SOCIONECONOPOLITICAL RELATIONS BETWEEN SOUTH INDIA AND CHINA, AD 502 1620 : WITH EMPHASIS ON THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY.
The content and methodology adopted for this volume is not the same as the earlier ones. It gives the local history of the various south Indian states based on the primary Chinese sources collected during the past several decades. A gist of the textual references in other Chinese works concerned with the southern part of India has also been provided. The influence of Buddhism which strengthened our linkage and also expanded Chinese sea-power have also been given in nutshell. In addition a short textual reference to south India in Chinese writings have been given in the Appendices which are five in number. The previous volumes of this series have received raving praises and are regarded as valuable sources for the scholars.
Dr. Ray was Sino-Tibetan Research Scholar in Chinese at Calcutta University during 1953-56. In 1959 he joined the Ministry of Defence as a Chinese language expert and held responsible posts. His service was transferred in 1975 to the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. After retiring from JNU in 1996, he was successively made Senior Fellow of the Society for India Ocean Studies and the Indian Council of Historical Research. Presently Senior Fellow at the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, Dr. Ray is now engaged in exploring data on South Asian Hisroty from Chinese sources covering the period from the earliest till late 19th Century.
One of the most important aspects of study in the Asiatic Society has been cultivation of knowledge into the source materials on Asiatic Civilizations. As part of this major objective and in keeping with this rich tradition of research, Professor Haraprasad Ray, a Senior Fellow of the Society, has dedicated himself to the noble task of unfolding a relatively less explored area. For the last few years he has been engaged in the study of Chinese Source of South Asian History in Translation. This is the fifth volume added in this valuable series, which has specially focused on the relation between South India and China—in the context of socio-economic and political scenario which existed between 502 and 1620 AD. The justification of the present volume is well explained by the author in his Introduction— "It must be admitted that while South-East Asian History has profited most through comprehensive use of Chinese sources, South Asian history has suffered due to insufficient use of Chinese material". This gap may be understood in the reason that not many scholars in this field were sufficiently trained in Chinese language. In other words, the advantage of Professor Ray, being conversant in Chinese language, could make it possible, among other things, to elicit the relevant data and to interpret the relational aspects, especially in the area of trade and diplomacy. According to him there are enormous data base in Chinese records in this special field. It needs to be specially mentioned that the rich annexure that he has added to the volume will be of immense value to the readers. I feel extremely happy that Professor Ray could carry out such a painstaking voluminous job of producing these important volumes braving the constraints of his physical uncomforts. I wish the academic world over will appreciate very much the relevance of such publications by the Asiatic Society and will also sympathize with Professor Ray so that he can complete the other title in this series at the earliest.
We have great pleasure in placing before the scholarly world the volume V of our project Chinese Sources of South Asian History in Translation : Data for Study of India-China Relations through History. Titled "Socio-Econo-Political Relations between South India and China, AD 502-1620 : With emphasis on the Fifteenth century AD", it is specially meant for the teachers and students of south Indian history who may find here some interesting facets in the long history of friendly relations between south India and China from ancient through medieval period. Care has been taken to collect data available mainly from the writings of Chinese historians and travellers who were keen observers of men and society. The content and methodology adopted for this volume is different from the earlier volumes in so far as it assays to unfold the local history of the various south Indian states based on the primary Chinese sources collected over the past several decades. The translation of the texts used are not given in this volume. For this the readers have to wait for publication of the subsequent volumes. However, a gist of the sources have been given in the Appendix - I. The work deviates from the histories of the region usually based on secondary sources where local sources in Chinese are unavailable due to language barrier. We have collected, collated and analysed the original primary data in Chinese and compared them with the existing historical treatises of the region in order to check their reliability and reformulate or revise the established facts. The four other essays in the appendices -are included in this volume in order to give detailed information on some of the connected subjects both at the macro and the micro levels. We are conscious of our shortcomings inherent in the treatment of historical material by a linguist who is not a historian by training. However, this inadequacy has freed us from the shackles of following any school or being subject to any hangover or prejudice. I cannot help expressing my gratitude to my south Indian friends in the preparation of this volume, the foremost among whom is Professor MGS NaraSTanan who along with his entire team of teachers and scholars of the department of History, Calicut University, helped me with material and advice since the year 1980 when I first visited south India in search of data and on-the-spot study. I have also profited from the suggestions of Professor J. Stephen of Visva - Bharati. I am grateful to all of them. Finally, I also extend my whole hearted thanks to Mr. Dilip Sen, Principal of Datacom Computer Education and his able assistant Ms. Nupur for their faultless typing which is very rare in Kolkata. However, the author owns the responsibility for mistakes that may have occurred in the book.
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