWP&O, for the year ending 30 June 1899, 1899; Smith's Introduction to Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji, A report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Terai, Nepal, the region of ICapilavastu, during February and March 1899, with a Prefatory Note by Mr Vincent A. Smith, No. XXVI, Part of the Imperial Series, and Vol. VI of Archaeological Survey of Northern India, BL SW196/26/2; and Vincent Smith's critical 'Note on the Exploration of Kapilavastu; dated 3 January 1898, Government, NWP&O PWD Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous.

A. Fuhrer's account of his exploration and excavations in the Nepal Tarai are to be found in: his letters to W. C. Peppe, PP (see also Ch. 1 above); 'Archaeological Survey N-WP and Oude Circle: Progress Reports of the Epigraphical Section in the Working Season of 1893-94, 1894-95, and 1895-96, in Progress Reports of the Epigraphical and Architectural Branches of the NWP&O, 1892-1903; and 'Exploration of the Birthplace of Buddha in the Nepal Tarai; printed in Archaeological Survey, NWP&O Circle Progress Report for the Epigraphical Section for the Working Season of 1897-98.

W. Hoey's explorations are in V Smith and W. Hoey, 'Notes on the Sohgaura Copper-Plate; Proceedings of the ASB, 1894; Smith and Hoey, 'Ancient Buddhist Statuettes and a Candella Copperplate from the Banda District; JASB, 1895. Hoey also describes his dealings with Gen. Khadga S. J. B. Rana in Government, NWP&O, PWD, etc already cited above in this chapter. Smith and Hoey's third collaboration on Gupta coinage is listed above Ch. 3. As regards Dr. Hoey's Gupta statuettes, a mystery surrounds the whereabouts of the missing third Buddha statuette: see Sheila E. Hoey Middleton, 'The Third Buddha; Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 18, 2002.

Dr. L. A. Waddell's early published work included Discovery of the exact site of Pataliputra and description of the superficial remains, 1892; The Birds of Sikkim, 1893; The Lamasim of Sikkim, 1894; The Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism, with its Mystic Cults, Symbolism and Mythology and its Relation to Indian Buddhism, 1895; and Report on the Excavations at Poitaliputra (Patna), 1903. Waddell's version of the events of 1895-96 is given in his letter 'The Discovery of the Birthplace of the Buddha; JRAS, January 1897. His memorandum was read at the August meeting of the ASB and published as 'The Birthplace of the Buddha and its Asoka Monuments' in JASB, 1896, together with a note on 'A Tibetan Guide-Book to the Lost Sites of the Buddha's Birth and Death; JASB, 1896. The charge of plagiarism made against Dr. Fairer is referred to in Waddell's letter above, based on Stanley Lane-Poole's complaint in a letter published in the Athenaeum on 28 September 1895. Waddell's letters to Hoey and his map of Rajdhani is among Smith's papers in the Indian Institute Library at the Bodleian, Mss. Eng. Misc. C794.

The first accounts of the discovery of the Lumbini pillar are given in G. Buhler, letter 'The Discovery of Buddha's Birthplace; JRAS, April 1897; V. Smith, letter 'The Birthplace of Gautama Buddha; JRAS, July 1897; L. A. Waddell, letter 'The Discovery of the Birthplace of the Buddha; JRAS, July 1897.

Prof. Georg Miller's reading of the Nigliva sagar pillar inscription first appeared in The Academy in April 1895, his first reading of the Lumbini inscription in 'The Discovery of Buddha's Birthplace,' JRAS, 1897; his summation in 'The Asoka Edicts of Paderia and Nigliva; EI, Vol. V, 1898.

Dr. A. Fuhrer's notorious Antiquities of Buddha Sakyamuni's Birth-Place in the Nepalese Tarai, written in 1897 but not published until 1898, was suppressed on publication and all copies withdrawn and destroyed. Fortunately, Dr. Harihar Joshi tracked down a copy in Pakistan which he laboriously copied and published in Kathmandu in 1996, for which he deserves much credit (although readers should be aware that the copying is imperfect). Details of Dr. Fuhrer's 'discoveries' are given in 'Archaeological Survey' etc already cited above in this chapter.

The sources of the translations of Faxian and Xuanzang are cited in Ch. 3.

An account of Dr. Fuhrer's faking of inscriptions is given in H. Luders, 'On Some Brahmi Inscriptions in the Lucknow Museum; JRAS, 1912.

5. The Return: Birdpore House, 29 January 1898

For an account of Smith's movements in the Nepal Tarai see: his critical 'Note on the Exploration of Kapilavastu; dated 3 January 1898, in Government, NWP&O. PWD Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous. Exploration of the Birthplace of Buddha in the Nepal Tarai. File No. 49 Mis.; and his introduction to Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji, A report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Terai, Nepal, the region of Kapilavastu, during February and March 1899, with a Prefatory Note by Mr Vincent A. Smith, No. XXVI, Part of the Imperial Series, and Vol. VI of Archaeological Survey of Northern India.

Details of Smith's collaboration with Peppe are given in: W. C. Peppe, 'The Piprahwa Stupa, containing relics of Buddha, by William Claxton Peppe, Esq, communicated with a note by Vincent A. Smith, ICS, MRAS,' JRAS, July 1908; V. Smith, letter 'The Piprahwa Stupa,' JRAS, Oct. 1898.

Prof. Buhler's letter to Peppe is quoted in his 'Preliminary Report' cited in Ch. 2 above, also in J. H. H. Peppe, The Piprawah Stupa on the Birdpore Estate Containing the Relics of Buddha, a twelve-page pamphlet, undated, now in the Peppe Papers, Cambridge Centre for South Asian Studies. This pamphlet is clearly linked to W. C. Peppe, 'The Piprahwa Stupa, containing relics of Buddha, by William Claxton Peppe, Esq. communicated with a note by Vincent A. Smith, MRAS,' JRAS, 1898.

Hoey's account of his visit to Lumbini is given in Government, NWP&O, PWD etc quoted above. Smith's account of his foray into Western Nepal is given in 'Kausambi and Sravasti,' JRAS, July 1898.

The quarrel between Drs. Waddell and Fuhrer is set out in their letters in JRAS, July 1897 and Jan 1898.

Fuhrer's forays into the Nepal Tarai are described in 'Archaeological Survey N-WP and Oude Circle: Progress Reports of the Epigraphical Section in the Working Season of 1893-94, 1894-95, and 1895-96, in Progress Reports of the Epigraphical and Architectural Branches of the NWP&O, 1892-1903. His 'preliminary brief report' dated 23 March 1896, 'Nepalese Excavation in the western Tarai,' was printed in Government NWP&O PWD Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous; a significantly altered progress report, 'Exploration of the Birthplace of Buddha in the Nepal Tarai; was printed in Archaeological Survey, NWP&O Circle Progress Report for the Epigraphical Section for the Working Season of 1897-98. For critical accounts of the same by Waddell, Hoey and Smith see the first para in Ch. 4 above.

The quotes from Silvain Levi's diary are taken from Silvain Levi, A Notebook of Sojourn, translated by S. Mitra and edited by Harihar Raj Joshi, 2006.

For Fuhrer's and Smith's letters to Peppe see PP in Ch. 1 above.

Fuhrer's desperate letter to Gen. Khadga Rana and the latter's reply is printed in Government, NWP&O, PWD, Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous and in Annual Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey Circle (Epigraphical Section) NWP&O, for the year ending 30 June 1899, 1899.

The remarkable Fuhrer—U Ma correspondence was rediscovered by T. A. Phelps in the National Archives of India, Govt. of India Proceedings Part B, Dept. of Revenue and Agriculture, Archaeology & Epigraphy, Aug. 1898, File No. 24 of 1898, Proceedings Nos. 7-10, and referred to by Andrew Huxley in his paper Georg Buhler's Death and its implications for Piprahwa, read at the RAS Harewood Conference on 8 July 2006. While acknowledging my debt to Phelps and Huxley in this respect I cannot agree with most of the claims made in that paper.

Lord Curzon's references to Sir Antony MacDonnell are taken from his correspondence with Lord George Hamilton, Mss. Eur. 111/158-59, IOL, BL, with special thanks to Laurence Middleton for tracking them down. Other sources are Philip Woodruffe (Philip Mason), The Guardians, 1954; David Gilmour's The Ruling Caste, zoos; DNB; DIB.

6. The Drowning: Lake Constance, 8 April 1898

Details of Prof. Buhler's career, last days and drowning are given in the obituary notices by Prof. Max Muller carried in JRAS, July 1898, and by A. A. MacDonnell and eleven others in Indian Antiquary, 1898. Buhler's letters to Rhys Davids are in the Rhys Davids Archive, Library of the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Cambridge, RD T/8 Gen. Corresp. For that information I am indebted to Andrew Huodey's unpublished paper Georg Buhler's Death and its implications for Piprahwa, read at the RAS Harewood Conference on 8 July 2006.

Details of the processes leading up to the publication of Fuhrer's Antiquities of Buddha Sakyamuni's Birth-Place in the Nepalese Tarai are set out in Government, NWP&O. PWD Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous. Exploration of the Birthplace of Buddha in the Nepal Tarai. File No. 49 Mis. This same key publication includes Smith's account of his confrontation with Fuhrer, an account of Waddell's appointment to supervise Mukherji, his treatment of Mukherji, Mukherji's response and Waddell's essentially bogus preliminary report on his identification of Kapilavastu.

Details of P. C. Mukherji's early career and dismissal in 1894 are found in: Upinder Singh, The Discovery of Ancient India: Early Archaeologists and the Beginnings of Archaeology, 2004; the Indian Museum Annual Report, April 1894 to March 1895, 1895; and Frederick M. Asher, 'The Former Broadley Collection, Bihar Sharif; Artibus Asiae, Vol. 32, Nos 2-3, 1970. Smith's comments on P. C. Mukherji's Patna excavations are contained in Vincent A. Smith, Asoka Notes No. X', Indian Antiquary Vol. XXXVII, 1909. Smith's copy of Mukherji's Preliminary Report on my Tour in Champaran Tarai in March 1897 is to be found among Smith's papers in the Indian Institute Library at the Bodleian, Mss. Eng. Misc. C794. So, too, is Dr. L. A. Waddell's brief untitled report of his foray into Nepal in February 1899, dated 22 March and addressed to Secy. Govt of India, Dept. of Revenue and Agriculture.

Babu Mukherji's remarkable The Pictorial Lucknow, 1883 (in which he spells himself 'Mookherj'), was reissued in 2003. For a full account of his exploration of the Nepal Tarai and his excavations see Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji, A report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Terai, Nepal, the region of Kapilavastu, during February and March 1899, with a Prefatory Note by Mr Vincent A. Smith, No. XXVI, Imperial Series, and Vol. VI, Archaeological Survey of Northern India, BL SW 196/26/2,

Dr. W. Hoey's report on what he saw at Nigliva and Lumbini is included in Government, NWP&O. PWD Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous. Exploration of the Birthplace of Buddha in the Nepal Tarai. File No, 49 Misc. Hoey's identification of Ramagrama is referred to by Smith and Mukherji in A report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Terai, above and in Sukra Sagar Shrestha, 'Ramagrama Excavation,' Ancient Nepal, 2006. The remarks on Hoey's character are taken from an obituary carried in The Oxford Magazine, 3 May 1918.

7. The Prince-Priest: Gorakhpur Division, 1898

The two prime sources for this chapter are the letters in PP and the official correspondence now in the National Archives of India relating to the disposal of the Piprahwa relics: 1899 Foreign Department, External A Pros. April 1899, nos. 92-11. These last were found in the National Archives of India by Dr. Himanshu Ray, for whose scholarship and generosity in making them available to me I am greatly indebted.

For details on the life of the 'Prince-Priest' Prisdang Chumsai Jinavaravansa I have drawn on a note by Sumet Jumsai in a leaflet on the Ratna Chetiya Dipaduttamarama in Colombo, for which I am indebted to Ven. S. Dhammika. See also V. Charkam, 'The Life and Times of Prince Prisdang, which can be accessed on www.

For a possible solution to the mystery surrounding the whereabouts of Hoey's missing third Buddha statuette, see Sheila E. Hoey Middleton, 'The Third Buddha', Journal of South Asian Studies, Vol. 18, 2002.

Smith's initial support for Fuhrer's claims for his discovery of Kapilavastu is quoted a letter from Waddell, to the Secy. GoI, Dept. of Rev. and Ag.. No. 41-A, dated Calcutta 22 March, 1899, Smith Papers, Indian Institute Library, Bodleian. Dr. Waddell's account of his actions in the Nepal Tarai in January-February 1899 are contained in the same letter.

Details of Waddell's charges and Smith's enquiry and judgement are to be found in Government, NWP&O Public Works Department Proceedings for August 1899. Building and Roads — Miscellaneous. Exploration of the Birthplace of Buddha in the Nepal Tarai. File No, 49 Mis. See also Babu Puma Chandra Mukherji, A report on a tour of exploration of the antiquities in the Terai, Nepal, the region of Kapilavastu, during February and March 1899, with a Prefatory Note by Mr Vincent A. Smith, No. XXVI, Imperial Series, and Vol. VI, Archaeological Survey of Northern India, BL SW196/26/2.

Waddell's inglorious later career has been charted in Charles Allen, Duel in the Snows: The True Story of the Younghusband Mission to Lhasa, 2004.

Mukherji's last letter to Smith is among Smith's papers in the Indian Institute Library at the Bodleian, Mss. Eng. Misc. C794.

For a Nepali view of modern Lumbini see novelist Munjushree Thapa's essay 'The Buddha in the Earth-Touching Posture' in Tilled Earth, 2007.

8. The Aftermath, 1900-2008

Rhys Davids's lecture was entitled Asoka and the Buddha Relics,' subsequently published in JRAS, July 1901.

J. F. Fleet's three readings of the Piprahwa inscription were in: 'Notes on Three Buddhist Inscriptions', JRAS, October 1905; 'The Inscription on the Piprahwa Vase; JRAS, January 1906; 'The Inscription of the Piprahwa Vase; JRAS, January 1907. Fleet's rivals were Silvain Levi, Journal des Savants, 1905; M. Senart, Journal Asiatique, 1906, and M. Barth, Journal des Savants, 1906. Sadly mention of Fleet, 'The Inscription on the Sohgaura Plate; JRAS, 1907, had to be omitted for reasons of length.

H. Hartel's essay, 'Archaeological Research on Ancient Buddhist Sites; is published in H. Bechert Ed. The Dating of the Historical Buddha, 1991.

H. Luders's exposure appeared as 'On Some Brahmi Inscriptions in the Lucknow Museum', JRAS, 1912.

Smith's letter on the state of affairs at the Lucknow Musuem appeared in JRAS, October 1905.

Humphrey and Elfie Peppe's accounts of their two meetings with the Dalai Lama and their post-Independence vicissitudes are given in two short accounts included among PP.

Debala Mitra's accounts of her survey and excavations in the Nepal Tarai and Basti District are given in: Excavations at Tilaurakot and Kodan and Explorations in the Nepalese Terai, 1972; and Buddhist Monuments, 1971.

For J. N. Mishra's work at Tilaurakot see 'Tilaurakot Excavations,' Ancient Nepal, 1977. For B. K. Rijal's work at Tilaurakot and elsewhere see: Archaeological Remains of Kapilavastu, Lumbini and Devadaha, 1979; and 100 Years of Archaeological Work in Lumbini, Kapilavastu and Devadaha,1996. Summaries of their explorations, with extracts from earlier excavations and surveys are also found in Basanta Bidari, Lumbini: A Haven of Sacred Refuge, 2002, and Kapilavastu: The World of Siddhartha, 2004.

For K. S. Srivastava's work at Piprahwa and Ganwaria see: The Discovery of Kapilavastu, 1986; and Excavations at Piprahwa and Ganwaria, 1996.

For Max Deeg's recent research see 'The Places where Siddhartha Trod: Lumbini and Kapilavastu,' Lumbini International Research Institute Occasional Papers, 3, 2003.

Robin Coningham's and Armin Schmidt's work at Kapilivastu is still unpublished other than as press-reports which can be accessed on the internet. I am grateful to Robin Coningham for the results of the carbon-dating.

For Prof. G. Verardi's work see 'Excavations at Gotihawa and a Territorial Survey of Kapilavastu District of Nepal; Lumbini International Research Institute Occasional Papers, 2, 2002.

For a summary of Ramagrama see Sukra Sagar Shrestha, 'Ramagrama Excavation,' Ancient Nepal, 2006.

Another invaluable tool for a history of the archaeology of Nepal was Gitu Girt, Art and Architecture: Remains in the Western Tarai Region of Nepal, 2003 (which would have been all the better with the provision of a map).

I am grateful to Richard Salomon for allowing me to draw on his unpublished informal paper, 'Observations on the Piprahwa inscription and its Epigraphic content', which he read at the Harewood Conference, June 2006.

Among those who challenged K. M. Srivastava's readings of the Piprahwa seatings were Hartal (cited above) and Deeg (cited above).
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Re: The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer, by Charles Allen

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NB Page numbers in italics refer to


Ajatashatru, King 8, 11,12, 13-14, 19, 63
Ananda 4, 5, 9, 12, 13
Asoka, Emperor 6, 16-17, 19-20, 25,
61, 67, 78, 81-4, 86, 94, 95, 97, 98,
100-1, 103, 104, 115, 124, 126, 128,
129, 133, 139, 142, 157, 16o, 163, 169,
179, 198, 222, 224, 230, 236-7, 241,
263, 265-9


Barth, Auguste 240-1
Bhattiprolu 76, 262
Bimbisara, King 11, 13, 63
Bindusara, King 16
Bir Jang, Captain 108-10, 150, 151,
166, 186, 190
Birdpore House 21-5, 28, 32, 34,
40-2, 48, 50, 64, 74- 5, 107, 111,
125, 134, 145, 147, 155, 157, 158, 170,
201, 204, 207, 210, 212, 213, 227,
238, 243-6
Bloch, Dr. 182, 207
Buchanan, Francis 46, 56-61, 64, 65,
Buddha, The see Sakyamuni Buddha,
Baler, Professor Johann Georg 33,
69, 72, 115, 127, 131-2,134, 136, 139,
141-2, 146-7, 149, 159-62, 165, 166,
169, 171, 173-6, 223, 238, 240-2,
Burgess, Dr James 69-70
Burma 6, 56, 121, 149, 167, 169-70,
201, 206, 208, 243, 261


Carlleyle, Archibald 64-9, 73, 259
Ceylon 6, 14, 20, 61, 69, 82, 83, 141,
201, 203, 205, 207-9, 213, 216,
Chandragupta II, King 86, 95
Chandragupta Mauriya, King 14, 16
Chulalongkorn, King 203, 205, 210,
Coningham, Professor Robert 257
Cunningham, Alexander 63-70, 72,
73, 78-81, 87, 102, 117, 122, 129,
130, 140, 142, 143, 157, 207, 221,
223, 228, 238
Curzon, Lord 172, 208, 212, 221


Dalai Lama, the 244-6
Dasarathu 266
Dean, Major Harold 201
Devadaha 2, 193, 198
Devi, Queen 17
Drona 7-9, 8


Edge, Sir John 158
Elgin, Lord 207, 212
Evans, Sir Arthur 221


Fa Hiuen see Faxian
Faxian 69, 73, 80-1, 86-8, 90-2,
94- 5, 97- 9, 101-3, 111, 118, 121,
128, 129, 140, 148, 150, 153, 165, 198,
214, 225-7, 248, 256, 263
Fleet, John Faithful 23-41
Fuhrer, Dr. Anton Alois 26, 32-3,
36-8, 42, So, 51-3, SS, 69- 72,
71, 87, 105, 107-11, 120, 121, 123,
125-6, 129, 144-72, 176-8, 182,
185-90, 192-5, 197, 200, 213-16,
219, 223, 230, 233, 234, 238, 242,
249, 259, 261-2
Antiquities of Buddha
Sakyamuni's Birth-Place in the
Nepalese Tarai 163-6, 176.


Gandhara 84, 86, 221, 267
Ganguli, Babu G. D. 242
Ganwaria 248-9, 254-6, 263
Gautama Siddharta see Sakyamuni
Gibbon, Hugh 40
Gibbon, John Pixie 40
Gibbon, William 41
Goldstucker, Professor Theodore
Gombrich, Professor Richard 261
Grierson, George 201


Hartel, Herbert 241, 256
Hinuber, Oskar von 261
Hodgson, Brian 46,62, 66, 80,179
Hoernle, Dr. Augustus 170
Hoey, Dr. William 72, 78-9, 111- 14,
112, 116-18, 120-3, 125, 136, 145-6,
157, 184-9, /89, 193, 198-200,
205-6, 208, 210-12, 216, 219-20,
223, 224, 228, 236
Houghton, Brian 167
Huien Tsang see Xuanzang
Huxley, Andrew 260-1


Jetavana Garden, the 10, 64, 72- 3, 78,
79, 88-90,89, 97, 111, 117, 147, 225
Jinavaravansa, The Ven. J. C. 201-5,
204, 208-9, 212-13
Jones, Sir William 56, 80
Julien, Stanislas 63


Kaegi, Professor Werner 174-5
Kanakamuni Buddha 15, 90, 98,
100-1, 118, 128-30, 139-41, 145,
157, 163, 184, 185, 188, 189, 190, 193,
197, 214, 227, 230, 256, 263, 265
Kapilavastu 1-2, 4, 9-12, 16, 51, 55, 65,
69, 73, 78, 90-2, 98-102, 107-8,
111, 118, 121-3, 128-30, 132, 134,
139- 43, 144- 6, 149- 54, 156-8, 160,
163-6, 168-9, 177-8, 184, 187-90,
192-4, 197-8, 200, 214-16, 220,
222, 225-8, 238, 241, 248- 9,
252-6, 258-60, 263-4, 268
Kasyapa Buddha 15, 98, u8, 225
Keith, Major J. B. 33
Kipling, Rudyard 167
Knauer, Professor Friedrich 175
Krakuchanda Buddha 15, 90, 100-1,
128, 157, 193
Kruszynski, Robert 260
Kumaragupta II, King 94
Kushinagara 5, 9, 65-6, 69, 93- 4, 104,
179, 212, 227


Levi, Silvain 43, 151, 239, 240
Lucknow Museum 32, 33, 42, 69,
70-1, 157, 162, 167, 170, 177, 178,
223, 242
Luders, Dr. Heinrich 242
Lumbini garden, the 9, 17, 82, 92,
102-3, 111, 132-3, 136-43,137,138,
146-7, 149-51, 156, 161-4, 168, 171,
187,189, 190, 193, /96, 197-8, 200,
201, 217, 2/8, 226, 232, 233-4
Lupton, Walter 146
Lyall, Sir Alfred 33


MacDonnell, Sir Antony 158, 171-2,
175, 177, 206, 208, 217, 228
Mahinda 20
Marshall, John 221, 225
Mayadevi, Queen 2, 92, 99, 132, 135,
193, 218-19, 218, 245
Mishra, Jara Nanda 247-8
Misra, Pandit Rama Shankar so, 157
Mitra, Mrs. Debala 246-9
Buddhist Monuments 248
Mitra, Rajendra Lala 222
Mongkut, King 203
Mukherji, Babu Puma Chandra
178-87, 190-7, 200, 216-23, 225,
227, 230, 233, 246, 253, 258, 266
Report on a tour of exploration
of the antiquities in the
Temi, Nepal, the region of
Kapalivastu, during Februay
and March 1899 220-1, 225
The Pictorial Lucknow 181-2
Muller, Professor Max 174


Nalanda 9, 63, 104, 105
'Nepalese Captain,' the see Captain
Bir Jang
Nepal 23, 32, 34-8, 40, 42-6, 51, 53,
55, 56, 83, 104, 107-8, 111, 118-22,
125, 127, 131, 132-4, 140, 141, 143,
144, 146-8, 150-1, 156, 159, 161-2,
164, 166, 168, 176, 178, 183-8,
193-4, 197, 215, 219, 220-22, 225,
227, 229, 231, 233- 4, 246-7, 256-8,
Nigliva Sagar, the 125, /26, /27, 127,
129-30, 132, 134, 136, 139- 40, 145,
150-1, 157, 162-3, 168, 171, 184,
185, 188, 190, 197, 214, 227, 230,
259, 265


Odling, Charles 176-7, 183, 185, 187


Padariya 134, 136, 140, 161, 190
Panchen Lama, the 244
Pataliputra 13,17, 25, 67, 82, 83, 85, 86,
94, 122, 124, 179, 182, 219, 266, 268
Peppe, Alice 28
Peppe, Allen B. 28
Peppe, Elfie 28, 31, 243, 244
Peppe, Ella 25, 28, 48- 9, 243
Peppe, George Tosco 28
Peppe, Humphrey 210, 243, 259
Peppe, Lionel 25, 28, 243,
Peppe, Neil 245, 259-60, 261
Peppe, William (senior) 21-2, 34,
Peppe, William Claxton ('Willie')
21- 5, 22, 26, 28-32, 34, 41, 42,
48-53, 74, 77, 1 07, 109, 121, 145)
147, 152, 153, 155, 157- 8, 170, 20 5,
207-8, 210, 213, 227, 235- 8, 243,
249, 260 - 1, 262, 266
Phelps, Terence 259-60, 261
Phya Sukhom 210, 212
Piprahwa Kot, the 21, 23, 25, 28, 146,
147, 158, 206, 236, 264
Prasenajit, King
Prinsep, James 61-3, 80, 128
Prisdang Chumsai, Prince, see The
Ven. J. C. Jinavaravansa


Qutb-ud-Din 105


Rajagriha 11, 13, 63
Ramagrama 8, 13, 19, 92-3, 103, 111,
121, 150, 198-200, 222, 263
Rea, Alexander 76
Rhys Davids, Caroline 235
Rhys Davids, T. W. 54, i6o, 166, 174,
235-8, 240
Ricketts, Duncan 111, 134, 139, 189
Rijal, Babu Krishna 247, 256
Archaeological Remains of
Kapilavastu, Lumbini,
Devadaha 256


Sagarwa 108-10, 144-5, 151-4, 156,
157, 165-9, 177, 187, 190, 192-4,
209, 227, 234, 263
Sahni, Pandit Daya Ram 225
Sakyamuni Buddha, the 1-6, 5, 6, 9,
to, 11-15, 19-20, 56, 63, 64, 65, 73,
78, 82, 83, 85, 88-90, 9.2, 93, 95, 98,
104, 111, 135, 139, 142, 146, 164, 193,
201, 215, 224, 234, 241, 244, 245,
246, 257, 263-5, 267-8, 269
Salisuka 267, 269
Salomon, Richard 241, 261
Samprati 222, 266-7
Samudragupta, King 85-6
Sassanka, King 94, 95, 183
Schmidt, Professor Armin 257
Senart, Emile 240
Shumsher Rana, Bir 43, 44, 120, 134
Shumsher Rana, Chandra 44, 229, 231
Shumsher Rana, Deva 229
Shumsher Rana, Dhir 43
Shumsher Rana, Kesher 231-3
Shumsher Rana, Khadga 43-7, 44,
108, 118-20,219, 125, 134, 136, 139,
140, 147, 150-3, 161, 171,189, 190,
194, 198, 199, 228-9, 231
Siam 203, 205-6, 208-10, 212-13
Sleeman, Sir William Henry 24- 5
Smith, Dr. Aquilla 23
Smith, Vincent Arthur 23, 25, 32,
50, 53, 55, 78, 79-81, 8o, 107, 111,
114-16, 121, 125, 130-1, 135-6,
144-7, 153, 157- 8, 160, 171, 177,
178, 180, 183-4, 187, 198, 206-7,
217, 220, 221-7, 242, 261
Sohgaura 113-16, 241
Sravasti 10-12, 64, 69, 72, 78, 79,
87-8, 90, 95, 97- 9, 101-2, 109,
111-12, 115, 117, 118, 121, 128, 143,
147-8, 150, 167-8, 222, 225, 230-1
Sri Subhiti, the Venerable 201
Srivastava, K. M. 249- 55, 262, 264-6,


tarai, the 34- 42, 45- 7, 105- 6, 125, 164
Taulihawa 108, 125, 147, 151, 156, 184,
186, 229, 230, 246, 258
Tawney, C. H. 175
Tharus, the 21, 36-40, 37, 39, 46,
56-7, 6o, 66-7, 106, 150, 152, 154,
156, 164, 184, 258
Tibet 104, 121, 124, 201, 220, 244
Tilaurakot 145, 156, 157, 164, 186- 7,
190, 192, 194- 5,195, 217, 225-6,
229-31, 238, 246-9, 256-8, 262-3
Tumour, George 6, 128


U Ma, Shin 149, 167-70, 176, 177,
214- 15
U Thant 233
Upagupta 17, 83, 169, 178


Vajiravudh, King 213
Varanasi 9, 11, 231
Vardhana, Harsha 95
Verardi, Professor Giovanni 257
Vidudhaba, King 11, 90, 91, 239
Vogel, Dr. J. P. 225
Vost, Dr. 147


Waddell, Dr. Lawrence Austine 121-4,
124, 132-4, 139-40, 149-51, 161-2,
171, 179-80, 182-90, 192, 193-5,
197-200, 214, 216-17, 219-20, 223
Wylie, Colonel H. 120, 125, 134, 148,


Xuanzang 63-5, 68, 69, 79- 81, 85,
87-8, 91, 94-104, 108, 111, 118, 121,
123, 128-9, 132, 140, 144, 152, 153,
156-7, 165, 179, 189, 192-3, 194,
214, 215, 225-7, 231, 248, 257, 263,
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