01/26/2009, 00.00
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Tensions rise between Nepal and India after Indian comedy implies Buddha was born in India

by Kalpit Parajuli
Demonstrations take place in the main cities of the mountain nation. ‘Chandni Chowk to China’, a movie that suggests that the Buddha was born in India, is the cause. Screening of the film in Nepal is banned. Nepali nationalists call on the government to defend national independence from Indian attacks.
Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Nepal’s capital and four other cities to protest against an Indian comedy titled ‘Chandni Chowk to China’ (poster pictured) because it implies that the Buddha was born in India.

Tradition has it that Siddhārtha Gautama was born in the small principality of Kapilvastu, now a south-western district in modern-day Nepal.

Having their country as the birthplace of the first Buddha is for Nepalis a source of national pride.

The suggestion made in the movie, the first Sino-Indian co-production, that Gautama was born in India has been received in Nepal as a national insult. For Nepali nationalists it is just another attack from India against their country’s identity and independence.

News about the birthplace slip reached Nepal after Nepalis living in Great Britain saw the movie and told family and friends back home.

Protests also reached the government, which banned the movie from the country’s theatres and sent a formal letter of protest to its counterpart in New Delhi.

Nepal’s foreign minister has demanded India correct the error and removed the offending scene.

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