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Rebel without a cause!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Ancient India and World

I have often wondered why in Indian history there haven't been more of world travellers. Almost every old civilization boasts of interpid travelers and explorers who left the safety of their own place and went out to see other cultures. Be it Huen Tsang for China, Marco Polo for the West. But there are no major explorer from India to have gone out to visit China or the West.

There could be many reasons for this. One, there might have been explorers but Indians generally didnt seem to have good record keeping habits and hence either they didnt keep records or they were lost. Another might be that the general population living at that time were not interested in learning about other cultures and hence such explorers became obscure. A pointer to this attitude is Alberruni's quote "The Hindus be- lieve that there is no country like theirs, no nation like theirs, no kings like theirs, no religion like theirs, no science like theirs".

But then I might be biased, I still think that India in a small geographical area offers so much of cultural diversity that someone of that time will not think of going out to explore the world when their is so much different things going on just some 500 miles away from where he stays.

But then this cultural diversity might actually be the result of the Indian tendency to be self-absorbed. People in a area are so absorbed in their own culture that they do not observe the customs of their neighbours and hence lot of cultural variations occur. It is not a very strong theory to explain such a wide cultural diversity but seems to be a start.

The truth might lie somewhere in the middle as it does most of the times.

1 comment:

Anshuman Ghosh said...