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'Akhand Bharat' Mural in New Parliament Building Draws Protests From Nepal

Photos of the disputed mural went viral on social media earlier this week.

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A mural placed in India's newly inaugurated Parliament building is ruffling feathers in Nepal.

Tell me more: Parts of Nepal and other neighbouring countries such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have been depicted in the mural, acccording to a report by Hindustan Times.

  • Nepalese politicians reportedly want the installation to be removed.

  • The issue was raised in a recent parliamentary party meeting.

Why it matters: The controversy assumes significance in light of the fact that Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal or 'Prachanda' is on a four-day visit to India and is scheduled to meet PM Modi.

The big picture: The artwork is meant to showcase the influence of ancient Indian thought across southeastern Asia, National Gallery of Modern Art director general Adwaita Gadanayak reportedly said.

  • Gadanayak was reportedly involved in picking all that's on display at the new Parliament.

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Flip side: Photos of the disputed mural went viral on social media earlier this week, with some proclaiming that it depicted ‘Akhand Bharat’ or unified India.

  • Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi on 28 May, tweeted photos of the mural with the caption, "The resolve is clear – Akhand Bharat."

  • "It [the mural] represents our Powerful & Self Reliant India," BJP MP Manoj Kotak wrote in a tweet.

Bone of contention: “If a country like India that sees itself as an ancient and strong country and as a model of democracy puts Nepali territories in its map and hangs the map in Parliament, it cannot be called fair,” Nepal's former PM KP Sharma Oli was quoted as saying in The Kathmandu Post.

  • "The prime minister is going to India tomorrow. He should ask them to remove the mural. [Dahal has] to talk to the Indian government to correct that mistake. There is no point in visiting India if you can’t do that," he had further said.

Meanwhile, the mural isn't the only inanimate object in the new Parliament to stir up a row. In the lead up to the grand inauguration, the BJP and Congress traded barbs over the 'Sengol' or sceptre that's been installed in the Lok Sabha.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Nepal   Indo-Nepal Ties   Indo-Nepal 

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