The Imperial Cholas: An 11th Century Example of Regional Power Play in Southeast Asia
    The Imperial Cholas: An 11th Century Example of Regional Power Play in Southeast Asia The Imperial Cholas: An 11th Century Example of Regional Power Play in Southeast Asia Date: 27-11-2007, 6:30pm
    Venue: Level 1, Visitor Briefing Room

    In the regional histories of South Asia and Southeast Asia, the period from the seventh century onwards is one of critical importance to understanding the dynamics of cultural, linguistic, and social changes, which occurred in these regions.The interactions between the ruling dynasties of South India and the evolving polities of Southeast Asia led to increasing commercial and cultural dialogue, with the sea becoming a medium of exchange. In this milieu of commercial growth, there were substantial cultural exchanges between South India and Southeast Asian kingdoms. While the commercial trade between the two regions catalyzed Indian cultural expansion in Southeast Asia, the Pallava and Pandyan Dynasties in South India from the seventh century had a fairly benevolent relationship with Southeast Asian polities.
    The increasing dominance of the imperial Chola Dynasty of South India over regional trade from the eleventh century CE until the twelfth century saw a different approach from South India towards its trading partners in Southeast Asia. Linkages which was based on purely commercial grounds became the norm, and while the Chola rulers did not regulate the trade networks between the regions, they were aware of the in creasing importance of this trade to their empire. With this in mind, the imperial Cholas would, with the aid of its powerful navy, seek to project its power across the Andaman Sea and into the Malacca straits, as well as over its immediate neighbor, Sri Lanka, when they perceived it was required. Their regional strategy with Southeast Asia was to keep the sea-lanes open, and let the merchant communities maximize their trade networks. The Chola relationship with Sri Lanka was of a different caliber. There were different strategies for different regions by the
    Cholas, which must be seen in context.
    PrasannaWeerawardane is a Lee Kong Chian Research Fellow at the National Library Board, working on the dynamics and motivations which led to almost a 1000 years of Buddhist linkages between Ancient India and China, from I AD/CE -12 AD/CE. He is an archaeologist who has worked in South and Southeast Asia for over a decade.
    The talk will be held on 27th November 2007, 6.30pm at Visitors Briefing Room, National Library Board, 100 Victoria Street, Singapore 188064. {admission is free *seats are limited* the talk will be in English} register by emailing to [email protected] ; closing date for registration 24th November 2007.

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