|发表于: 06-12-13 星期五 8:28 am 发表主题:
|In Bujang valley, activist fears ancient temples doomed, says more secretly destroyed
BY LOOI SUE-CHERN
DECEMBER 03, 2013
A number of undocumented temple ruins in the Bujang Valley, the site of more than fifty ancient tomb temples dating back to 8th century, have been destroyed over the years, reveals an activist.
Datuk V. Nadarajan, who heads a non-governmental organisation calling itself Bujang Valley Study Circle, said some temple ruins there had been demolished in recent years without public knowledge.
"There were several that were never reconstructed or excavated but they were already destroyed and paved over in the Sungai Batu area near Candi (tomb temple) number 11.
"I learned this from residents around the area. They said the developers dug out the ruins, cleared the land and got rid of the debris," Nadarajan told The Malaysian Insider who visited the site yesterday.
The revelation comes amid a public outcry over the recent destruction of Candi Number 11 at the historic site near Merbok, Kedah.
Nadarajan, a former Sungai Petani municipal councillor, considers himself an amateur archaeologist, and has been researching the valley, its temple ruins and archaeological findings.
.Last week, he discovered the demolition of Candi number 11, which measured 250ft long and 150ft wide. This tomb was first discovered by British explorers in the 1920s, and was reconstructed in 1974 by the Museum Department.
While he could not give exact figures for the ruins affected by the development activities, Nadarajan said many were undocumented and ungazetted as historical sites, adding it was possible that the local authorities themselves had no idea that the ruins were there.
Nadarajan called for stern action from the authorities, failing which, he warned that developers will make it a norm to erase the country's ancient heritage.
"I hope with this incident, more efforts will be made to document the archaeological sites in this valley. The government should treat this place as a rich historical site and do all that is possible to document all of the remaining sites here and protect it from harm.
"In a recent study by Universiti Sains Malaysia, it was revealed that there are 127 archaeological sites in Kedah and about 90 candis in Bujang Valley," he said.
Nadarajan said the state government must instruct the developer to restore the structure exactly where it was.
The state government has already issued a stop-work order on the site.Nadarajan also agreed the state should compensate the developer for the land.
Sungai Petani municipal councillor A. Arumugam claimed the approval for a residential project on the land was granted two years ago when the state was under the PAS administration.
The land is covered with oil palm trees, and the candi was hidden in it, something known only to the local community, he said.
"The land owner kept the trees in tact when it demolished the ancient structure in September. After it was all done, the trees were cut down. Only then, locals staying nearby realised that the candi was gone," Arumugam told The Malaysian Insider, adding that state assemblyman for Tanjung Dawai, Datuk Tajul Urus Mat Zain, was informed of the matter.
"Unfortunately, the candi is already gone," he said, condemning the developer for disregarding the historical value of the structure.
Arumugam said the developer should have been more sensitive and responsible, and could have accommodated the structure by building its project around it.
"A rich landowner near here bought a land with a small temple ruin. He built his mansion there, left the ruins untouched and even built a fence to protect it," he said.
News of the destruction also attracted politicians from the local MIC divisions, as well as from Indian-based party Makkal Sakti, who visited the site to see the extent of the damage.
Makkal Sakti president Datuk R. S. Thanenthirran expressed his outrage when he saw the pile of debris from the demolition.
"The ruins belong to the international community as a piece of history left behind by the ancient Hindu civilisation. It has to be rebuilt and the area must be gazetted as a historical site," he said.
He urged the police to seal off the area to prevent any further damage to the site.
Meanwhile, archaeologist Professor Datuk Mokhtar Saidin said it was possible to reconstruct the demolished structure based on its foundation.
Mokhtar, who heads Universiti Sains Malaysia's Centre for Global Archaeological Research, said he will be meeting state officials to discuss and suggest other sites in Lembah Bujang for heritage conservation and tourism.
Checks with the Lembah Bujang Archaeological Museum revealed that the site came under the purview of the National Heritage Department.
The Malaysian Insider could not reach the department's commissioner Professor Emeritus Datin Paduka Siti Zuraina Abdul Majid, as she was abroad.
A staff of the department however explained that the ruins used to be under the museum's purview until less than 10 years ago when the department, which has an office in Alor Setar, took over.
"Its staff hardly come to see the sites here," he added.