13 Jan '18, 3am

India's deep but forgotten roots in South-east Asia

Twenty years ago, when I moved from India to Singapore with my husband, I found myself marvelling at the many reminders of home after the initial strangeness of being in a foreign city settled down. These reminders reveal themselves like threads woven through the fabric of daily life - my neighbour lighting incense before an altar, the new year timed to the lunar calendar, even the concern for departed atmans (souls) as echoed in the observance of the Hungry Ghost Festival. To be sure, similar beliefs and practices can arise across cultures. But it was when I visited Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam that it became increasingly evident to me that there was a Greater India that most Indians were unaware of. The batik designs worn by stewardesses aboard Singapore Airlines bore an unmistakable Indian stamp. The Buddhist religion was, of course...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/indias-deep-but-forgo...

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