Overview for Vaishali and the Indianization of Arakan
Arakan, the deprived cousin of Myanmar (Burma), has long been neglected. Its antique works of art vandalized or incompetently renovated by the present Buddhist clergy. During the early yeas of the Christian era, despite rumours of demonic cannibals, its fertile plains attracted Hindu colonists. Their nobility founded dynasties. At the inauguration of the metropolis of the Chandra maharaja(s), its inhabitants derided the grandeur of Amaravati, the celestial city of Swargar, Indra's paradise, claiming their capital was more superior. It was a confident kingdom in which Brahmanism, Mahayana Buddhism and local cults flourished. The court language was Sanskrit, and the ceremonial life within the palace emulated that of the subcontinent. Vaishali, the capital and emporium of Argyre ("Silver Land") attracted merchants from neighbouring kingdoms who came for the dazzling bullion shipped all the way from Nanzhao (Yunnan). In its glory days, Vaishali contained hundreds of Buddhist stupas, Hindu temples, and communities of craftsmen. Today, evidence of the Brahmanic presence has been almost eradicated by the present Rakhaing people, determined to present a land 'untainted' by any other religion except Theravada Buddhism - when in fact that is far from the case. The work, with its no holds bared approach, investigates the achievements of a little known Indianized kingdom on the periphery of its gaint neighbour.