I was deeply saddened by the news of the destruction of Mahendra Sanskrit University in Beljhundi by Maoist rebels. There is no justification for this barbaric act. An entire library of rare Sanskrit books and handwritten manuscripts, including the extremely valuable Kalachakra Ambika, have been burned to ashes. This is not just a loss for Nepal but the worldwide Hindu community. These books and manuscripts can never be replaced: they are gone forever. The rebels have only proved that they are equal to or worse than the Taleban. There is no justification for what they have done. They gain no sympathy from us for whatever agenda or cause they might have had.
Books contain a nation's collective wealth, knowledge and wisdom. They are important, because the future generations can learn from them. The famous library of Alexandria in Egypt in the 4th century CE was torched by invading Romans. Similarly Muslims, who invaded India in the medieval period (10th-12th centuries CE), destroyed many of the rare handwritten manuscripts from Buddhist monasteries in Bihar and Bengal. Much of ancient knowledge and wisdom have thus been lost in wars and by the ravages of time. Yet, we continue to repeat history by doing the same things we abhor.
What is even more disturbing is the fact that the Maoists who destroyed the Sanskrit University are said to be students themselves. Why claim to be students if they have no respect for knowledge? The Mahendra Sanskrit University was totally dedicated to preserving an endangered Vedic culture. The printed books and handwritten manuscripts contained in the library, were a part of Nepal's cultural heritage.
The People's Republic of China, which rejected its rich cultural past during the height of the Cultural Revolution under Mao in the 1960s has admitted it was a mistake. Our own Maoists are repeating that mistake. They are destroying the nation's wealth and human lives with blind ignorance, hatred and jealousy.
Dr Deepak Shimkhada Claremont, California