Dr. Rita Sil, the editor, has studied in Calcutta, France and United States. She obtained her doctoral degree from Sorbonne on Tagore Educateur under Late Prof. Louis Renou of the French Institute. Her second thesis from Institut du developpment Social et Economique Paris on Nutritional Problems in Lebanon with reference to the welfare of the Child and Youth was published by UNICEF and IEDFS. She persued post doctoral research in education at Hayward University. Besides she has diplomas in French contemporary literature, teaching of French language, literature, civilization and History of Fine Arts. She has specialized in teaching of French civilization. She is currently persuing her research in Napoleon and India, and In&logical studies with Prof. Gorinath Shastri, Ex. Vice-Chancellor of Sanskrit University, Varanasi.
This volume published under the auspices of the Centre of French Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, comprises critical essays on German, French, Russian, Spanish, English, Arabic, Japanese, Indonesian, Persian, African Et Latin American writers whose impressions of India are recorded in their creative writings. Some of the well known authors discussed here are Romain Rolland, E.M. Forster, Aldous Huxley, Herman Hesse, Yukio Mishim. Multifacetted, India's fantastic and contradictory images have been a source of wonder which exerted secret attraction on writers, poets and travellers from early times in almost all the countries of the world in search of the secret wisdom of the East. The rediscovery of India made by different nations at different periods of their history reveal the. importance and the extent of its influence which was no doubt necessary for correcting and complementing the wisdom of the West. This volume gives us an insight into some aspects of the question.
It also highlights the world's reaction to India. It is hoped that this modest attempt in assessing the cultural interaction between India and the rest of the world will stimulate the interest of scholars in their research in this field.
"IMAGES OF INDIA IN WORLD LITERATURE" edited by Dr. Rita Sil is a projection of the multi-faceted • dynamic image of India in the quest of the eternal truth of man. Indian culture is not founded on the spirit of a recluse, living far away from the common man and totally unconcerned about his life. Renunciation, truly understood, does not mean a denial of the empirical order, but is a means to the develop-ment of the spirit for a better life of man on earth, evolving towards higher forms of consciousness. This is the real concept of Indian culture differently inter-preted and so often misunderstood. The essays included in this volume, though varied in their contents and forms, ampyl bring out this fact about Indian culture.
The study of India was confined for centuries to that of Ancient India and was regarded as a hyper specialist occupation persued by savants and Indologists. It is only recently that studies on modern India have been undertaken by writers and scholars of different countries in the world. India came to be know to the world through the discovery of Sanskrit language and literature dating back as early as the 6th Century from the time of Hsuan Tsang (602-664) and Abu Raihan-al-Biruni (973-1048). With the romantic movement in the nineteenth Century the flood gate of the treasure house of ancient India was suddenly thrown open to the world and it became a source of inspiration for the romantic poets. Great German writers like Goethe, Schlegel, Schiller and others as well as the French romantic poets like Victor Hugo, Lamartine, Vigny, the Parnasian poets like Leconte de Lisle, the symbolist poets like Mallarme and others were influenced by Indian thought. It is only in the end of the nineteenth Century that modem India and Indian languages came to be noticed by western scholars.
This volume contains valuable contributions from Indian scholars of repute and gives us valuable insight into the reaction of writers in literature such as French, German, Russian, English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Arabic, Persian, African, Latin-American, etc. The book is also an attempt to bring into focus the various interactions between Eastern and Western cultures of India and highlights the uniqueness of Indian civilization and her contribution to humanity. There are many ways of treating a subject like this and each would be valid in so far as it would bring out the different cultural processes of exchange and interaction between different countries and civilizations. No doubt it would be interesting to find out the hidden source of information, inspiration and prejudices of different socio-cultural milieu which have conditioned the reaction of the foreign writers in their assessment of India. The interaction between different cultures is studied in their historical perspective highlighting a few salient factors that have influenced the different dialogues of culture between India and the rest of the world. Cultural affinity has been sometimes due to geographical closeness and common identical vicissitudes like the colonial past and has created bonds of sympathy between Asian nations and India in spite of many divergences. There are, however, a few significant factors that have been instrumental in propagating Indian culture in foreign literatures : the spread of Buddhism, the impact of Hinduism and the development of Indology both in the East and the West. First, the spread of Buddhism in the early centuries in China and Japan left a deep imprint in the minds of the people in those countries. The translation of Sanskrit literature and Indian philosophical works like the Vedas, the Upnishads, the Gita, etc., introduced innumerable concepts and terminology like "Maya", "Sansara", etc., in the foreign literatures both in the East and West. Indian logic and new literary styles were also introduced into the Chinese language. The impact of Indian culture is strongly felt in regions of South-East Asia. About 80 % of the vocabulary of Paliava (Brahmi) script in Indonesian came from Sanskrit.
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