Greater India

Indian Cultural Sphere
Greater India
Indian cultural zone.svg
Indian cultural extent
Dark orange: The Indian subcontinent (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka)
Light orange: Southeast Asia culturally linked to India, notably Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia (except Western New Guinea), Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Singapore, Southern Vietnam (Champa), and Thailand
Yellow: Regions with significant Indian cultural influence, notably the Philippines, Tibet, Yunnan, and historically eastern Afghanistan[1][2]
Southeast Asia
Indianized KingdomsAngkor, Borobodur, Butuan, Cebu, Champa, Chenla, Devaraja, Dvaravati, Funan, Gangga Negara, Harihara, Kalingga, Kutai, Langkasuka, Majapahit, Pagan, Pan Pan, Singhasari, Srivijaya, Tarumanagara
BuddhismCambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand
HinduismCambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand
South Asia
BuddhismAfghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tibet
HinduismBangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
East Asia
Buddhism transmitted to East AsiaChina, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam
Central Asia
Buddhist monasticismCentral Asia, Uzbekistan
Hindu monasticismRussia[3][4]
Indosphere  · Hindu texts  · Buddhist texts  · Folklore of India  · Ramayana (Versions of Ramayana)

Greater India, or the Indian cultural sphere, is an area composed of many countries and regions in South and Southeast Asia that were historically influenced by Indian culture, which itself formed from the various distinct indigenous cultures of these regions. Specifically Southeast Asian influence on early India had lasting impacts on the formation of Hinduism and Indian mythology. Hinduism itself formed from various distinct folk religions, which merged during the Vedic period and following periods.[5] The term Greater India as a reference to the Indian cultural sphere was popularised by a network of Bengali scholars in the 1920s. It is an umbrella term encompassing the Indian subcontinent, and surrounding countries which are culturally linked through a diverse cultural cline. These countries have been transformed to varying degrees by the acceptance and induction of cultural and institutional elements from each other. Since around 500 BCE, Asia's expanding land and maritime trade had resulted in prolonged socio-economic and cultural stimulation and diffusion of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs into the region's cosmology, in particular in Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka.[6] In Central Asia, transmission of ideas were predominantly of a religious nature. The spread of Islam significantly altered the course of the history of Greater India.[7]

By the early centuries of the common era, most of the principalities of Southeast Asia had effectively absorbed defining aspects of Hindu culture, religion and administration. The notion of divine god-kingship was introduced by the concept of Harihara, Sanskrit and other Indian epigraphic systems were declared official, like those of the south Indian Pallava dynasty and Chalukya dynasty.[8][9] These Indianized Kingdoms, a term coined by George Cœdès in his work Histoire ancienne des états hindouisés d'Extrême-Orient,[10] were characterized by surprising resilience, political integrity and administrative stability.[11]

To the north, Indian religious ideas were assimilated into the cosmology of Himalayan peoples, most profoundly in Tibet and Bhutan and merged with indigenous traditions. Buddhist monasticism extended into Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and other parts of Central Asia, and Buddhist texts and ideas were readily accepted in China and Japan in the east.[12] To the west, Indian culture converged with Greater Persia via the Hindukush and the Pamir Mountains.[13]

  1. ^ Mehta, Jaswant Lal (1979). Advanced Study in the History of Medieval India. Vol. I (1st ed.). Sterling Publishers. p. 31. OCLC 557595150. Modern Afghanistan was part of ancient India; the Afghans belonged to the pale of Indo-Aryan civilisation. In the eighty century, the country was known by two regional names—Kabul land Zabul. The northern part, called Kabul (or Kabulistan) was governed by a Buddhist dynasty. Its capital and the river on the banks of which it was situated, also bore the same name. Lalliya, a Brahmin minister of the last Buddhist ruler Lagaturman, deposed his master and laid the foundation of the Hindushahi dynasty in c. 865.
  2. ^ Chandra, Satish (2006). Medieval India: From Sultanat to the Mughals. Har-Anand Publications. p. 41. ISBN 9788124110669. Although Afghanistan was considered an integral part of India in antiquity, and was often called "Little India" even in medieval times, politically it had not been a part of India after the downfall of the Kushan empire, followed by the defeat of the Hindu Shahis by Mahmud Ghazni.
  3. ^ "Astrakhan's India Connection". 16 March 2020.
  4. ^ "Fascinating Accounts of Indians in Russia Dating Back to the 17th Century".
  5. ^ Lévi, Sylvain; Przyluski, Jean; Bloch, Jules (1993). Pre-Aryan and Pre-Dravidian in India. Asian Educational Services. ISBN 978-81-206-0772-9.
  6. ^ Kenneth R. Hal (1985). Maritime Trade and State Development in Early Southeast Asia. University of Hawaii Press. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-8248-0843-3.
  7. ^ Fussman, Gérard (2008–2009). "History of India and Greater India". La Lettre du Collège de France (4): 24–25. doi:10.4000/lettre-cdf.756. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  8. ^ Lavy, Paul (2003), "As in Heaven, So on Earth: The Politics of Visnu Siva and Harihara Images in Preangkorian Khmer Civilisation", Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 34 (1): 21–39, doi:10.1017/S002246340300002X, S2CID 154819912, retrieved 23 December 2015
  9. ^ Cite error: The named reference Stark1999 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  10. ^ Coedès (1968), pp. 14–.
  11. ^ Manguin, Pierre-Yves (2002), "From Funan to Sriwijaya: Cultural continuities and discontinuities in the Early Historical maritime states of Southeast Asia", 25 tahun kerjasama Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi dan Ecole française d'Extrême-Orient, Jakarta: Pusat Penelitian Arkeologi / EFEO, pp. 59–82
  12. ^ "Buddhism in China: A Historical Overview" (PDF). The Saylor Foundation 1. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  13. ^ Zhu, Qingzhi (March 1995). "Some Linguistic Evidence for Early Cultural Exchange between China and India" (PDF). Sino-Platonic Papers. University of Pennsylvania. 66. everyone knows well the so-called "Buddhist conquest of China" or "Indianized China"

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