Sadder still of course is when we hear as we did recently that in the course of war, the tomb of the prophet Jonah in the ruins of Nineveh in Iraq were blown up as part of the extreme fundamentalist ISIS group's attempts at eradicating all nuances of idolatry, no matter that the Prophet Jonah was revered by adherents of all three Abrahamic faiths- Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Adherents of these faiths number a quarter of the world's population and they have lost an iconic symbol which has survived two millennia and more, only to be destroyed in the hands of a more " civilized" and more intolerant humanity of the 21st century.
Readers will remember the story of the wanton destruction of the 6th century Bamian Buddhas in Afghanistan during the Taliban rule in 2001. That was another painful chapter in mankind's history. To think that these statues survived centuries of invasion and raids by conquerors and chieftains, not quite known for their appreciation of the arts or even tolerance of symbols that epitomized what to them was the evidence of a pagan faith, only to perish in the first decade of the 21st century is sad indeed.
Each such act of destruction- whether it be the destruction of a masjid or a mausoleum shrine or a religious icon, particularly when they happen in the here and now when we consider ourselves civilized and generally more progressive is a pain to live through. We consider it shameful that so many temples were destroyed by medieval conquerors in the middle ages in the name of religion. In what ways are we really different, one may well ask.
UNESCO has the practice of inspecting and pronouncing many monuments and marvels as "World Heritage Sights" and India has many of them. While it is a good thing to identify and recognize them, it is shameful that war and destruction are still so prevalent that many of these sights might not survive the century.
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