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Prehistoric, Mythological and Legendary Links: Sri Lanka-India

Achal Malhotra (Author)
Synopsis The book is about the uninterrupted interaction and continuous flow of humans, ideas and influences between the two neighbors ensured by geographical proximity; the more recent chapters are well-known by virtue of being well documented in the annals of history; the author has therefore not touched them.  He has focused on the prehistoric and distant episodes which find reflection in great Indian epic, and most revered Buddhist chronicles of Sri Lanka namely the epic Ramayana and chronicles Mahavansa. Picking up his threads from epics, chronicles, legends and popular beliefs the author has weaved an enchanting sequence to demonstrate the spiritual unity between the people of two countries as it existed in ancient times. There is a graphic narration of Sri Lanka as Lanka of 1000 B.C. ruled by Ravan, the powerful king of Demons who was a staunch devotee of the Hindu God Shiva and of his destined confrontation with the Aryan Prince Ram, from the northern plains of India, who was an incarnation of another Hindu God Vishnu.  The author, deriving the source from Mahavansa, traces the origins of majority Sinhala race of Sri Lanka to the arrival in Sri Lanka of the indo-Aryans, led by Prince Vijay from the region across the Island which now constitutes Orissa and West Bengal in India.  There is an interesting episode based on legends which establishes a matrimonial alliance as early as 6th Century BC between an Indo-Aryan Prince and an indigenous tribal princes. The surviving Vedda Tribes of contemporary Sri Lanka are considered by some as descendants of the children born out of this legendary wedlock.  In the closing chapters, there are vivid descriptions of the Buddhist links between India, the birthplace of Buddhism, and Sri Lanka where over seventy percent of contemporary population follows Buddhism as religion, philosophy or way of life.  The narrations in this coffee Table book are supported by colourful visuals of peoples, places and events; these visuals include photos, painstakingly clicked by the author as an amateur photographer.  The author conceived the idea of producing this coffee-table format book while he was posted in Sri Lanka as Assistant High Commissioner for India in Kandy from 2000 to 2004. He subscribes to that school of thought amongst the geologists, who believe that, at some distant point of time, India and Sri Lanka were part of the same land mass and only as a result of the subsequent continental drift the two were separated but yet by only a narrow strip of water called Palk Strait.
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About the author

Achal Malhotra

Achal Malhotra is a serving officer of the Indian Foreign Service. He had the privilege of being born in independent India, just few years later than 15th August 1947, the glorious day in the history of India. He thus grew up more or less as the nation grew, listening in the meanwhile to numerous tales of trauma which his grandparents and grand uncles and aunts went through due to the partition of India, witnessing the downwards and upward swings in the political, socio-economic economic fortunes of the country. Though born and brought up in the cosmopolitan city of New Delhi, he had several opportunities to taste the flairs of rural life thanks to his maternal grandparents who lived in a village (now a town) on the borders of India-Pakistan in Rajasthan. He did his schooling from Ramjas in science stream, realising in the process that Physics, Chemistry and maths were not his cups of tea. He therefore switched over to softer options and completed his Masters in Russian Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and topped it up several years later with a post Graduate Diploma in Tourism Administration, Justifying it on the grounds that life is a continuous learning experience and it is never too late. In pursuance of his job thus far the author has had several opportunities to live in and travel to various parts of the world. On many occasions he had the urge to pen down his accumulated experiences but sheer lethargy prevailed over his ambitions. It was finally during his tenure as Assistant High commissioner for India in Kandy, Sri Lanka that he made up his mind to share with others in a reader friendly format what he had discovered for himself: a sequence of uninterrupted flow of humans, ideas and influences between the two neighbouring countries as reflected in epics, legends, chronicles and popular beliefs. Hence "Pre-Historic, Mythological and Legendary links: India and Sri Lanka".

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Bibliographic information

Title Prehistoric, Mythological and Legendary Links: Sri Lanka-India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 10.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8176465771
length viii+128p.
Subjects History