Phillippines to explore ancient links with India

Laguna Copperplate with inscriptions in Pallava script

New Delhi (NVI): Philippines is all set to launch an innovative initiative to explore its pre-colonial linkages with India with both the countries deciding to set up a group of experts to research and document their ancient ties.

A decision to this effect was taken during the recent visit of President of India Ram Nath Kovind to Phillippines, who has welcomed the initiative saying it will further strengthen the people-to-people contact between the two countries.

It is to noted that the discovery Laguna copper plate inscription in the Philippines bears the influence of Pallava script. Beginning in the first millennium AD, indigenous chiefdoms emerged on the islands and had regular trade contact with Southeast Asia and China. Writing was also prevalent in the Philippines during this time. The scripts used on the islands were influenced by writing systems from India and Indonesia. Unfortunately, very few texts survive from that period, although there is one known precolonial Philippines artifact that contains writing, the Laguna Copperplate, from about 900 AD.

This plate bears what appears to be an official inscription written in an Indian Pallava script used across Maritime Southeast Asia at the time. It also references a date using a lunar calendar that was common across Southeast Asia. The Laguna Copperplate demonstrates that the islands were not isolated and suggests that they had significant contact with the rest of Southeast Asia as early as the 10th century AD, if not earlier.

It is said the first foreign religions to make a mark on the archipelago may have been Buddhism and Hinduism. Around 900 AD, several of the island polities were vassal states of the Empire of Srivijaya. Srivijaya was a city-state on the island of Sumatra and a center of Buddhist learning that flourished roughly from 700 to 1100 AD.

Decision to Boost Tourism through direct air connectivity

While discussing tourism during his Phillippines visit Ram Nath Kovind had emphasized how India is one of the fastest-growing source countries for tourists to the Philippines. Commenting on the growth of tourism he had added that both sides are soon planning to start direct flights, which will give a boost to the connectivity.

But of Mahatma Gandhi unveiled

Earlier, Kovind also unveiled a sculpture of Mahatma Gandhi at the Centre of Peace Education at Miriam College in Manila, Philippines on Sunday, October 20. “This bust of Mahatma Gandhi is a gift from the people of India to you”, Kovind said during his address on the occasion. “But the Mahatma belongs to all peoples, all cultures and all societies. May he continue to guide us in our shared journey of peace, harmony and sustainable development for all.”

In a tweet, the President Kovind stated he hopes the generation of students who pass through the gates of the Centre of Peace Education will continue to be inspired by Gandhi’s legacy “of being just and ethical in conduct; compassionate and humble in treating fellow human beings; and standing up and championing truth and truth alone, even in most trying times”. The President said that he feels honoured to unveil Gandhi’s bust in the Philippines, which is the land of Jose Rizal. “Both Mahatma Gandhi and Jose Rizal believed in the power of peace and non-violence. The avenue in New Delhi named after your national hero continues to inspire and motivate us.”

-nad

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