'I Feel A Great, Personal Loss'

Tuesday, Mar. 6, 2001 | Conservationist Rakhaldas Sengupta devoted nearly nine years of his life to restoring the two gigantic, rock-hewn Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan. As director of conservation with the Archaeological Survey of India, he led an Indian effort in the 1970s to conserve the Buddhas, the world's tallest, standing 53 m and 35 m high. Sengupta spoke to TIME South Asia contributor Maseeh Rahman following last week's destruction order issued by Taleban Supreme Leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar. Edited excerpts:

How important are the Bamiyan...

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