1st Edition

Recentering Southeast Asia Politics, Religion and Maritime Connections

Edited By Himanshu Prabha Ray Copyright 2025
    230 Pages 35 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book assesses the impact of European colonization in the late 19th and early 20th century in ‘restructuring’ the shared past of India and Southeast Asia. It provides case studies that transcend colonial constructs and adopt newer approaches to understanding the shared past. The authors explore these developments through the lens of political figures like Jawaharlal Nehru (1889–1964) and re-examine themes such as the Greater India Society (1926–1959) established in Calcutta, and the role of Buddhism in post-World War II connections, as the repatriation of the mortal remains of Japanese soldiers killed in Burma (Myanmar) acquired urgency.


    Drawing on a diverse range of sources including archaeology, Buddhist texts, the afterlives of the Hindu temples, maritime networks, and inscriptions from Vietnam and central India, the book will be an essential read for scholars and researchers of history, Buddhism, archaeology, heritage studies, cultural studies, and political history as well as South and Southeast Asian history.


    1.     Introduction

    Himanshu Prabha Ray


    Section I: The Making of the Discourse:


    2.     Nehru’s Southeast Asia

    Madhavan K. Palat.

    3.     Greater India Scholars in a Decolonizing World: The Asian Relations Conference and the Indian Council of World Affairs

     T. C. A. Raghavan.

    1. Modern Japanese Interest and Understanding of Buddhism in Southeast Asia: The Case of Chikō Satō and Thailand

    Koji Osawa.

    5.     Buddhist-mediated Relations between Japan and Myanmar after World War II

    Takahiro Kojima.


    Section II: Beyond Binaries: The Way Forward


    6.     Maritime Buddhism: Of Relics, Rituals and Shipwrecks

    Himanshu Prabha Ray

    7.     The ninth century Lakṣmīndra-Lokeśvara vihāra Đồng Dương viewed as a maṇḍala architecture

    Trần Kỳ Phương and Nguyễn Thị Tú Anh.

    8.     Multiple Lives of Temples Across the Bay of Bengal

    Emma Natalya Stein.

    9.     Early India and Vietnam (ancient Campā): Revisiting the Vo-canh stele and the Indianization debate

    Ashish Kumar


    Himanshu Prabha Ray is Research Fellow at Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, Oxford, UK. She was the first Chairperson of the National Monuments Authority, Ministry of Culture in New Delhi, India, from 2012 to 2015, and former Professor at Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her research interests cover Archaeology of Religion in Asia, Maritime History and Archaeology of the Indian Ocean. Her recent books include Coastal Shrines and Transnational Maritime Networks Across India and Southeast Asia (2021), Archaeology and Buddhism in South Asia (2018), Buddhism and Gandhara: An Archaeology of Museum Collections (ed. 2018), The Archaeology of Sacred Spaces: The Temple in Western India, 2nd Century BCE to 8th Century CE (with Susan Verma Mishra, 2017), The Return of the Buddha: Ancient Symbols for a New Nation (2014) and The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia (2003).