Even though the popular version of history says that Siddhartha was born in Lumbini in present day Nepal, there are a bunch of folks from Orissa who want to prove that the Buddha was born in Kapileshwar village in Orissa. This version is not just a emotional outburst of some fanatics, but of some archaeological experts. These folks have found some artifacts like pottery dating to 6th B.C., but I have not figured out how pottery can help in establishing this theory. But now one historian has come forward suggesting that this is all nonsense.
He said, “The Buddha was neither born in Orissa nor visited the place during his lifetime.” Mr Behera said the claims made in this regard could go against the interests of the state.
The controversy began after it was projected sometime ago that the Buddha was born at Kapileswar, a village near here. Among others, an Ashokan inscription said to have been discovered from the place in 1928 was cited to prove the point. The inscription was similar to the one discovered in 1898 at Lumbini in Nepal, which has all through been acknowledged as the evidence to point that the Buddha was born there. The Lumbini inscription describes that Ashok visited the place because the Buddha was born there.
Mr Behera said the Kapileswar inscription had already been declared as bogus. “Eminent epigraphist D.C. Sircar, at the 1980 Indian History Congress in Mumbai, had described the Kapileswar inscription as a forged document,” he added. “Historical claims must be backed by evidence . But what some people are doing is far from the truth. There has been no serious research to disprove that the Buddha was born in Lumbini,” he said.
“Buddhist literature is silent about the Buddha being born anywhere in the Kalinga region, let alone Kapileswar village. The works of almost all noted scholars on Ashoka do not mention the Kapileswar inscription as believable evidence to change history,” he said. [New debate on birthplace of Buddha]
The Govt. of India did not have the habit of issuing birth certificates to people born before 1970, so this might be a bit hard to prove. One issue where we would like to challenge Mr. Behera is regarding Buddha’s visit to Orissa. When Huen Tsang visited India in 6th century A.D. he saw some stupas which mentioned Buddha’s visit to Kalinga. Those stupas were discovered last month in an excavation. We hope Mr. Behara is not andha to this fact.