Sunday, December 18, 2011

Medieval South Asians and outbound Travel..

Mark Twain had a number of observations to make on Travel - and the pithier ones are listed here - Travel certainly widens horizons, provides fresh perspectives, liberates the mind of prevailing prejudices. As one goes back in medieval  times, we hear of  travelers "inbound" to South Asia (routine examples - Hiuen Tsang, Fa-Hien, Marco Polo) - and not the other way around.
Of course, there were the Buddhist  missionaries spreading - circa Ashoka - the religion in SL and the East, but that BC era - & much pre-medieval. But, one never  heard of  memoirs or autobiographies, a la "Great Tang Records on the Western Regions" - that provided insights into the prevailing culture and living.

Could it be that the fabled & supposed prosperity that dulled the medieval natives into staying put and not bothering to seek outbound adventure? Was it a symptom of a stagnating society, a self-conceited society?
Or maybe  a  manifestation of the inward focus -  the inherent belief that the greatest enemy to conquer lies within?  
One can only guess.

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