Subjects

Prehistoric, Mythological and Legendary Links : Sri Lanka - India

Achal Malhotra, B R Pub, 2006, viii, 128 p, ills, ISBN : 8176465771, $65.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

Prehistoric, Mythological and Legendary Links : Sri Lanka - India/Achal Malhotr

Contents: Introduction. 1. The prehistoric mythological - Ramayan links. 2. The Sinhala race: Indo-Aryan origins. 3. The Veddas, Kuveni and Indian connection? 4. Buddhism: the intricate link between India and Sri Lanka.

"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 6 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." (jacket)

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