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The statue was taken to Mathura town and housed at the back of the Engineer’s Bungalow along with other bits and pieces.But as word of the beautiful statue spread it is said that British travellers and officials on their way by train to Delhi on government business or Agra to see the Taj Mahal stopped off at Mathura just to see it.
In 1949 the India Exhibition held in Rastrapati Bhawan (the president’s palace) in Delhi brought together some of the best and most iconic examples of Indian art, ancient, medieval and modern; Buddhist, Jain, Hindu and Islamic.
The Mathura Buddha was positioned as the centre of the whole exhibition.
In 1901 it was suggested that the cream of Indian sculpture, including the Mathura Buddha and Asoka’s Lion Capital from Sarnath, be shipped to Britain to grace the British Museum.
Lord Curzon, who happened to be the Viceroy at the time, strongly objected to this plan, saying that India’s treasures must remain in India and so the statue remained in the museum.
At the same time it looks over the shoulder of the most important man in the country, the president, as if whispering sage advice in his ear.
The Mathura Buddha is more than a work of art, it is also a powerful symbol of all that is best in Indian thought and culture.The whole statue is almost perfectly proportioned and the form remarkably realistic.The face in particular is as fine as anything produced by the Greeks or other masters.After consulting Rajendra Prasad, soon to become India’s first president and getting his agreement, Nehru decided that the Mathura Buddha should be placed behind the president’s throne and that is where it stands today.It’s serene and benign face gazes out at government officials when they assemble on formal occasions, as if to remind them of how they should carry out their duties.Other than the right hand and the feet, which are missing, the statue is undamaged.Its fine details are not worn by the elements so that the exquisite details are still sharp.” In a sense Buddhism was neutral in that the Buddhist population of the country was insignificantly small.For the same reasons Nehru rejected the call to put Gandhi’s spinning wheel on the national flag, because it was associated with one particular political party, the Congress, and selected instead the Asokan ) is taken from one of Asoka’s edicts.This emblem can be seen on the coins, currency notes, postage stamps, government documents and publications.Our National Emblem has been taken from the Ashoka’s Lion Pillar at Sarnath.