Showing posts with label greater india. Show all posts
Showing posts with label greater india. Show all posts

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Greater India


India quickly forgot that her culture had spread over vast domains to the east and Southeast Asia, but while Indian scholars learn the history, they call with pride “Greater India”. Before the Indian scholars European scholars called “Farther India”. Ancient name of the mainland Southeast Asia is “Suvarnabhumi” “land of gold” and “Suvarnadwipa” the island nations. The geography of “Further India” consists of Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Yunnan and islands of Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines. Kautilya’s Arthashastra talks about this land extensively. The Ramayan, which mentions Java and perhaps Sumatra. A good number of Jataka stories inform maritime adventures from India.
Kshatriyas and Brahmins are frequently mentioned in the epigraphic inscriptions. It is the Kshatriyas who migrated first; followed by priests, traders, artists, sculptors, scientists, astronomers. From waves of migration was born a series of Kingdoms and colonies, in the beginning were true Indian states. In due course of time, through reaction with the indigenous substratum each of these states developed according their own genius, although the family resemblance never lost that they owed to their common origin, that is India. It was neither influence nor exporting Indian religion, it was large-scale export of a civilization in all its forms, a comprehensive mass transfer of Indian culture, religion, art, music, technology, astronomy, mythology, language, and literature. Fairly can be said Indianisation of Southeast Asia. However “Farther India” was not politically dependant on India proper.
The earliest migration took place by land, from Manipur, from northern India enroute Manipur. Overwhelming number of Sanskrit inscriptions and royal tradition and traditional genealogies of royal families testify their origin of Gangetic region. Voyages from Kalinga (Orissa), Andhra are significant. Cholas of Tamil state made their voyages in 10th to 12th century AD. So far a Tamil inscription in Sumatra and two on the Malay Peninsula; none of them dates back to the beginning of Indianisation. No vernacular documents yet discovered except Sanskrit. Most ancient Sanskrit inscriptions of “Farther India” are not much later than the first Sanskrit inscriptions of India itself, testifies antiquity of Indian penetration.
Most of the kingdoms founded in Farther India are the Vaishnavite and Shaivite conception of royalty; the cults in their old form flourished all across their kingdoms; building temples and monuments; writing Sanskrit inscriptions in temples. In later period Buddhism also been exported in its various form. Ankor wat of Cambodia, Prambanan temple and Borbodur are the true master pieces built. Temples of Bagan also need to be reckoned.
Such was the force of the penetration of Indian culture and civilization that its legacy still persist, this legacy includes; Sanskrit element in the vocabulary of the local languages; the Indian origin alphabets still being used; the persistence of certain Brahmanic traditions even after their conversion to Buddhism and Islam; the lunar-solar calendar, certain artistic formulas, adoption of Dharmashastra and Manu-Samhita in their administrative and legal framework. The literary heritage is even more apparent than the religious heritage, the Harivamsa, the Ramayan, the Mahabharat, and the Puranas are the principal sources of inspiration for local literature. The theatrical performances: the position and the movements of their arms and legs and the gestures of the hands constitute a silent language capable of suggesting a subject, evoking and action, or expressing a sentiment, exactly as in Indian choreography. The Buddhist folklore of the Jatakas also makes up the substance of classical theater, of the dance, and of the shadow-plays and Puppet Theater. Ramayan is still remain favorite theatrical play.
Before the arrival of Indian; local population remained in tribal organization; most likely lived in a state of Neolithic age. Finally, enabling the natives to communicate and deal with outside world; enriching intellectual patrimony of humanity. The methods of Indian penetration was not by conquest rather always to have been peaceful, the native peoples of Southeast Asia found in Indian society, transplanted and modified a framework within which their own society could be integrated preserving the essential of their individual cultures. Further India was theatre of revolutionary changes; without India its past would be almost unknown. New Guinea and Australia are not part of history where Indian culture and civilization could not reach.
From fourteenth century Hinduism began to disappear; could not survive except on the island of Bali and among some Cham groups, but not without leaving traces. In Phenom Penh and Bangkok, Brahmans of very mixed blood, Brahmans who follow Buddhism, officiate at all the great ceremonies, similar practices are also seen in Burma. Kshatriyas lost their separate identity probably during this same period; they might have lost racial purity long ago; now they have become ingredient of today’s Southeast Asian.
Chinese annexation of upper Vietnam brought them under oriental influence. Oriental influences were farther deepening by migration of various Tai-Shan tribes of Mongoloid stock from the north.
According to G. Coedes; from earliest times, the population of “Further India” was composed of very diverse racial elements, some of which related to the Negritos, Papuan-Melanesians, others to the Australoids. This fact leads to a clear conclusion: that the earliest inhabitants of Farther India are related to those who inhabit the islands of the pacific today. Aryan element is certainly there but not as apparent as Mongoloid element which is still increasing.
The sources used by G. Coedes are: epigraphy and relatively unadvanced state of Southeast Asian studies. The documents on which the history of Indianised states of Southeast Asia is founded-inscriptions, local chronicles, foreign accounts (Indian, Chinese, Arab, European). However, the work is far from complete, and each year new inscriptions are dug up from the soil of Indianised states.
Some important Sanskrit name of states, cities, places, rivers and mountains of “Farther India”: Bishnupur, Amarapur, Mandala (Mandalay), Arimardanapur (Pagan), Sri-ksetra, Binaka, Sankissapur (Tagaung), Airavat (Irrawadi), Dhannyavati, Vaishali, Ramannadesh, Vyadhapur, Ma Ganga (Mekong), Champa, Chelna, Indrapur, Gandhar, Dvaravati, Ayodhya (Ayuthaya), Shyam, Videharajya, Kausambi, Hariharalaya, Ratnagiri, Mahendraparvat, Lavpuri, Haribhunjaya, Bali, Yavadwipa, Sumatra, Singhapur.
Key notes:
“The route by which Kshatriya princes arrived is indicated in the traditions as being through Manipur,”
“Indian princes spoke Sanskrit may be most reasonably assumed,”
- A. Phayre, Historry of Burma.
"There can be no reasonable doubt that a great Aryan wave of very pure blood passed through Manipur into Burma in pre-historic time"
- Captain E. W. Dun, Gazetteer of Manipur.
“From the Brahmaputra and Manipur to the Tonkin gulf (Vietnam), we can trace a continuous string of petty states ruled by those scions of the Kshatriya race(Aryan), using the Sanskrit or Pali language in official documents and inscriptions, buildings, temples and monuments of old Hindu style and employing Brahmin priests at the propitiatory ceremonies connected with the court, and the state".
- G. E.Gerini, Researches on Ptolemy's Geography of Eastern Asia.