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A History of South-East Asia by D G E Hall (auth.)

By D G E Hall (auth.)

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Were there any evidence to prove that his conquests caused an emigration of Indians overseas, there would be no difficulty on the score of the time factor. But there is none whatever. Others again have assumed an exodus of Indians in consequence of the campaigns of Samudragupta, which, though unlikely, falls in the period of earliest Indian influence in South-East Asia. In Les Etats hindouises Credes has formulated an ingenious hypothesis to explain what he thinks took place. 2 The spread of Indian culture, he believes, came as a result of an intensification of Indian trade with South-East Asia early in the Christian era.

Moreover, in coming to terms with the indigenous cultures the imported religions were forced to change their character to a marked degree. And in the case of the Theravada countries the propagation of the faith was carried out by South-East Asians, notably Mon monks, who went to Ceylon to study, to collect canonical texts, and to receive orthodox ordination. In the absence of historical documents showing from what parts of India the cultural influences flowed into South-East Asia, the evidence has to be sought for in much the same way as in the case of the origin and date of the movement itself.

I THE PEOPLING OF SOUTH-EAST ASIA 7 purest form on the Malay Peninsula and in middle and south Sumatra, this has been taken to have been the route by whi~h it reached lndone~ia. Discussion has centred round the possible relationship between the shouldered axe and the rectangular axe, and the connection of both with the spread of the Austro-Asiatic languages. Von Heine-Geldern identifies the shouldered axe with the culture of the Mon-Khmer peoples of the mainland, and thinks that the neolithic peoples who brought the rectangular axe culture spread also the Austronesian languages.

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