Buddha-Rajaon Ka Raja(titled as Buddha – The King of Kings) is a Historical drama on Zee TV and Doordarshan, produced by B. K. Modi, under the banner Spice Global. The show airs from 8 September 2013 on Sunday at 11:00 am on Zee TV and Doordarshan. The programme stars Kabir Bedi in a cameo role as Asita Muni, the sage who announces the coming of Lord Gautam Buddha.The story of the serial is based on the life of Lord Buddha that shows how a prince,Siddhartha became a Buddha. The role of Mayadevi was earlier scheduled to be played by Samiksha Singh,was replaced with Deepika Upadhyay. Himanshu Soni is playing the lead role of Buddha, while 2010 Miss India top ten finalist, Kajal Jain is playing role of Buddha’s wife Yasodharā Earlier, Ashutosh Gowariker wanted to collaborate with Shekhar Kapur for a television series on Buddha.
On the very first day of the series launch, the cable operators of Nepal banned the series to be telecasted all over Nepal as the series previously announced that lord Buddha was born in India. Later the team behind the series corrected their mistake. It prioritizes on the saying that “Buddha was born in Nepal not in India.” Siddhartha Gautam received enlightenment and then came to be known as Buddha. ‘Buddha’ was blocked by cable operators across Nepal for fears of hurting sentiments of millions of viewers in the Himalayan nation. The channel mentioned on its website that “he is counted amongst the most important personalities to have been born in the recorded history of India”.
The website’s claim and Bedi remarks were enough to start a storm on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter where Nepalis blamed both for the irresponsible claim. Soon online petitions were being signed on sites like ipetitions.com and change.org to put an end to the false assertion. The efforts had the desired outcome. Zee TV replaced the word India with Nepal on its website promoting the mega serial and Bedi too realized his mistake and apologized, “Yes, my friends, I mis-spoke. Forgive me. Lord Buddha was certainly born in Lumbini, Nepal. My apologies to all whose feelings were hurt,” the actor tweeted on Saturday. Although the Buddha’s birthplace remains disputed to some degree, that whether he was born in Lumbini, present-day Nepal. Three years ago noted Indian-American journalist Fareed Zakaria raised a storm by mentioning in his book ‘The Post American World’ that Buddha was born in India.
The Indian government doesn’t make any claim on Buddha’s birth in India. But few history textbooks in India making such assertion on several occasions has led many in Nepal to believe that there could be an Indian design to usurp Buddha’s legacy from its smaller neighbor. Once Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit stated “India has been fortunate that he (Buddha) was born here,” Press Trust of India quoted her as stating while addressing the First Founding Members Conclave of International Buddhist Confederation in New Delhi. Such information keep getting perpetrated despite UNESCO clearly stating “Lord Buddha was born in 623 BC in the sacred area of Lumbini located in the Terai plains of southern Nepal.”
Now in attempt to establish Nepal as birthplace, Nepal’s central bank, Nepal Rastra Bank brought a new 100 rupee note in September 2013,with a picture of the Ashoka Pillar in Lumbini and a message that Buddha was born there. That should help clear most doubts. For others like Zee TV, Bedi, Zakaria, Dikshit and all those who still believe Buddha was born in India this quote by Buddha should suffice. “The greatest impurity is ignorance. Free yourself from it. Be pure.” The new note would be accessible only during the Dashain, Nepal’s major fiesta in October, 2013. After this, Cable operators in Nepal have sought content-related clarification from India’s Zee TV before airing episodes of ‘Buddha’.