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Postby admin » Mon Jun 24, 2024 8:25 am

Part 1 of 2

Introduction, from "Samnyasa Upanisads: Hindu Scriptures on Asceticism and Renunciation"
Translated with an introduction by Patrick Olivelle
(Copyright © 1992 by Oxford University Press, Inc.)




The Samnyasa Upanisads

The Upanisads form the concluding sections of the several Vedic collections handed down in the ancient Vedic schools [LC: what are "the ancient Vedic schools"? No Google search items are available.] and are therefore called Vedanta, which literally means the end of the Veda. The Upanisads, however, came to be viewed in many traditions not merely as the last books of the Vedas but also as the most important. The very term Vedanta was understood to mean not just the end but also the summit and crown of the Veda.

Many indigenous traditions divide the Vedic corpus into two sections: the section on rites (karmakanda), consisting of the earlier portions, and the section on knowledge (jnanakanda), consisting of the Upanisads. The theology of Vedic revelation within the mainstream of the Brahmanical tradition regarded the Vedas to be without an author; they constitute the temporal manifestations [LC: what "time"?] of eternal [LC: how can it be "eternal" when it is limited by time?] and transcendent knowledge. As the ritual section contains infallible [LC: "infallible" because they were invented by a man?] directions in ritual and moral matters, so the Upanisads contain the transcendent knowledge needed for human salvation. Within the soteriological traditions, such as Advaita Vedanta, that considered knowledge as the sole means of liberation (moksa), therefore, the Upanisads came to be regarded as its most authoritative source. As one medieval text puts it, "The Vedanta is contained in the Veda like oil in the seed."1 [Muktika Upanisad, 1.9.]

Because of the foundational nature of the Upanisads, later Hindu sects and theologies sought to find in them the revealed basis of and the ultimate justification for their doctrines and practices. The proponents understood their sectarian doctrines and practices to be the explication of the essential message of the Upanisads. Thus many Hindu sects called their own doctrines Vedanta. The early Upanisads, composed many centuries before the rise of these sects and traditions, however, did not always directly support their often contradictory positions. Sectarian theologians, therefore, resorted frequently to hermeneutical strategies, interpreting the ancient Upanisads in ways that would provide support for their doctrines;2 [I have discussed some of these strategies in Olivelle 1986, 57-76.] Sometimes they composed new Upanisads. Given the lack of an acknowledged and closed canon of the Vedic corpus,3 [For a survey of the problems relating to the canon and transmission of the Vedic texts, see Olivelle 1986, 66-76; L. Renou, The Destiny of the Veda in India, trans. D. R. Chanana (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1965).] these new texts were able to gain recognition, at least within the sects in which they were composed, as authentic Vedic documents, having the same sanctity and authority as other Vedic books. The number of Upanisads thus swelled to well over 100, and Upanisads continued to be composed down to modern times to support every sort of religious belief and practice.

In the eyes of the believers, all Upanisads have the same authority.

People who believe anything that has the name of the thing they are looking for

The concept of people believing in something simply because it has a name that matches what they are looking for is related to the idea of tulpa, a term used in mysticism and the paranormal to describe a being or object created through spiritual or mental powers. This phenomenon is also linked to the illusory truth effect, where people tend to believe false information to be correct after repeated exposure, often due to familiarity and the feeling of truth.

Additionally, individuals who believe things easily without having to be convinced are described as credulous or gullible, which can be seen in people who accept information without a lot of supporting facts. This credulity can be a result of a willingness to believe in things that are unseen or unproven, such as religions or mythical creatures.

In the context of cognitive dissonance, people may rationalize or deny behaviors that go against their beliefs, leading to discomfort, tension, shame, and anxiety. This discomfort can lead individuals to believe in things that align with their existing beliefs, even if they lack evidence or logical reasoning.

In summary, people who believe anything that has the name of the thing they are looking for may be exhibiting credulity, the illusory truth effect, or the tendency to believe in things that align with their existing beliefs, even if they lack evidence or logical reasoning.

-- AI-generated answer

They are eternal and transcend history. Scholars who use them as sources for the reconstruction of Indian religious history, however, must approach them as human documents located in space and time. From a historical perspective, therefore, modern scholarship has customarily distinguished between the major (sometimes called classical) and the minor Upanisads. The former are generally older and were composed within the Vedic schools, whereas the latter are by and large later compositions, some of which are sectarian in nature.4 [Although this statement is valid as a generalization, sections of some so-called minor Upanisads are as old as some of the classical Upanisads.] The Samnyasa Upanisads belong to the latter category.

They are a collection of twenty texts written in Sanskrit. Their common characteristic is the theme of samnyasa, or renunciation. The Samnyasa Upanisads, however, do not constitute an indigenous classification of the Upanisads; no Indian list or collection of Upanisads groups these texts together. Paul Deussen was the first to use the category Samnyasa Upanisads. In his German translation of sixty Upanisads, Deussen (1905; Eng. tr. 1980, 567-568) classified the Upanisads belonging to the Atharva Veda under five headings "according to the tendency predominant in them:"
(1) Purely Vedantic Upanisads, (2) Yoga-Upanisads, (3) Samnyasa-Upanisads, (4) Siva-Upanisads, and (5) Visnu-Upanisads.5 [Deussen was in fact expanding on a classification first proposed by A. Weber, History of Indian Literature (London, 1878), 156.] Under Samnyasa Upanisads he included seven texts: Brahma, Samnyasa, Aruneya, Kathasruti, Paramahamsa, Jabala, and Asrama. That number was expanded to twenty in Schrader's critical edition of the Samnyasa Upanisads.

From the viewpoint of Brahmanical theology, these Upanisads provide the basis in Vedic revelation for the institution of renunciation (samnyasa) and for the rules and practices associated with that state. They played a central role in the theological reflections and disputes concerning that key institution of Brahmanical religion.6 [Deussen was in fact expanding on a classification first proposed by A. Weber, History of Indian Literature (London, 1878), 156.] Apart from providing valuable data for the history of Indian ascetical institutions, therefore, these Upanisads are especially significant for tracing the development of the Brahmanical theology of renunciation.7 [Scholars have come to recognize the importance of the indigenous theological and exegetical traditions as objects of study for scholars of religion. Jonathan Z. Smith has articulated this eloquently: "I have come to believe that a prime object of study for the historian of religion ought to be theological tradition . . . in particular, those elements of the theological endeavor that are concerned with canon and its exegesis. .. . It [exegetical enterprise] is, at the same time, the most profoundly cultural, and hence, the most illuminating for what ought to be the essentially anthropological view point of the historian of religion and a conception of religion as human labor." Imagining Religion: From Babylon to Jonestown (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 43.]


Deussen's fivefold classification, with the addition of the Sakta-Upanisads, was followed by the Adyar Library when, under the direction of F. Otto Schrader, it drew up a plan to publish critical editions of all the minor Upanisads (Schrader, ii—iii). The first volume to be published in the series contained the Samnyasa Upanisads, a collection of twenty texts critically edited by Schrader himself and published in 1912 with an original Sanskrit commentary, Tippani, prepared by Schrader with the help of several pandits. The present translation is based on Schrader's critical edition.

Unfortunately, the editors of the remaining volumes of this series did not follow Schrader's lead; the other collections were not critically edited. They were published without a proper critical apparatus and reproduce the version commented on by Upanisadbrahmayogin. The Samnyasa Upanisads thus remain the only collection of minor Upanisads to have been critically edited.

As part of the same series, the Adyar Library in 1929 produced another publication of the Samnyasa Upanisads based on the version commented on by Upanisadbrahmayogin (see Dikshit 1929), a version far inferior to the critically reconstituted edition of Schrader. A reprint of it amounting in reality to a new edition was published in 1966.8 [For differences in the two editions, see Sprockhoff 1990, 7-17.] Individual texts of the collection have been published frequently in uncritical editions.9 [All these editions are listed by Sprochkhoff (1976) at the beginning of his discussion of each Upanisad.]

In his introduction Schrader says that his translation of the Samnyasa Upanisads "is practically ready for the press."10 [Schrader, iii, n. I. He repeats this claim elsewhere: Schrader, 80, nn. 1—2. Cf. Sprockhoff 1976, 10, n. 3.] Unfortunately, it was never published. The Adyar Library recently published a translation of the Samnyasa Upanisads by A. A. Ramanathan (Ramanathan 1978). Besides being an extremely poor and inaccurate translation, it is not based on Schrader's critical edition but follows by and large Dikshit's edition of the version commented on by Upanisadbrahmayogin.11 [For an assessment of Ramanathan's translation, see my review in the Journal of the American Oriental Society 102 (1982): 228—229. A detailed critique of this translation has been made by Sprockhoff 1990. Individual texts, especially of the older group, have been translated into English and other European languages, but they are for the most part not based on Schrader's critical edition. For a bibliography of these translations, see Sprockhoff 1976 under each Upanisad. The Satyayaniya was translated by me in Olivelle 1987, and the Kathasruti (together with the Katharudra of the SR) by Sprockhoff 1990.] I have been unable to consult the recent French translation of these Upanisads by Alyette Degraces-Fahd referred to by Sprockhoff (1989, 138; 1990, 47, n. 150), who considers it an uncritical translation.

Joachim Friedrich Sprockhoff, a student of Schrader, has made an excellent and detailed study of all the Samnyasa Upanisads (Sprockhoff 1976). Sprockhoff's work is indispensable for any serious study of these documents. It is neither possible nor desirable within the scope of this introduction to include all the details of his analysis. For more detailed and technical information on these documents, including their textual histories, I can do no better than refer the reader to Sprockhoff's study, which ought to be regarded as a standard work of reference on Brahmanical renunciation. Besides being the only group of minor Upanisads to have been critically edited, the Samnyasa Upanisads remains also the only group to have been subjected to such a thorough historical and philological study.

It is my hope that this first complete English translation of the critical editions of all the Samnyasa Upanisads will make that valuable collection accessible to a wider group of people interested in the history of Indian religion and culture.


The Samnyasa Upanisads share with other ancient Indian texts a common problem: it is impossible to date them with any degree of precision or certainty. Neither the texts nor their manuscript traditions contain any information regarding their authors or the dates and places of their composition. Except for citations in other datable works, we have no external evidence regarding their dates. Almost all these texts, furthermore, are not original compositions. They draw extensively from other Brahmanical sources, such as the classical Upanisads, the epics, and the Puranas.12 [Sprockhoff (1976 especially 277-295) has dealt extensively with the composition and the sources of the Samnyasa Upanisads. He gives all the sources and parallel passages in seventeen detailed tables (319-377) and in an extremely helpful diagram on p. 280.] Many of them, moreover, are composite texts, containing sections taken from older works or from other Samnyasa Upanisads. Some of the later Upanisads appear to be expansions of older ones. Others, such as the Laghu-Samnyasa and the Kundika, as well as the Kathasruti and the Katharudra (which occurs only in the SR), appear to be different recensions of the same text. Each text, therefore, contains several layers that may be separated by hundreds of years. All of this makes any dating of these documents tentative and provisional at best.

In his critical edition, Schrader arranged these Upanisads in a manner that in his view approximated their relative dates:
"The texts edited in this volume fall into two groups, an older one and a younger one. The older one comprises the first six texts, the younger one Maitreya and the succeeding Upanisads. Asrama-Upanisad cannot well be included in either of the groups; it seems to stand exactly on the dividing-line" (Schrader, xxvi).

Sprockhoff's exhaustive study generally confirms this broad division. Sprockhoff, however, has attempted to date individual Upanisads and even the different strata within them. He assigns the older group to the last few centuries before the common era. The Asrama Upanisad was composed around 300 C.E. The texts of the younger group for the most part belong to the medieval period. Sprockhoff assigns the Naradaparivrajaka to around 1150 C.E. and the Satyayaniya to 1200 C.E. Most of the others belong to the fourteenth and the fifteenth centuries.13 [For details on the dates of each Upanisad, see the appropriate chapter of Sprockhoff 1976.]

A clue to the dating of the older group is found in a controversy recorded in all except the Laghu-Samnyasa. These texts attempt to answer the objection that if a renouncer cuts his topknot and discards his sacrificial string, he can no longer be regarded as a Brahmin (see below 4.3). Now the abandonment of the string as well as any objection to such an abandonment have significance only if it was either an obligation or at least a universal custom among Brahmins to wear such a string. It is no doubt true that in medieval and modern times the wearing of a sacrificial string was regarded as the hallmark of a Brahmin. The older Brahmanical documents, however, do not record a rule or custom that required Brahmins to wear a sacred string at all times. The term yajnopavita, which in later times came to mean the sacrificial string, is used in them to refer to a particular mode of wearing the upper garment during ritual acts.14 [The garment or string goes over the left shoulder and hangs under the right arm. Other ways of wearing it are called pracinavita (over the right shoulder and under the left arm), used during rites for the dead, and nivita (hanging from the neck).] It is nowhere mentioned that a garment or a string should be worn in that manner at all times.

That the custom of wearing a string was a late development is confirmed by the fact that the oldest texts are silent on the investiture of a boy with the sacred string at his initiation, an investiture that later became its central element. After examining all the evidence, Kane concludes:

From the above passages, from the fact that many of the grhyasutras ["treatises on domestic ritual"] are entirely silent about the giving or wearing of the sacred thread in upanayana ["Vedic initiation"] and from the fact that no mantra is cited from the Vedic Literature for the act of giving the yajnopavita (which is now the centre of the upanayana rites), while scores of vedic mantras are cited for the several component parts of the ceremony of upanayana, it is most probable, if not certain, that sacred thread was not invariably used in the older times as in the times of the later smrtis and in modern times, that originally the upper garment was used in various positions for certain acts, that it could be laid aside altogether in the most ancient times and that the cord of threads came to be used first as an option and later on exclusively for the upper garment. (sic; Kane, HDh, 2:291)

If Kane is right in dating the custom of wearing a sacred string at all times to the period of the smrtis, that is, roughly the first few centuries of the common era—and I believe he is—then the texts of the older group, with the exception of the Laghu-Samnyasa, must be younger by several centuries than assumed by Sprockhoff. The earliest date to which these texts in their present form can be assigned is the first few centuries of, rather than before, the common era. It is possible, of course, that sections of these composite documents belong to an earlier period.

With regard to the Satyayaniya Upanisad, it may be possible to add some more information bearing on the date to that given by Sprockhoff. This text was clearly the product of a Vaisnava sect, in all likelihood the Sri-Vaisnava founded by Ramanuja. As far as I know, the earliest citation of this Upanisad is found in Varadacarya's Yatilingasamarthana.15 [See the edition and translation of this text in Olivelle 1987.] Varadacarya (1165—1275 C.E.) was the grandson of Ramanuja's sister's son (Olivelle 1986, 23—24). Ramanuja's elder contemporary and teacher was Yadava Prakasa. Tradition has it that Ramanuja converted his former teacher from a non-dualist form of Vedanta to his Visistadvaita philosophy.16 [Vedanta Desika (13—14th cent. C.E.) in his Satadusani refers to the conversion of Yadava Prakasa: see Olivelle 1987, 82.] Yadava's literary activities, therefore, must have taken place in the second half of the eleventh century C.E. He wrote an extensive treatise on renunciation called Yatidharmasamuccaya (Olivelle 1986, 22), which generally supports the Sri-Vaisnava position on renunciation, especially on the disputed issue of the insignia of a renouncer. He fails, however, to cite the Satyayaniya Upanisad, even though it would have given him plenty of scriptural ammunition against the Advaita position. It is quite unlikely that Yadava would have been ignorant of or deliberately ignored such an important scriptural text of his tradition, a text that is cited prominently a few generations later by Varadacarya. The likely conclusion is that the Satyayaniya was either composed or attained the status of an Upanisad sometime between Yadava and Varada, probably in the early part of the twelfth century.


The Samnyasa Upanisads did not arise in a vacuum; they were part of a broader literary tradition concerning renunciation and related topics both within the Brahmanical mainstream and in non-Brahmanical traditions such as Buddhism and Jainism. Here I want to present a brief conspectus of that broader tradition that provides the context within which these documents were composed and need to be studied.

There is sufficient evidence for the existence of organized ascetical institutions17 [I use the term institution in the broadest possible sense. We have little evidence regarding how large these institutions were or how they were organized. From early Buddhist evidence it appears that each ascetic group coalesced around a teacher who became its corporate head and, at least in the case of institutions known to us, such as Buddhism and Jainism, provided both an ideology and rules of conduct for its members.] in northern India probably during the sixth—and for certain by the fifth—century B.C.E. At a very early age, moreover, at least some of these ascetical institutions produced literary works often ascribed to their founders. At first they were, in all likelihood, composed and transmitted orally. Examples of such texts are found both within and outside the Brahmanical tradition.

The outstanding feature of the oldest Indian education and Indian culture in general, especially in the centuries B.C., is its orality. The Vedic texts make no reference to writing, and there is no reliable indication that writing was known in India except perhaps in the northwestern provinces when these were under Achaemenid rule, since the time of Darius or even Cyrus. Those who write down the Veda go to hell, as the Mahabharata tells us, and Kumarila [700 A.D.] confirms: "That knowledge of the truth is worthless which has been acquired from the Veda, if the Veda has not been rightly comprehended or if it has been learnt from writing."2 Sayana [d. 1387] wrote in the introduction to his Rgveda commentary that "the text of the Veda is to be learned by the method of learning it from the lips of the teacher and not from a manuscript."3

The best evidence today is that no script was used or even known in India before 300 B.C., except in the extreme Northwest that was under Persian domination. That is in complete accord with the Indian tradition which at every occasion stresses the orality of the cultural and literary heritage....

There were no books; the common Indian word for "book" (pusta[ka]) is found not before the early centuries A.D. and is probably a loanword from Persian (post),25 and grantha denoted originally only "knot, nexus, text" acquiring the meaning "manuscript" much later.

The older Indian literature (including some texts as late as the early centuries A.D.) belongs to one of two classes: sruti "hearing" and smrti "remembering." It behooves us to pay attention to this distinction made by the Indians themselves early on.

-- Chapter Two: The Oral Tradition, From "Education in Ancient India", by Hartmut Scharfe

Whatever may be said about the dates of their extant canons of scripture, the Buddhist and Jain traditions—and possibly other extinct non-Brahmanical sects such as the Ajivika—produced a considerable body of literature not long after their founding. These literary products often claim to record the very words of the deceased founders of their respective sects and were thus infused with their personal authority, becoming thereby sacred and authoritative. The early ascetic literature of non-Brahmanical sects thus became the nucleus of their sacred scriptures, which paralleled—and which may have even been composed in imitation of—the Vedic scriptures, the model par excellence of sacred text in India.
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Postby admin » Mon Jun 24, 2024 8:26 am

Part 2 of 2

Many of the earliest of these literary products appear to have been codes of ascetic conduct; this is indeed a feature common to all ancient ascetical literature in India. Given that the main features of the renunciatory life are by and large uniform across all the traditions, it appears likely that these texts for the most part codified existent patterns of ascetic behavior, even though each sect modified them to suit its own needs and also included rules peculiar to it. An early example of such a code is the Buddhist Pratimoksa, a list of over 200 monastic rules.18 [For a discussion of the Pratimoksa and Buddhist monastic discipline, see S. Dutt, Early Buddhist Monachism. 2d ed. (London: Asia Publishing House, 1960); W. Pachow, "A Comparative Study of the Pratimoksa," The Sino-Indian Studies, VI(1951), pts. 1-2; C. S. Prebish, Buddhist Monastic Discipline: The Sanskrit Pratimoksa Sutras of the Mahasamghikas and Mulasarvastivadins (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1975).] It is also likely that early ascetic texts also included the rituals and ceremonies that accompanied the entry of a person into the ascetic life; initiation rites occupy a prominent position in the extant versions of these texts.


According to the traditional analysis, the single most important putative "Asoka" inscription for the history of Buddhism is the unique "Third Minor Rock Edict" found at Bairat, now known as the Calcutta-Bairat Inscription,in which "the king of Magadha, Piyadasa" addresses the "Samgha" (community of Buddhist monks) directly, and gives the names of a number of Buddhist sutras, saying, "I desire, Sirs, that many groups of monks and (many) nuns may repeatedly listen to these expositions of the Dharma, and may reflect (on them)."

The problems with the inscription are many. It begins with the otherwise unattested phrase "The Magadha King Piyadasa", not Devanampriya Priyadarsi (or a Prakrit version of that name). The omission of the title Devanampriya is nothing short of shocking. Moreover, it is the only inscription to even mention Magadha. It is also undated, unlike the genuine Major Inscriptions, all of which are dated. In the text, the authorial voice declares "reverence and faith in the Buddha, the Dharma, (and) the Samgha".

This is the only occasion in all of the Mauryan inscriptions where the Triratna 'Three Jewels', the "refuge" formula well known from later devotional Buddhism, is mentioned. Most astonishingly, throughout the text the author repeatedly addresses the Buddhist monks humbly as bhamte, translated by Hultzsch as "reverend sirs". The text also contains a higher percentage of words that are found solely within it (i.e., not also found in some other inscription) than does any other inscription. From beginning to end, the Calcutta-Bairat Inscription is simply incompatible with the undoubtedly genuine Major Inscriptions. It is also evidently incompatible with the other Buddhist inscriptions possibly attributable to a later ruler named Devanampriya Asoka.

However, because the inscription is also the only putative Asokan inscription that mentions Buddhist texts, and even names seven of them explicitly, scholars are loath to remove it from the corpus. It therefore calls for a little more comment.

First, even if the Calcutta-Bairat Inscription really is "old", it is certainly much younger than the genuine inscriptions of Devanampriya Priyadarsi. If it dates to approximately the same epoch as the recently discovered Gandhari documents -- the Saka-Kushan period, from about the late first century BC to the mid-third century AD -- the same period when the Pali Canon, according to tradition, was collected, it should then not be surprising to find that the names of the texts mentioned in the inscription seem to accord with the contents of the latter collections of Normative Buddhist works, even though few, if any, of the texts (of which only the titles are given) can be identified with any certainty. [However, it must be borne in mind that the Trilaksana text discussed in Chapter One, though short, is by far the oldest known fragment of Buddhist text. It is thus possible that texts in the Pali Canon and the Gandhari documents that mention the Trilaksana might themselves be older than the other texts in the same corpora.]

Second, as noted above, specialists have pointed out that the script and Prakrit language of the Mauryan inscriptions continued to be used practically unchanged down through the Kushan period, and though the style of the script changed somewhat in the following period, it was still legible for any literate person at least as late as the beginning of the Gupta period (fourth century AD), so the inscriptions undoubtedly influenced the developing legends about the great Buddhist king, Asoka.

Thus at least some of the events described in the Major Inscriptions, such as Devanampriya Priyadarsi's conquest of Kalinga, subsequent remorse, and turning to the Dharma, were perfect candidates for ascription to Asoka in the legends. In the absence of any historical source of any kind on Asoka dating to a period close to the events -- none of the datable Major Inscriptions mention Asoka -- it is impossible to rule out this possibility. The late Buddhist inscriptions, such as the Calcutta-Bairat Inscription, may well have been written under the same influence.

Third, because the Calcutta-Bairat Inscription only mentions the titles of texts that have been identified -- rather uncertainly in most cases -- with the titles of texts in the Pali Canon, the actual texts referred to may have been quite different, or even totally different, from the presently attested ones. Because the earliest, or highest, possible date for the Pali Canon is in fact the Saka-Kushan period, the Calcutta-Bairat Inscription and the texts it names cannot be much earlier.

The inscription's list of "passages of scripture" that "Priyadarsi, King of Magadha" has selected to be frequently listened to by the monks so that "the True Dharma will be of long duration" is translated by Hultzsch as "the Vinaya-Samukasa, the Aliya-vasas, the Anagata-bhayas, the Munigathas, the Moneya-suta, the Upatisa-pasina, and the Laghulovada which was spoken by the blessed Buddha concerning falsehood."

Among the texts considered to be identified are the Vinaya-samukasa and the Muni-gatha.

The Vinaya-samukasa has been identified with the Vinaya-samukase 'Innate Principles of the Vinaya', a short text in the Mahavagga of the Pali Canon. After a brief introduction, the Buddha tells the monks what is permitted and what is not.


Now at that time uncertainty arose in the monks with regard to this and that item: "Now what is allowed by the Blessed One? What is not allowed?" They told this matter to the Blessed One, (who said):

"Bhikkhus, whatever I have not objected to, saying, 'This is not allowable,' if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, this is not allowable for you.

"Whatever I have not objected to, saying, 'This is not allowable,' if it fits in with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, this is allowable for you.

"And whatever I have not permitted, saying, 'This is allowable,' if it fits in with what is not allowable, if it goes against what is allowable, this is not allowable for you.

"And whatever l have not permitted, saying, 'This is allowable,' if it fits in with what is allowable, if it goes against what is not allowable, this is allowable for you."

Although the Buddha's own speech in this text is structured as a tetralemma, which was fashionable in the fourth and third centuries BC, it must also be noted that the tetralemma is a dominant feature of the earliest Madhyamika texts, those by Nagarjuna, who is traditionally dated to approximately the second century AD. But the problems with the inscription are much deeper than this. The Vinaya per se cannot be dated back to the time of the Buddha (as the text intends), nor to the time of Asoka; it cannot be dated even to the Saka-Kushan period. All fully attested Vinaya texts are actually dated, either explicitly or implicitly, to the Gupta period, specifically to the fifth century AD: "In most cases, we can place the vinayas we have securely in time: the Sarvastivada-vinaya that we know was translated into Chinese at the beginning of the fifth century (404-405 C.E.). So were the Vinayas of the Dharmaguptakas (408), the Mahisasakas (423-424), and the Mahasamghikas (416). The Mulasarvastivada-vinaya was translated into both Chinese and Tibetan still later, and the actual contents of the Pali Vinaya are only knowable from Buddhaghosa's fifth century commentaries.

As Schopen has shown in many magisterial works, the Vinayas are layered texts, so they undoubtedly contain material earlier than the fifth century, but even the earliest layers of the Vinaya texts cannot be earlier than Normative Buddhism, which is datable to the Saka-Kushan period. It thus would require rather more than the usual amount of credulity to project the ancestors of the cited texts back another half millennium or more to the time of the Buddha.

-- Greek Buddha: Pyrrho's Encounter With Early Buddhism in Central Asia, by Christopher I. Beckwith

That this early ascetic literature should have focused on ascetic practice should come as no surprise, for in India throughout the ages proper conduct has counted for more than ideological purity. As we shall see (2.5), what a person did—and even where one did it—was considered inseparable from the broader issues of world view and religious ideology; indeed, the latter was often reducible to the former. Within Brahmanism itself, moreover, the bulk of the religious literature of this period was produced mostly for very practical reasons: either for the proper performance of Vedic or domestic rituals (the Srauta- and Grhya-sutras) or to inculcate proper personal and social behavior (the Dharma-sutras). Indeed, all the so-called ancillary Vedic texts (Vedangas) have very practical purposes.

Within Brahmanism itself the earliest literature with an ascetic thrust is found in the classical Upanisads. Passages with a strong ideological slant in favor of the ascetic worldview and way of life are found in the earliest of the Upanisads, such as the Brhadaranyaka and the Chandogya. Some of them will be examined in the next section. It is unclear, however, whether these passages were produced within ascetic institutions and later incorporated into the Upanisads or merely reflect the influence of ascetic ideologies on some segments of the ancient Vedic schools.

The earliest evidence we possess pointing to the existence of independent ascetical codes within the Brahmanical tradition comes from the grammatical treatise Astadhyayi of Panini, commonly assigned to the fourth century B.C.E. [LC: Then Panini did not live in either the 6th or 5th century B.C.E.] In explaining a particular type of derivative noun meaning "proclaimed by," Panini (—in) refers to the bhiksusutras—codes of conduct for mendicants—proclaimed by Parasarya and Karmandin.19 [For a detailed discussion of these, see Ajay Mitra Shastri, "The Bhiksusutra of Parasarya, "Journal of the Asiatic Society (Calcutta), 14, nos. 2—4(1972): 52— 59 (issued May 1975). I agree with Shastri that, despite some contradictory evidence from the poet Bana, Panini considered these ultras to have been Brahmanical works.] That these were not generic texts intended for all but codes that regulated the life of sociologically distinct groups of mendicants can be gathered from the reference to "Parasarin mendicants" (parasarino bhiksavah) as a distinct group by Patanjali, generally assigned to the second century B.C.E., in his commentary, Mahabhasya (IV.2.66), on Panini's grammar. This evidence, coming as it does from grammarians intent on finding examples for grammatical rules among words in common use, is historically very significant and certainly more reliable than any information we may find in the normative literature.

The most important single error made by almost everyone in Buddhist studies is methodological and theoretical in nature. In all scholarly fields, it is absolutely imperative that theories be based on the data, but in Buddhist studies, as in other fields like it, even dated, "provenanced" archaeological and historical source material that controverts the traditional view of Early Buddhism has been rejected because it does not agree with that traditional view, and even worse, because it does not agree with the traditional view of the entire world of early India, including beliefs about Brahmanism and other sects that are thought to have existed at that time, again based not on hard data but on the same late traditional accounts. Some of these beliefs remain largely or completely unchallenged, notably:

• the belief that Sramanas existed before the Buddha, so he became a Sramana like many other Sramanas

• the belief that there were Sramanas besides Early Buddhists, including Jains and Ajivikas, whose sects were as old or older than Buddhism, and the Buddha even knew some of their founders personally

• that, despite the name Sramana, and despite the work of Marshall, Bareau, and Schopen, the Early Buddhists were "monks" and lived in "monasteries" with a monastic rule, the Vinaya

that, despite the scholarship of Bronkhorst, the Upanishads and other Brahmanist texts are very ancient, so old that they precede Buddhism, so the Buddha was influenced by their ideas

• that the dated Greek eyewitness reports on religious-philosophical practitioners in late fourth century BC India do not tally with the traditional Indian accounts written a half millennium or more later, so the Greek reports must be wrong and must be ignored

• perhaps most grievously, the belief that all stone inscriptions in the early Brahmi script of the Mauryan period were erected by "Asoka", the traditional grandson of the Mauryan Dynasty's historical founder, Candragupta, and whatever any of those inscriptions say is therefore evidence about what went on during (or before) the time he is thought to have lived ...

Here I quote a century-old summary that remains the received view:

Jainism bears a striking resemblance to Buddhism in its monastic system, its ethical teachings, its sacred texts, and in the story of its founder. This closeness of resemblance has led not a few scholars -- such as Lassen, Weber, Wilson, Tiele, Barth -- to look upon Jainism as an offshoot of Buddhism and to place its origin some centuries later than the time of Buddha. But the prevailing view today -- that of Buhler, Jacobi, Hopkins, and others -- is that Jainism in its origin is independent of Buddhism and, perhaps, is the more ancient of the two. The many points of similarity between the two sects are explained by the indebtedness of both to a common source, namely the teachings and practices of ascetic, monastic Brahminism....

With regard to the idea that any kind of monasticism, least of all Brahmanist asceticism, could be the "common source", it may be noted that monasteries per se in India cannot be dated earlier than the first century AD, when they first appear in Taxila; they were introduced from Central Asia ...

Both Early Buddhism and Early Brahmanism are the direct outcome of the introduction of Zoroastrianism into eastern Gandhara by Darius I. Early Buddhism resulted from the Buddha's rejection of the basic principles of Early Zoroastrianism, while Early Brahmanism represents the acceptance of those principles....

Bronkhorst (2007: 358), remarks, "In the middle of the third century BC, it was Mazdaism, rather than Brahmanism, which predominated in the region between Kandahar and Taxila"....

In short, the Buddha reacted primarily (if at all) not against Brahmanism [Cf. Bronkhorst (1986; 2011: 1-4), q.v. the preceding note. From his discussion it is clear that even the earliest attested Brahmanist texts reflect the influence of Buddhism, so it would seem that the acceptance of Early Zoroastrian ideas in Gandhara happened later than the Buddhist rejection of them, but before the Alexander historians and Megasthenes got there in the late fourth century BC.] but against Early Zoroastrianism...

It is well established from the earliest accounts of Normative Buddhism that monks, nuns, and their monasteries were not taxed in ancient India.97 The ancient Greek accounts of Early Buddhism do not mention whether or not the Sramanas were taxed, but since they are explicitly described as living extremely frugally, it is difficult to imagine how they could have been taxed. The Forest-dwelling Sramanas, in particular, essentially owned nothing and had no property -- in fact, they did not participate in economic activity of any kind, as noted in Chapter Two -- while the Town-dwelling Sramanas, the Physicians, begged for their food and stayed with people who would put them up in their houses, so it would have been next to impossible to collect any taxes from them.98 [The Brahmanas, by contrast, had extensive possessions, including land, so one would imagine that they were taxed even during their ascetic stage, which according to Megasthenes was thirty-seven years long. The period is given as forty years in the accounts of Calanus, but he was not a Brahmanist at all, based on Megasthenes' description of the beliefs and practices of his sect; cf. the Epilogue. The insistence of modern scholars that Megasthenes' description does not accord with what "we know" about ancient Brahmanism is based not on ancient Brahmanism (of which we have absolutely no record for at least half a millennium after Megasthenes' time, and typically much longer), but on the imaginations of medieval to modern writers. Not only does Megasthenes present this as the normal state of affairs, the gymnosophistai 'naked wise-men' (or "Gymnosophists") of ancient Greek tradition -- who were neither Sramanas nor Brahmanas -- described in all accounts as having lived extremely frugally, and they openly encouraged the Greeks to join them and live the same way so as to learn their philosophy and practices....

Finally, the Delhi-Topra pillar includes a good version of the six synoptic Pillar Edicts, which are genuine Major Inscriptions, but it is followed by what is known as the "Seventh Pillar Edict". This is a section that occurs only on this particular monument -- not on any of the six other synoptic Pillar Edict monuments. It is "the longest of all the Asokan edicts. For the most part, it summarizes and restates the contents of the other pillar edicts, and to some extent those of the major rock edicts as well."70 In fact, as Salomon suggests, it is a hodgepodge of the authentic inscriptions. It seems not to have been observed that such a melange could not have been compiled without someone going from stone to stone to collect passages from different inscriptions, and this presumably must have involved transmission in writing, unlike with the Major Rock Edict inscriptions, which were clearly dictated orally to scribes from each region of India, who then wrote down the texts in their own local dialects -- and in some cases, their own local script or language; knowledge of writing would seem to be required for that, but not actual written texts.71 For the Delhi-Topra pillar addition, someone made copies of the texts and produced the unique "Seventh Pillar Edict".72 Why would anyone go to so much trouble? The answer is to be found in the salient new information found in the text itself. ... Most incredibly, the Buddhists are called the "Samgha" in this section alone, but it is a Normative Buddhist term; the Early Buddhist term is Sramana, attested in the genuine Major Inscriptions. Throughout the rest of the "Seventh Pillar Edict" Buddhists are called Sramanas, as expected in texts copied from genuine Mauryan inscriptions ...

Yet it is not only the contents of the text that are a problem. It has been accepted as an authentic Mauryan inscription, but no one has even noted that there is anything formally different about it from the other six edicts on the same pillar. At least a few words must therefore be said about this problem.

The "Seventh Pillar Edict" is palaeographically distinct from the text it has been appended to. It is obvious at first glance. The physical differences between the text of the "Seventh Pillar Edict", as compared even to the immediately preceding text of the Sixth Pillar Edict on the East Face, virtually leap out at one. The style of the script,76 the size and spacing of the letters, the poor control over consistency of style from one letter to the next,77 and the many hastily written, even scribbled, letters are all remarkable. These characteristics seem not to have been mentioned by the many scholars who have worked on the Mauryan inscriptions.

The text begins as an addition to the synoptic Sixth Pillar Edict, which occupies only part of the East Face "panel". After filling out the available space for text on the East Face, the new text incredibly continues around the pillar, that is, ignoring the four different "faces" already established by the earlier, genuine edicts. This circum-pillar format is unique among all the genuine Mauryan pillar inscriptions.78

Another remarkable difference with respect to the genuine Major Inscriptions on pillars is that the latter are concerned almost exclusively with Devanampriya Priyadarsi's Dharma, but do not mention either the Sramanas ''Buddhists' or the Brahmanas 'Brahmanists' by name. This is strikingly unlike the Major Inscriptions on rocks, which mention them repeatedly in many of the edicts. In other words, though the Pillar Edicts are all dated later than the Rock Edicts, for some reason (perhaps their brevity), Devanampriya Priyadarsi does not mention the Sramanas or the Brahmanas in them. The "Seventh Pillar Edict" is thus unique in that it does mention the Buddhists (Sramanas) and Brahmanists (Brahmanas) by name, but the reoccurrence of the names in what claims to be the last of Devanampriya Priyadarsi's edicts suggests that the text is not just spurious, it is probably a deliberate forgery. This conclusion is further supported by the above-noted unique passage in the inscription in which the Buddhists are referred to as the "Samgha". This term occurs in the later Buddhist Inscriptions too; but it is problematic because it is otherwise unknown before well into the Saka-Kushan period.79

The one really significant thing the text does is to add the claim that Devanampriya Priyadarsi supported not only the Buddhists and the Brahmanists but also the Ajivikas and Jains.
However, all of the Jain holy texts are uncontestedly very late (long after the Mauryan period). The very mention of the sect in the same breath as the others is alone sufficient to cast severe doubt on the text's authenticity.80 The "Seventh Pillar Edict" claims that it was inscribed when Devanampriya Priyadarsi had been enthroned for twenty-seven years; that is, only one year after the preceding text (the sixth of the synoptic Pillar Edicts), which says it was inscribed when Devanampriya Priyadarsi had been enthroned for twenty-six years. The "Seventh Pillar Edict" text consists of passages taken from many of the Major Inscriptions, both Rock and Pillar Edicts, in which the points mentioned are typically dated to one or another year after the ruler's coronation, but in the "Seventh Pillar Edict" the events are effectively dated to the same year. Most puzzling of all, why would the king add such an evidently important edict to only a single one of the otherwise completely synoptic pillar inscriptions?81

Perhaps even more damning is the fact that in the text itself the very same passages are often repeated verbatim, sometimes (as near the beginning) immediately after they have just been stated, like mechanical dittoisms. Repetition is a known feature of Indian literary texts, but the way it occurs in the "Seventh Pillar Edict" is not attested in the authentic Major Inscriptions. Moreover, as Olivelle has noted, the text repeats the standard opening formula or "introductory refrain" many times; that is, "King Priyadarsin, Beloved of the Gods, says"82 is repeated verbatim nine times, with an additional shorter tenth repetition. "In all of the other edicts this refrain occurs only once and at the beginning. Such repetitions of the refrain which state that these are the words of the king are found in Persian inscriptions. However, this is quite unusual for Asoka."83

In fact, this arrangement betrays the actual author's misunderstanding of the division of the authentic Major Inscriptions into "Edicts", and his or her consequent false imitation of them using repetitions of the Edict -- initial formula throughout the text in an attempt to duplicate the appearance of the authentic full, multi-"Edict" inscriptions on rocks and pillars. In short, based on its arrangement, palaeography, style, and contents, the "Seventh Pillar Edict" cannot be accepted as a genuine inscription of Devanampriya Priyadarsi. The text was added to the pillar much later than it claims and is an obvious forgery from a later historical period. These factors require that the "Seventh Pillar Edict" be removed from the corpus of authentic inscriptions of Devanampriya Priyadarsi....

Bronkhorst (1986) convincingly shows that Brahmanist belief in good and bad karma, and in rebirth, was adopted from early Normative Buddhism, not Early Buddhism. However, belief in an eternal soul was introduced to India by Zoroastrianism, and it is attested as a Brahmanist belief already by Megasthenes, as is belief in one creator God, so it would seem likely that these and some of the other ultimately Zoroastrian beliefs in Brahmanism were adopted directly from that religion, rather than from Buddhism, where at least belief in God (per se) seems never to have been accepted.

-- Greek Buddha: Pyrrho's Encounter With Early Buddhism in Central Asia, by Christopher I. Beckwith

We know very little, unfortunately, about these early Brahmanical authors of ascetic texts.20 [There were also parallel codes dealing with forest hermits. Baudhayana (fourth century B.C.E.), for example, explicitly refers to a vaikhanasasastra ("Treatise for Hermits" or "Treatise by Vikhanas"): BDh 2.11.14.] It is not even clear whether their composition and transmission were carried out within or outside the Vedic schools. There is considerable evidence, especially in the epics, nevertheless, for a close association between the early Samkhya school of philosophy and the renunciatory mode of life. Ancient Samkhya teachers, such as Kapila and Pancasikha,21 [Some scholars have identified Pancasikha with Panini's Parasarya on the basis of a reference in the Mahabharata (12.308.24) to Pancasikha as belonging to the lineage of Parasarya (parasaryagotra). See Shastri, 55.] are portrayed as wandering mendicants. Although I am inclined to believe that the earliest Brahmanical literature on renunciation originated among such Samkhya renouncers, there is insufficient evidence at present to demonstrate that conclusion with any certainty, especially because none of these early ascetic texts has been preserved.

One possible reason for the disappearance of independent texts on asceticism may have been the absence of organized ascetic or monastic institutions within Brahmanism until the early medieval period, institutions that would have facilitated the preservation and the transmission of the ancient texts. Another and possibly more important reason may have been the Brahmanical theology of scriptural authority.

By the last few centuries before the common era, Brahmanical theologians had developed the principle that scriptural authority resided solely and primarily in the Veda and derivatively in texts referred to as smrtis. Both these categories of sacred texts, but especially smrti, were very elastic and without recognized canons or boundaries. "Smrti" itself included many categories of texts, themselves without definite boundaries: ritual texts (Srauta- and Grhya-sutras), epics, Puranas, and the like. As time went on, more and more texts, and classes of texts, especially of sectarian provenance, were added to this category. What all the smrti texts have in common, however, is that they are viewed as representing the Vedic tradition, which is the context for transmitting and understanding the Vedas. According to Brahmanical theology, smrtis derive their authority from the Vedas on which they are based. For regulating social conduct and individual morality, the central smrti texts were the Dharma-sutras and their later counterparts, the Dharma-sastras, that are often and significantly referred to simply as smrtis. They are smrti par excellence.

Lacking an independent scriptural tradition, such as those created in Buddhism and Jainism, the only way ascetic codes could acquire scriptural authority within Brahmanism was by being incorporated into the elastic categories of Veda or smrti. The Samnyasa Upanisads are examples of ascetic texts that were either incorporated into or deliberately composed to fit the Vedic category of "Upanisad."

The dharma literature represented by the smrtis,22 [Under this rubric I include not only the ancient Dharma-sastras and the later Dharma-sastras, but also the dharma portions of the epics and Puranas.] however, contains the bulk of the ancient Brahmanical literature on asceticism. There are four extant Dharma-sutras ascribed to Gautama, Baudhayana, Apastamba, and Vasistha and belonging roughly to the last four or five centuries before the common era. Each of them has a section containing the rules of conduct of both renouncers and forest hermits. These are given within the context of the asrama system that permits a person to live a religious life as a student, a householder, a hermit, or a renouncer.23
[ GDh 3.1-36; BDh 2.11.6-34; 2.17-18; ApDh 2.21.1-17; VDh 10.1-31. For further discussion, see 2.6.] It appears likely that these rules were taken from ascetic codes; the Dharma-sutras frequently quote from unnamed sources.24 [See, for example, GDh 3.1; BDh 2.11.8; 2.17.30; 2.18.13; VDh 10.2, 20.] Gautama and Baudhayana, moreover, present the asrama system as the view of an opponent. These rules on asceticism are in prose and set in the aphoristic genre of sutra; in this they do not differ from the other sections of the Dharma-sutras. With the exception of the earliest strata within the Samnyasa Upanisads, the ascetic rules contained in the Dharma-sutras are the earliest extant ascetic literature within the Brahmanical tradition.

The Dharma-sastras, belonging roughly to the first five or six centuries of the common era,...

Gautama Dharmasūtra is a Sanskrit text and likely one of the oldest Hindu Dharmasutras (600-200 BCE), whose manuscripts have survived into the modern age. (Dharma-sutras later expanded into Dharma-shastras) ...

-- Gautama Dharmasutra, by Wikipedia

... as well as the sections dealing with dharma in the epics and the Puranas, follow the sutras in incorporating rules of ascetic behavior within the context of the asrama system.25 [ MDh 6.33-86; YDh 3.56-66; ViDh 96; VaiDh 1.9; 2.6-8; 3.6-8. The Mahabharata and the Puranas also contain discussions of ascetic life, mostly within the context of the asrama system. Several of these passages, such as the dialogue between Bhrgu and Bharadvaja (MBh 12.184), appear to be remnants of extinct Dharma-sutras.] These texts, however, are written for the most part in verse, and versification also characterizes the ascetic literature of this period. Most of these texts are now extinct. There is a staggering number of citations in medieval ascetic texts from these lost Dharma-sastras [dharmasutras?].

When D. P. Walker wrote about "ancient theology" or prisca theologia, he firmly linked it to Christianity and Platonism (Walker 1972). On the first page of his book, Walker defined the term as follows:

By the term "Ancient Theology" I mean a certain tradition of Christian apologetic theology which rests on misdated texts. Many of the early Fathers, in particular Lactantius, Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius, in their apologetic works directed against pagan philosophers, made use of supposedly very ancient texts: Hermetica, Orphica, Sibylline Prophecies, Pythagorean Carmina Aurea, etc., most of which in fact date from the first four centuries of our era. [100-400 A.D.] These texts, written by the Ancient Theologians Hermes Trismegistus, Orpheus, Pythagoras, were shown to contain vestiges of the true religion: monotheism, the Trinity, the creation of the world out of nothing through the Word, and so forth. It was from these that Plato [428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC)] took the religious truths to be found in his writings. [LC: How did Plato (428-348 BC) get access across time and space to misdated texts from the 1st-4th centuries A.D.?] (Walker 1972:1)

-- The Ancient Theology: Studies in Christian Platonism from the Fifteenth to the Eighteen Century, by Daniel Pickering Walker (1914-1985)

We have to wait until the medieval period, after the organization of Brahmanical monastic orders, traditionally ascribed to the Advaita theologian Sankara, for the composition of independent ascetic texts. They were probably composed within monastic establishments as handbooks for the use of monks and generally fall within the category of dharma literature known as paddhati, handbooks dealing with specific topics mostly of a ritual nature.26 [The paddhati itself can be viewed as a subcategory of the mbandha class of literature. Nibandhas are not smrti and therefore not part of scripture. They are medieval digests of law in the broadest sense of the term and include all the topics covered in the Dharmasustras.] They did not form part of Veda or smrti, and thus their authority did not transcend the boundaries of their sects. This sociological background also explains the sectarian biases they reveal, even though all claim to hand down the Vedic dharma on asceticism and cite profusely from Vedic and smrti sources. Some of them are even polemical in nature.27 [For such polemical works, see Olivelle 1986 and 1987.]

Within the Brahmanical mainstream, the earliest independent work on renunciation outside the Samnyasa Upanisads that has come down to us is a work called Yatidharmasamuccaya, written by Yadava Prakasa (eleventh century C.E.).28 [See above 1.2 and n. 16. I am currently engaged in preparing a critical edition and translation of this work. Its third chapter is included in Olivelle 1987.] Yadava, according to tradition, subscribed to some form of non-dualist Vedanta but was later converted by his own pupil, Ramanuja; the Sri-Vaisnava tradition claims him as one of its own. He is cited by later Sri-Vaisnava authors, and Vedanta Desika says that only Yadava's "treatise on the dharma of renouncers is unanimously accepted by the learned, just as Manu's law book and the like."29 [Yatilingabhedabhangavada of the Satadusani. See Olivelle 1987, 82.] The medieval period saw the proliferation of similar compendia of ascetic rules and customs, although none can match the depth, comprehensiveness, and lucidity of Yadava's work.30 [Kane (HDh I: 989-1158) lists over eighty such works. Many more have come to light since Kane published his work in 1930. Almost all these works exist only in manuscript and, therefore, are unavailable to all but the most assiduous of scholars. Among the ones published are Visvesvara Sarasvati's Yatidharmasamgraha (cf. YDhS) and Vasudevasrama's Yatidharmaprakasa (ed. and trans. Olivelle 1976 and 1977).]

One of the few, and clearly the most important, independent medieval works on renunciation that is not a mere handbook is Vidyaranya's (literary activity 1330—1385 C.E.) Jivanmuktiviveka. Written from an Advaita Vedanta standpoint, it deals with the state of a renouncer who has achieved the liberating knowledge of Brahman and contains a commentary on the Paramahamsa Upanisad.

The Samnyasa Upanisads fall broadly into the pattern of development traced above. The earlier texts are largely written in prose and often exhibit the pithy style of the sutra genre; this is most evident in the Nirvana Upanisad. Some of them probably existed as texts of the sutra tradition before they were classified as Upanisads.31 [For more details of the prehistory of the early Samnyasa Upanisads, see Sprockhoff 1976. Sprockhoff (1987) has drawn special attention to the similarities between the Kathasruti Upanisad and a section of the Manavasrautasutra.] The Asrama Upanisad, for example, has many recensions, some of which are considered as smrtis.32 [For the textual history of this Upanisad and its relation to the Kanvayana or Katyayana-smrti, see Sprockhoff 1976, 120-124.] Some of the later documents within the Samnyasa Upanisads, such as the Naradaparivrajaka Upanisad, on the other hand, show all the characteristics of medieval legal compendia (nibandha). These later Upanisads are collections of passages, some in prose but mostly in verse, from older smrtis and other sources. Unlike the nibandhas, however, they do not reveal their sources. It appears likely that these later documents were composed deliberately in a manner that would allow them to be perceived as Upanisads.

The fact that the major monasteries of early medieval India—monasteries where the old ascetic texts were preserved and new ones produced—belonged to the Advaita Vedanta tradition may explain the strong Advaita leaning of most of the Samnyasa Upanisads. Old texts with different views may not have been preserved; others may have been recast in the Advaita mold. The only Upanisad of our collection with a non-Advaita, or even an anti-Advaita, orientation is the Satyayaniya, and it was undoubtedly composed within the Sri-Vaisnava camp, possibly to counter the Advaita bias of the others.
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Part 1 of 3

The Production and Reproduction of a Monument: The Many Lives of the Sanchi Stupa 
by Tapati Guha-Thakurta
April, 2010

Email: Centre for Studies in Social Sciences. Calcutta South Asian Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1, 77-109,

This essay considers the many lives of the ancient Buddhist stupa complex at Sanchi, tracing its transformations from a disused ruin and a site of ravage and pilferage to one of the best-preserved standing stupa complexes of antiquity. It engages with nineteenth-century histories of Sanchi's passage from discovered and excavated relic to portable object and image, exploring some of the processes of its imaging, replication, display, and documentation that preceded and paralleled the intense spurt of photography at the site, highlighting the tightening institutional grip of the colonial state and the intensification of the practices of archaeological repair, conservation, and care, culminating in the ‘Marshall era’. Contending claims for control and custody attended the politics of the possession and resacralization of the site, intensifying the vortex of secular and sacred, archaeological and devotional consecrations that accompanied Sanchi's transition from a colonial to a national monument. In conclusion, Sanchi's travels and afterlives are explored as a secular architectural form and consecrated religious monument, within and outside the nation, in postcolonial and contemporary times.
Situated on the small hillock of Sanchi amidst the Vindhya mountain range, 46 kilometres from the state capital of Bhopal in the Slate of Madhya Pradesh, is a cluster of structures of an ancient Buddhist stupa complex dating from the third century BCE. The guidebook of the Archaeological Survey of India presents Sanchi as unique in 'having the most perfect and well-preserved stupas anywhere in India'.1 The consecration of this stupa complex under the Mauryan emperor Asoka harks back to the years of the institutional foundations of Buddhism, when the building of such structures and the geographical distribution of these sacred relics across the empire and Sri Lanka played a crucial role in the state-sponsored propagation of the faith.2 The monumental function of these structures can be well dated back to these ancient times. But if we were to take a different modern notion of the 'monument', then it is in colonial India, in the course of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, that we witness a new monumental metamorphosis of this ancient Buddhist site. The birth of the monument is then tied up with a distinctly imperial history of the remaking of the ancient pasts of modern India.
The transformation of Sanchi from a disused ruin and a site of ravage and pilferage to one of the best-preserved standing stupa complexes of antiquity was the proud achievement of the Director-General of Indian archaeology, Sir John Hubert Marshall
(Figures 1, 2). It was in the course of Marshall's operations, from 1912 to 1918, that the complex took on much of its current-day appearance -- when, to quote Marshall, 'one and all the monuments [were put] into as thorough and lasting state of repair as possible', and one of the country's earliest site museums was set up at Sanchi, where all the 'movable antiquities' (sculptures, architectural fragments, and inscriptions) from the site were collected, arranged, and catalogued.) Sanchi occupies a central place in the triumphalist claims of colonial Indian archaeology, which could boast of its own 'Marshall era': a time of spectacular reconstructions of the country's decaying archaeological sites.4
1. 'Sanchi, General View south of the Topes, 1913-1914'. Photograph from the John Marshall album. Courtesy of Alkazi Collection of Photography, New Delhi.
This essay looks back from the vantage point of the celebrated 'Marshall era' to a series of earlier moments that mark out the colonial biography of Sanchi. These moments, I argue, reveal a far more fractured encounter with modernity and a more muddled history in the transition of the site from ruin to monument than there is room for in the standard narratives of the authoritative remaking of the ancient site by the institutions and expertise of modern archaeology.5 The first section of the essay engages with these nineteenth-century histories of Sanchi's passage from discovered and excavated relic to portable object and image, exploring some of the processes of imaging, replication, display and documentation that preceded and paralleled the intense spurt of photography at the site. My idea of the 'many lives' of this monumental complex is built around its off-site careers as object and image in different exhibitions, museums, and scholarly compendia. These, in turn, contributed to a growing monumentalization of the structures on site under the tightening institutional grip of the colonial state and the intensification of the practices of archaeological repair, conservation, and care, culminating in the 'Marshall era.' The next section briefly revisits the history of the site in this era to critically open up some of the implications of Marshall's archaeological project by considering other claimants for control and custody and other players in the politics of the possession and resacralization of the site in the same and subsequent decades. In doing so, I wish to underline the competing semantic layers in the restitution of the 'true' pasts of Sanchi, and the new vortex of secular and sacred, archaeological and devotional consecrations that attended its transition from a colonial to a national monument. In the final section I touch on some of Sanchi's travels and afterlives, as a secular architectural form and consecrated religious monument, within and outside the nation, in postcolonial and contemporary times. From the middle years of the nineteenth century into the present, we see the aura of the in situ monument continuously refracted by its portability and reproducibility as form, image, and copy in changing locations to serve different commemorative functions.
The ravage of discovery
'The main injury to Sanchi', it is now widely argued, 'was caused by the vandalism of modern excavators'.6 Highlighted with increasing intensity in all later histories of Sanchi, this point of view is ingrained even in the successive accounts of nineteenth-century British surveyors of the site. What it highlights is the general nature of early colonial archaeological explorations, where 'collateral damage' appeared to be an inevitable fallout of the imperatives of antiquarian curiosity and collecting where narratives of native disinterest and misuse of ancient stones could nonetheless be effectively invoked to offset the correctness and the legitimacy of the white man's intrusions. On many counts, the stupa complex at Sanchi was far more fortunate than its period counterparts at Bharhut in the Nagod district of the Central Provinces and at Amaravati in the Guntur district of the Madras Presidency. It did not suffer the kind of large-scale removal of its sculpted stones and railing pillars, as much by the local populace as by colonial officials, which, in the other cases, rendered impossible the preservation of the remains on-site and made for their reassembled, reconstructed existence within the museums of the empire.7 At Sanchi, what the first British explorers initially encountered were two remarkably well-preserved stupas, one large and the other smaller, alongside an intact outer railing and three still-erect elaborately sculpted gateways around the main edifice.8
2. View of the Great Stupa, after the restoration of the berm railing. 1918-19 Sanchi. Silver gelatin print, reproduced in the Annual Report of the Director General of Archaeology for the year 1918-19 Plate VII. Courtesy of Alkazi Collectino of Photography. New Delhi.
In 1819, Captain Edward Fell of the 10th Native Infantry -- one of the period's growing breed of army officials-turned-Orientalist scholars, to whom is attributed the first modern-day account of Sanchi -- described with awe the size and sturdiness of the great hemispherical dome, 'to all appearance solid', its outer mortar coating still in 'perfect preservation' except in one or two places where it had been washed away by rain.9 Ironically, it was the very existence of such a preserved dome that now exposed the Great Stupa and its smaller pair to the new archaeological assault of being 'opened up'. Opening up these 'topes' (as they were called), by driving a shaft through the top towards the centre of the hemisphere to reach the inner chambers and ferret out the reliquary sacred caskets, would become the specialized pastime of travelling antiquarians in British India. By the middle years of the nineteenth century it had emerged as a particular forte of the pioneering field-archaeologist Alexander Cunningham,10 who had first performed this operation at the Dhamek stupa at Sarnath in 1834, and then, it is said, with greater effect at the main stupa at Sanchi, during his intensive exploration of the site with Lt. Col. F. C. Maisey in the early months of 1851. What seems to have been at issue within the early annals of archaeology in India was less the 'correctness' of such a venture than the expertise and care with which it could be carried out.
What Captain Fell had stopped short of executing (despite his great curiosity and speculation about the internal construction of this massive stone mound) was undertaken a few years later, in 1822, by another amateur explorer, T. H. Maddock, the political agent of the princely state of Bhopal, along with his assistant Captain Johnson. As commented in all accounts, it was the distinctly inexpert nature of Maddock and Johnson's operations -- whereby they drove shafts into the body of the stupa from the top and the sides, without succeeding in reaching the centre -- which led to large structural breaches in the brick-work and half-destroyed the domes that Captain Fell had seen standing in 'perfect repair' only a few years earlier.11 Three decades later, the claimed scientificity and success of Alexander Cunningham's renewed opening of the Sanchi stupas has also remained a matter of contention within the archaeological discipline and its historians.12
At the time, the end results, it seems, amply justified the operations. By penetrating the hidden depths of the mounds and retrieving from within the glazed-black inscribed reliquary caskets, Cunningham was able to identify the names of several Buddhist monks whose remains were buried within the cluster of stupas in this Bhilsa region, establishing the existence at the site of the funerary relics of two of Buddha's foremost disciples, Sariputra and Mahamogalana.

Now I'll come to the main point, context and significance of the Library of Congress scroll. What's it about? Well, I call it the "Many Buddhas Sutra." I would describe it as a combined comparative biographical summary of the lives of 15 Buddhas beginning with Dipankara, who lived many billions of years ago, and ending with Sakyamuni or Siddharta or "our Buddha" as he's sometimes called. And then going on one more to Maitreya or Ajita who is the next Buddha. So those 14 Buddhas in the past and one Buddha in the future. So these are the 15 Buddhas involved. Start with Dipankara. Number 14 is Sakyamuni who actually is Sakyamuni the second, surprisingly. And then on to Maitreya in the future...

There's another related text which contains these lists of buddhas and their times and their characteristics. It's called the Bhadrakalpikasutra. Some of you might be familiar with it. And Bhadrakalpika means it talks about the bhadrakalpa, kalpa means eon. And it's a list of buddhas but not from the past but looking ahead in the future. So it actually starts with the first Buddha in the bhadrakalpa that is Kakusandha and goes through Sakyamuni, our Buddha, and Maitreya and then 996 more buddhas are still to come within this Bhadra era. ... So at this point, you might be wondering the text that I'm primarily concerned with contains 15 buddhas. I mentioned another one that enumerates 1001 buddhas and there are many other numbers. There's a famous early sutra, the [inaudible] sutra, which has seven buddhas which seems to be the original number. There's another polytext called Buddhavamsa which lists 25 buddhas. And significantly in that case, it lists 25 buddhas but it begins with Dipankara and that's particularly an important moment within the history of the buddhas plural, Dipankara has a special importance which I will explain in a few minutes. Just I'll mention one other number, the Mahavastu which is a Sanskrit biography of the Buddha, also has a list of buddhas. It has a long list, 331,140,263 buddhas from the remote inconceivable past down to the present time of Sakyamuni...

So how many buddhas are there? I finally come back to the question. Infinite number. Why infinite? Because time is infinite in the Buddhas conception both in the past and the future. There is no beginning. There is no end. And throughout history, buddhas are either present or most of the time in the process of forming at some time. And that's why the Mahavastu can say in all seriousness that there are 331 million et cetera buddhas. There're actually much more than that. There are an infinite number. But these different texts or these different presentations, usually by the Buddha himself, simply address the issue or explain the issue in a limited scope because you can't, well the Buddha can talk about, understand eternity but we can't. So it takes -- These different texts are really slices of history, slices of Buddha history, which is infinite from beginning to end. Some of them talk about the recent past. Some of them talk about a little farther in the past. Some go into the future. Some are concerned mainly with the future. But they're all just pieces of the big picture. I call them slices of history...

In the list of 15, there's Sakyamuni the first and of course it doesn't say the first. I just put together those numbers. He was number eight. I don't know. I'm not sure. And then Sakyamuni the second. But there's another point about that which I didn't mention. I talked about that list in the Mahavastu of 331,140,263 buddhas. What I didn't say is that out of the 300 million, out of the 331, 300 million were named Sakyamuni. And according to that text, there was a stretch of 30 million buddhas in a row that were all had the same name. And I have thought about and failed to understand what that, why that is and what that means. But there is -- You know, buddhas are and by impression, they're more or less the same and their images, I don't think I have one here, but you see in Gandhari and other sculptures, you see sets of buddhas like the seven buddhas or sometimes eight buddhas and they're all almost exactly the same. So there seems to be a range of possibilities that buddhas are always similar and they can be very similar and sometimes they are absolutely identical.

-- One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas, by Richard Salomon

On 2 February 1898 — that is to say, when Fuhrer was still deeply entrenched in his main dig at Sagarwa — the Government of Burma wrote to the Government of the NWP&O concerning complaints it had received from a monk named U Ma. These involved a certain Dr. A. A. Fuhrer, Archaeological Surveyor to the Government of the NWP&O. Shin U Ma had first taken the complaints to a local government official in Burma, Brian Houghton, and had then backed them up with tangible evidence in the form of letters received from Dr. Fuhrer. Houghton had duly passed U Ma's complaints and copies of his letters on to government headquarters in Rangoon, as a consequence of which they arrived on the desk of the Chief Secretary to the Government of the NWP&O, who passed them on to the Secretary of the Department of Revenue and Agriculture, Archaeology and Epigraphy. From there they made their way to the desk of the Commissioner of Lucknow.

As soon as he returned to his offices at the Lucknow Museum in early March Fuhrer was confronted with the communication from Burma and asked to explain himself. According to the file, his letters to the Burmese monk went back as far as September 1896, when he had written to U Ma about some Buddhist relics he had sent him, allegedly obtained from Sravasti. The contents of this first letter indicate that the two had met while the Burmese was on a pilgrimage to the holy sites in India and had struck up a friendship not unlike that described by Rudyard Kipling in his novel Kim (then in the process of being written in England), which begins with a wandering Tibetan lama being greatly moved by the knowledge of Buddhism shown by the Curator of the Lahore Museum (Rudyard's father J. L. Kipling).

Dr. Fuhrer and U Ma had then come to some arrangement for the one to send the other further relics. On 19 November 1896 Fuhrer wrote again to U Ma to say that:

The relics of Tathagata [Sakyamuni Buddha] sent off yesterday were found in the stupa erected by the Sakyas at Kapilavatthu over the corporeal relics (saririka-dhatus) of the Lord. These relics were found by me during an excavation of 1886, and are placed in the same relic caskets of soapstone in which they were found. The four votive tablets of Buddha surrounded the relic casket. The ancient inscription found on the spot with the relics will follow, as I wish to prepare a transcript and translation of the same for you.

This letter of 19 November 1896 was written more than a year after Fuhrer's first trip into Nepal made in March 1895 (during which he made his discovery of the Asokan inscription on the stump at Nigliva Sagar), but just before he set out on his second foray into Nepal (where he would meet up with General Khadga Shumsher Rana at Paderiya on 1 December 1896). Yet already, it seems, he had found Kapilavastu. In the year referred to in his letter — 1886 — he was still a relative newcomer to the NWP&O Archaeological Department and had yet to conduct his first excavation.

Fuhrer's next letter to U Ma was dated 6 March 1897, three months after his much trumpeted Lumbini and Kapilavastu discoveries. In it he referred to more Buddha relics in his keeping which he would hold on to until U Ma returned to India. Seven weeks later, on 23 June, there was a first reference to a 'tooth relic of Lord Buddha', and five weeks on, on 28 August, a further reference to 'a real and authentic tooth relic of the Buddha Bhagavat [Teacher, thus Sakyamuni]' that he was about to post to U Ma.

The letters now began to come thick and fast. On 21 September Dr. Fuhrer despatched 'a molar tooth of Lord Buddha Gaudama Sakyamuni ... found by me in a stupa erected at Kapilavatthu, where King Suddhodana lived. That it is genuine there can be no doubt.'
The tooth was followed on 30 September by an Asokan inscription Fuhrer claimed to have found at Sravasti. Then on 13 December Fuhrer wrote to say that he was now encamped at Kapilavastu, in the Nepal Tarai, where he had uncovered 'three relic caskets with dhatus [body relics] of the Lord Buddha Sakyamuni, adding that he would send these relics to U Ma at the end of March. What is most odd here is that on 13 December 1897 Fuhrer had not yet entered the Nepal Tarai, having been given strict instructions that he was not to do so until 20 December.

This bizarre hoaxing — for no element of financial fraud seems to have been involved — could not go on. The arrival in Burma of the Buddha's molar tooth seems to have been too much for the hitherto credulous Burmese monk, who soon afterwards wrote what sounds like a very angry letter protesting at the remarkable size of the tooth in question. This letter was evidently forwarded from Lucknow to Basti and then probably carried by mail runner to Fuhrer's 'Camp Kapilavastu' at Sagarwa. It was replied to on 16 February 1898, when the Archaeological Surveyor was still encamped at Sagarwa. Writing at some length, Fuhrer went to great pains to mollify the Burmese, declaring that he could quite understand why 'the Buddhadanta [Buddha relic] that I sent you a short while ago is looked upon with suspicion by non-Buddhists, as it is quite different from any ordinary human tooth' — as indeed it was, since it was most probably a horse's tooth — 'But you will know that Bhagavat Buddha was no ordinary being, as he was 18 cubits in height [27' @ 18"/cubit; 48' @ 32"/cubit] as your sacred writings state. His teeth would therefore not have been shaped like others: In a further bid to shore up the credibility of the tooth, Fuhrer went on to say that he would send U Ma —

an ancient inscription that was found by me along with the tooth. It says, 'This sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha is the gift of Upagupta.' As you know, Upagupta was the teacher of Asoka, the great Buddhist emperor of India. In Asoka's time, about 250 BC, this identical tooth was believed to be a relic of the Buddha Sakyamuni. My own opinion is that the tooth in question is a genuine relic of Buddha.

This supposed Asokan inscription was afterwards found to be written in perfectly accurate Brahmi Prakrit, its most obvious models being the many similar relic inscriptions found at Sanchi and other Buddhist sites, with which Fuhrer was very familiar through his work on Epigraphia Indica.

-- The Buddha and Dr. Fuhrer: An Archaeological Scandal, by Charles Allen


Emboldened by the success of this 'opening' and the rich historical data it yielded, and driven by his zeal to uncover India's ancient Buddhist past, Cunningham, in his book, The Bhilsa Topes (1854), impressed upon the Court of Directors of the Company the need for 'the employment of a competent officer to open the numerous Topes which still exist in North and South Babar, and to draw up a report on all the Buddhist remains of Kapila and Kusinagara, of Vaishali and Rajagriha, which were the principal scenes of Sakya's labours'.13
Such a statement would serve as one of the founding directives behind the setting up of the country's first Archaeological Survey in 1861 under the direction of Cunningham, paving the way for the increasing priority of material remains over textual records as 'sources' for India's lost histories. And it is broadly this narrative of excavations and discoveries that has continued to prevail in the story of the progressive unfolding of archaeology in colonial India, even as later officials and scholars have berated Cunningham for failing to repair the structural breaches he made on the body of the stupas, and for his personal aggrandisement and careless dispersal of many of the 'treasures' he had extracted from them. These continuous arrogations of credit and blame, during different periods of explorations and conservation, come to us now as an integral part of the archaeological making and remaking of monuments in British India.
The production of images
If throughout this period the urge to dig, break open, and collect was a driving force, so too was the will to visually preserve what was seen and unearthed. The act of copying would become a primary way of arresting decay, countering damage, and documenting structures for posterity.14 Sanchi in the early and mid-nineteenth century offers itself as one such key site of imaging and copying, even as its monuments suffered some of the most obvious effects of 'destruction through excavation'.15 Captain Fell's report of 1819 provides one of the earliest samples of an ethnographic scrutiny of Sanchi's famous legacy of the gateway sculptures -- descriptions and measurements of all the various human and animal types who adorned the lintels, pillars, and cornices, along with the details of postures, gestures, drapery, head-dress, and scenes of ritual ceremonies and worship. Lamenting his 'want of sufficient ability in the art of drawing to do justice to the highly finished style of the sculptures', the only image that accompanied his article was a crude 'native drawing' of a sculpted panel depicting the worship of a stupa by tiered rows of figures (Figure 3).16
3. Sculpted frieze, Sanchi. Engraved drawing, reproduced in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 3 (1834), Plate XXVII.
4. Frederick Charles Maisey: Rear view of the full standing structure of the northern gateway. Sanchi. Coloured lithograph from F. C Maisey. Sanchi and its Remains (London: Keagan Paul, Trench. Trubner & Co., 1892), Plate IV.
4. Frederick Charles Maisey: Sculpted panel with ladder signifying Buddha's descent from heaven, Sanchi. Coloured lithograph from F. C Maisey. Sanchi and its Remains (London: Keagan Paul, Trench. Trubner & Co., 1892), Plate IX.
The mid-century brought with it a spurt of textual description and documentation of the site, first in an account by J. D. Cunningham, an army engineer who was then Political Agent in the Bhopal Durbar, and then in the publication in 1854 of the book, The Bhilsa Topes, by his famous brother Alexander Cunningham. For all the damage that his excavations entailed, Cunningham, it is acknowledged, did an exemplary service in documenting his finds in this first of his scholarly monographs, providing 'the first systematic exposition of the character, sculpture, and inscriptional wealth of the stupas.'17 Side by side with Cunningham's textual labours appeared twenty-three finely-engraved line drawings, which move between the diagrammatic and pictorial -- taking us from the lay-out of the site and architectural elevations of the structures to representations of the sculpted figures and scenes of the gateways, all the principal relic caskets, and the different symbols of the Buddhist faith that were to be found in the Sanchi sculptures.18
5. James Fergusson, 'Ruins of the Black Pagoda of Konarak'. Lithograph prepared by T. C. Dibdin from his on-site sketch. From Fergusson, Picturesque Illustrations of Ancient Architecture in Hindostan (London: J. Hogarth, 1848).
More than Cunningham, it was his assistant, Lieutenant Frederick Charles Maisey, who carried the main onus of visual documentation during their extensive survey of the site in 1851. Acting on a deputation from the Company's Court of Directors, Maisey's attention was focused on the gateway 'bas reliefs', which he laboriously recorded through drawing, copying entire gateways, pillars, and balustrades alongside individual sculpted panels. Four decades later, in 1892, Maisey's drawing of the sculptures would appear as tinted lithographs in a book containing a full description of all 'the ancient buildings, sculptures, and inscriptions at Sanchi'. Much of the documentary worth of this book, however, would be overshadowed by the author's controversial argument about the evidence he had garnered on 'the comparatively modern date of the Buddhism of Gotama or Sakya Muni'.19 In a period that saw a large outpouring of European scholarship on Buddhism in ancient India, Maisey's views were quickly dismissed as ill-founded -- motivated, as Cunningham pointed out, only by 'the pious wish to prove that Christianity was prior to Buddhism', even as Cunningham acknowledged the author's intimate acquaintance with the Sanchi stupas and recommended the numerous plates of the book 'as they give very faithful copies of the sculptures on a large scale' (Figures 4a, 4b).20 These images wrought by Maisey stand as the first in a long line of the visual imaging of the gateway sculptures of Sanchi, presaging their modern life as the most photographed objects of ancient Indian art.
From the late eighteenth to the mid-nineteenth century -- from travelling artists like William Hodges or the Daniells to antiquarians and collectors like Richard Gough and Colin Mackenzie down to the architectural scholar James Fergusson -- a growing premium was placed on the site drawing of ancient monuments that could then be embellished and developed into a coloured engraving or lithograph (Figure 5). In an age of rapidly changing printing technologies, engraving and lithographs opened up a range of reproductive possibilities, feeding into the production of the first photographic images of ancient structures. One of the gateways of Sanchi found its way as one such finely-wrought lithographed image into the head of Fergusson's early work, Picturesque Illustrations of Ancient Architecture of Hindostan (1848), to mark the antiquity and grand beginnings of Indian architecture (Figure 6). It was the only monument in the book that Fergusson had not seen and drawn first-hand, but he vouched for the correctness of the image by comparing it with Colin Mackenzie's drawing of the structure in the course of the latter's extensive survey and documentation.21 Already by the mid-nineteenth century, the Mackenzie drawings gathered in the India Museum in London were serving as an off-location archive of images on Indian antiquities for scholars in London. In the 1860s, the Maisey drawings of the Sanchi sculptures, which by then had travelled to London to be stored in the library of the India Office, would fulfil a similar and even larger need for Fergusson.
6. A Sanchi gateway. Lithographed drawing. Used as frontispiece, first in Fergusson, Picturesque Illustrations of Ancient Architecture in Hindostan, and later in Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship (London: India Museum, W. H. Allen, 1868).
7. Frederick Charles Maisey. Sculpted panel showing Queen Maya's dream, Prince Siddhartha's departure from Kapilvastu, and worship at the Bodhi tree, Sanchi. Lithograph of drawing, used in Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship, Plate XXXIII.
It was in a display and a publication spearheaded by Fergusson that the monuments of Sanchi would embark on a new global career as images. The occasion was the Paris International Exhibition of 1867, for which Fergusson was working on presenting a display of photographs and plaster casts of Indian architecture and sculpture. This is when, in the course of his search for ideal architectural specimens in the collections of the India Museum at Fife House in London, he came upon a large hoard of limestone sculptures from the stupa site of Amaravati, which had been lying abandoned for years then, first in the dockyards, then in the rear coach houses of Fife House, ever since their shipment to London in the mid-1850s.22 It is ironic to juxtapose this notorious history of the dispersal and neglect of the Amaravati 'marbles' in Madras and in London with the careful storage in the same years of the drawings of Mackenzie and Maisey in the India Museum and the India Office. The visual record had a need and a status that had, at times, even transcended the fate of the original. This anomaly was now fast resolved -- even as the potentials of the new technology of photography were mobilised in the process of the institutional reclaiming of the Amaravati sculptures. Between Sanchi and Amaravati, we see one of the earliest on- and off-site deployments of photography in the staging of archaeological scholarship and museum displays. While the photographer Linnaeus Tripe was commissioned to photograph the sculptural panels of Amaravati in the Madras Museum in 1858,23 in the winter of 1866-67 Fergusson undertook the services of W. Griggs, the photographer attached to the India Museum, to have a complete set of photographs made on the same scale as the panels as an aid for the reassembling of the fragments in the museum. These enlarged photographs and lithographed drawings of Amaravati, alongside a few select specimens of the original 'marbles', found pride of place in Fergusson's display of Indian architecture at the Paris exhibition, and occasioned the publication of an entire volume on these sculptures.24
James Waterhouse, Northern Gateway of the Great Stupa at Sanchi. Used in Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship. Courtesy of the British Library, London.
Fergusson's discovery at the same time of the album of Maisey drawings in the India Office and his acquisition of a set of photographs of Sanchi taken by Lieutenant Waterhouse, R. A. (to date, the earliest photographs of the site), would also ensure for Sanchi a place in the same display and volume. Identified as the older of the two 'Topes', Sanchi would now be placed prior to Amaravati in the line of antiquity and the chain of excellence of India's early Buddhist art.25 That Fergusson's richly-illustrated volume on the Sanchi and the Amaravati sculptures carried the title Tree and Serpent Worship, and that it contained a large section tracing such rituals of worship though the ancient Western European and East Asian cultures down to India, to eventually hone in on the specific representations of such symbols and scenes in the Sanchi and Amaravati sculptures, has rendered this work something of an oddity in Indian art-historical scholarship.

© Jean-Pierre Dalbéra - Depiction of Akhenaten and his family

Plate L. Elevation of the external faces of two pillars of outer enclosure, Amravati. Tree & Serpent Worship, or Illustrations of Mythology and Art in India, From the Topes at Sanchi and Amravati, by James Fergusson, F.R.S., 1868

In its time, however, it augured a widespread mode of reading sculptures as evidence for a racial and ethnological history of ancient India, drawing from them clues to the appearance, dress, customs, and faith of the people of the period. And it was precisely to aid such modes of reading that the details and accuracy of the imaging of the sculptures became crucial in the volume, with Maisey's lithographed drawings of the sculptures and Waterhouse's photographs of the structures brought together to closely supplement each other's functions[/i] (Figures 7, 8).26[/b]
Fergusson's display on Indian architecture at the Paris exhibition and the subsequent publication of his Tree and Serpent Worship coincided with the presentation in 1869 of an elaborate Report on the Illustration of the Archaic Architecture of Hindostan, by J. Forbes Watson, the Director of the India Museum in London.27 The report elaborated on the suitability of particular objects for one type of illustration as against another. While photography was singled out as the most complete form of documentation, coloured drawings were seen to be essential for capturing the fine details of tile, mosaic, and inlaid decoration, while moulds and casts were seen as best for marking the different styles of architectural ornament. The key concerns were with truth and precision, the detail and the whole. Each illustration was to stand as a source of complete and accurate knowledge on the represented object, and each was to be linked with the other within a historical sequence and series.28 The end product was to be an ordered and classified visual archive -- the kind of panoptic archive that had become germane to the modern discipline of art history.29
From his distant base in England, Fergusson had a special investment in the rigour and thoroughness of this illustrative project -- in the availability of a comprehensive photographic archive on India's monumental heritage which he could rely on as his prime resource in the processing of a pan-Indian history. Already by the 1860s he claimed to have amassed over five hundred photographs of India's architectural sites, selections from which he placed on display at the Paris International Exposition.30 The Art Library of the South Kensington Museum also seemed to have had a similar stock of photographs, from which two hundred were exhibited at the Society of Arts on the occasion of Fergusson's lecture on the Study of Indian Architecture.31 It is from this collection that he published in 1869 the first handy compendium of fifteen photographs as Illustration of Various Styles of Indian Architecture, once again featuring a photograph of a Sanchi gateway as the inaugural point of this history.32
Travels of the gateway
The same years saw a far more spectacular encounter of British museum-goers with the Sanchi monument. In the summer of 1870, a full-size plaster cast model of the eastern gateway of the Great Stupa arrived in the Liverpool docks, for display in the South Kensington Museum. The monumentality of this cast would play a significant role in the designing of the special Architectural Courts of the museum in the early 1870s. In a photograph of 1872 we see the gateway installed amidst other architectural facades from India, 33 feet high, looming towards the sky-light of the arched ceiling, dwarfing the other cast of a corbelled pillar from the Diwani-i-Khas building of Fatehpur Sikri (Figure 9). These Architectural Courts, with their plaster casts of great works of architecture and art from across the world, were meant to overwhelm the visitor with the sheer physical size of the exhibits, and the technical prowess that had gone into their making. The Sanchi gateway stood here as the grandest symbol of the distant Indian empire, of imperial custodianship of India's ancient architectural heritage, rivalling in its antiquity and artistry the casts of famous Western objects like the Trajan column from Imperial Rome or Michelangelo's David from Renaissance Florence in the adjoining courts.33

9. Plaster cast of the Eastern Gateway of the Sanchi Stupa in the Architectural Court of the South Kensington Museum, London, c. 1872-73. Albumen print. Courtesy of The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Montreal. Reproduced from Pelizzari, Traces of India: Photography. Architecture and the Politics of Representation (Montreal: CCA, 2003).

The formation of these grand Architectural Courts at South Kensington had been facilitated by a pan-European imperial monarchical convention, signed during the Paris International Exhibition of 1867, in which fifteen reigning princes agreed to promote the reproduction (through casts, electrotypes, and photographs) of art and architectural works from all over the world for museums in Europe. The knowledge of such monuments, it was believed, was 'essential to the progress of art', and with the advance in reproductive technologies that cause could now be fulfilled in Europe 'without the slightest damage to the originals'.34 The colony in India offered a wealth of ancient artistic traditions for the elucidation of the West, with the Sanchi gateway now proclaiming as much the antiquity of that tradition as the magnitude of the empire that had taken charge of its discovery and dissemination. The prestige of this particular architectural cast at South Kensington in that period is borne out by the commissioning of several replicas of this piece for transportation to museums in Edinburgh, Paris, and Berlin, and display at the London International Exhibition of 1871.
It was a matter of immense good fortune for the site that what came to travel was only this marvel of a physical replica and not the original gateways. For, in the prior decades, some of the empire's archaeologists and officials had seriously pushed for the removal to London of two of the actual gateways (the ones still fully standing and in near perfect condition) in the prime interests of their safekeeping. Concerned about the rampant pilferage and dispersal of excavated treasures from sites, Cunningham during his excavation at Sanchi in 1851 appealed to the Court of Directors to arrange for proper vigilance for all the antiquities on site. At the same time, he also unhesitatingly recommended the transportation of the two still-standing northern and eastern gateways of the Great Stupa to the British Museum, 'where they would form the most striking objects in a Hall of Indian Antiquities'. The value and appeal of these sculpted gateways in London, he believed, would be greatly enhanced by the account contained of them in his book, while 'their removal to England would ensure the preservation and availability for study to future scholars.'35 In 1853 H. M. Durand, political agent at the Bhopal Durbar, narrowed the proposal to the removal of one rather than two of the two standing gateways, with the suggestion that Sikander Begum, ruler of Bhopal, be persuaded to make this offer of the grandest of archaeological 'gifts' to Queen Victoria. What stalled the offer was the unavailability of the kind of expertise needed for the dismantling and shipment of so many tonnes of stone without destroying the structure and its carvings. Even in this inglorious act of robbing Sanchi of one of her gateways, the Court of Directors paradoxically held high the need for utmost care in this process of removal to prevent any further damage to the structure and to the main stupa. By the time arrangements were complete to conduct the job with the requisite care, the rebellions of 1857 intervened, giving the gateway a fresh lease of life on site.36
Ten years later, the proposal for the travel abroad of the same eastern gateway came up again -- this time as a request that came from the French Consul General in India for the 'gift' of the gateway to Emperor Napoleon III, who wished to have it installed at the Paris International Exhibition of 1867. The Begum of Bhopal, however, felt that the British Museum had the first claims to the structure, if it was to travel at all. That the Begum's renewed offer was now turned down by the colonial authorities, most forcefully by the viceroy himself, was a clear sign of the period's growing emphasis on in situ conservation of monuments and its mounting programmes for the preparation of plaster casts, drawings, and photographs of objects for museum collections. 'It would be an act of vandalism', it was declared, 'little creditable to the British government, to let the gateway go either to London or Paris'.37 So the eastern gateway stayed where it was, with elaborate plans afoot for constructing its exact three-dimensional replica for display at the South Kensington Architectural Courts.

10. Charles Shepherd. Casting operations in process, under the supervision of H. H. Cole, at the Quwwat-ul-Islam mosque complex, Delhi, c. 1870. Albumen print. Courtesy of The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Montreal. Reproduced from Pelizzari, Traces of India.
The details of the official correspondence concerning this mammoth casting operation at Sanchi bear ample testimony to the urgency and importance attached to it.38 An entire cargo containing 28 tonnes of plaster of paris and gelatine was carried by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company from London to Calcutta, along with eighty-eight special boxes lined in tin, so that the casts could be retained in them for transportation to England. The material was then carried across by bullock cart to the site for the execution of the casts. Although the plan was to produce three separate casts of the structure (for museums in London, Paris, and Berlin), it was found eventually to be more time and cost effective to produce one perfect cast in around fifty small parts, a job that itself took four months to complete, between December 1869 and March 1870. What was called the 'parent cast' was then packed, in all its parts, in the tins in which they were moulded, and shipped to England, where the pieces were laboriously assembled to recreate the standing edifice. And it was from this master replica that further copies were prepared at South Kensington for Paris and Berlin.39
Supervising the entire project was Lieutenant Henry Hardy Cole of the Royal Engineers. Son of Sir Henry Cole, Superintendent of the South Kensington Museum, trained in London in different techniques of plaster cast modelling, Cole was then functioning in India as a key agent in the procuring of drawings, photographs, and casts of Indian architecture for his father's museum.
In the same year that he worked at Sanchi, he would also extend his modelling operations to the carved pillars of the Qutb mosque at Delhi and of the Ibadat Khana in the Diwan-i-Khas at Fatehpur Sikri.40 A rare photograph from the Qutb site vividly enacts such theatres of cast making, with Cole standing in command, directing the preparation of moulds by local workers (Figure 10). Even as he prepared the plaster cast at Sanchi, Cole also worked on a set of detailed drawings of the carvings of all the four gateways, which were lithographed and stored in the India Museum, and also had a full set of photographs made of the subjects of the gateway sculptures from the cast that was installed at South Kensington.41 In the imperial museum complex, drawings, casts, and photographs can be seen as forming a close-knit ensemble of ordered knowledge of Indian art and architecture.
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Part 2 of 3

Conservation and the new photographic regime
Lieutenant H. H. Cole in India would not only act as a central conduit in the forming of this multi-media imperial archive of images of India's monumental heritage. He would also initiate a new wave of in situ archaeological conservation of historic buildings, leading to his appointment in 1880 to the new office of the Curator of Ancient Monuments in India. Between 1880 and 1884 he would tour the length and breadth of the country in much the same way as James Fergusson or Alexander Cunningham, identifying for each season a territorial belt and all the architectural monuments in that zone to be examined, described, and documented. Cunningham's surveys and reports would find a worthy parallel in the reports, drawings, and photographic albums generated by Cole during his brief tenure in this office.42 What emerges as central in Cole's project is once more the exercise of visual imaging and the production of the perfect copy. It was H. H. Cole's special charge to make each drawing, plan, or plate a register of the current physical state of the monument under survey, and a pointer to the kind of renovations to be undertaken on each. Most important of all, each image was to become a collectible and reproducible resource -- something that could be possessed and distributed among art schools and museums in India and abroad, while maintaining the monuments on site.
Lala Deen Dayal. Filling in the breach in the Great Dome, Sanchi, c. 1882. Albumen print. The British Library, Microfiche Collection (ASIO), Fiche 43, 1416. Courtesy of the British Library, London.

The arrival of Lt. H. H. Cole at Sanchi in 1869-70 had already augured the next phase in the rebirth of the site: a phase where the imperatives of copying and replication would go hand in hand with the first systematic efforts at the restoration of fallen and semi-destroyed structures. One of the first repairs to be undertaken was the clearing of debris and vegetation and the filling in of the breach in the dome of the Great Stupa (Figure 11).43 The work was done under the supervision of Austin Mears, Superintendent of Public Works at Bhopal, who congratulated himself on a job so well done that the stupa, he declared, could now stand 'another 2000 years as it had hitherto done till wrecked by blundering archaeologists.'44 But this phase of work, too, ended up with its own share of destructions and errors. The clearance of around 60 feet of space around the ground balustrade of this main monument, and the charting out of a road leading to it, resulted in the displacement of several smaller in situ stupas. And, thereafter, when the pillars and architraves of the crumbled southern and western gateways were restored by Major J. B. Keith, Cole's assistant in the Central Provinces, mistakes would creep in the front-to-back positioning of some of the fallen lintels of the southern gateway. Even when these errors did become apparent, the possibilities of reversing and repositioning these lintels were negated for fear of causing renewed destruction.45 Notwithstanding these flaws, there was no denying the achievements of this first phase of conservation activity that saw the renovation of the Great Stupa and Stupas 2 and 3, as well as the reconstruction of all the collapsed gateways around these structures. Cole's tenure also saw an all-out commitment to in situ conservation and a resistance to the removal of any objects and structures from the site.464

12. Lala Deen Dayal. Fallen antiquities at the site, 'Lions at the South Gate, Sanchi Tope,' Autotype print. Reproduced from Lepel Griffin, Famous Monuments of Central India, Illustrated by a Series of Eighty Nine Photographs in Permanent Autotype (London: The Autotype Company, 1886), Plate XVII.
Let us also consider, at this point, the photographic legacies of these years of repair and conservation. Sanchi's passage to camera images would have its full-fledged beginnings in the 1880s, when both the documentary value of drawings and the exhibitionary value of plaster casts came to be superseded by the importance of the photograph. As H. H. Cole set into motion his countrywide programme of the photographing of historic sites and structures, it was an Indian photographer, Lala Deen Dayal of Indore, who was commissioned to cover the operations at Sanchi. The most prominent of the nineteenth-century 'native' entrants into the new photographic profession, Deen Dayal, by the early 1880s, had begun working for British officials in central India, even as he enjoyed the full patronage of the Indore Darbar and the Nizam's Court and was opening up his own commercial studios in Indore, Bombay, and Hyderabad. His photographic repertoire of these years -- royal portraits, state ceremonials, official events, landscape and architectural views -- easily rivalled that of his European peers.47 His photographs of Sanchi were taken around 1882 when he worked with Sir Lepel Griffin on an extensive photographic tour of the architecture of the region, contributing eighty-nine photographs to the volume Griffin published in 1886 entitled Famous Monuments of Central India. The Deen Dayal views of Sanchi would also feature in the architectural photograph folios that were brought out in 1884-85 by Cole's office as the final product and documentation of its labours. As we see at Sanchi, the photographs bear witness to the activities of repair and restoration, taking us stage by stage through the filling in of the breach of the great dome, the clearing of jungles, the assemblage of scattered pillars and stone fragments, and the rebuilding of the gateways, tracing the transformation of the ruin into a remade monument (Figures 11,12).48
Over the next two decades, a growing corpus of photographs of Sanchi would accumulate within museum holdings in India and London as part of the empire's expanding image archive of Indian art and architecture. The Deen Dayal images would be absorbed within this pool, blending with many others, often of unknown authorship, of the same and subsequent period. And this resource pool would circulate through the publication of a series of photographic albums on India's ancient monuments and sculptures. One of the most magnificent of these, published in 1896 by the photo-engraving firm of William Griggs of London, was the two-volume album The Ancient Monuments, Temples and Sculptures of India, in which each plate was selected and introduced by James Burgess, who succeeded Cunningham as the head of the Archaeological Survey of India.49 In the Burgess volume, from the scattered and disaggregated sculptures of the Bharhut site, photographed on site prior to their removal to the Indian Museum (Figure 13), we are taken to the preserved Sanchi stupa site of broadly the same period and shown the integrated effects of similar sculptural ensembles on the Sanchi gateways (Figure 14).51
13. Fragment of the eastern gateway of the Bharhut Stupa, photographed on site by J. D. Beglar, before its removal to the Indian Museum, Calcutta. Albumen print. Reproduced in Burgess, The Ancient Monuments, Temples and Sculptures of India (London: W. Griggs, 1897).
14. Reconstructed southern gateway of the Great Stupa, Sanchi, c. 1880s. Albumen print. Reproduced in Burgess, The Ancient Monuments, Temples and Sculptures of India, Plate 50.
15. Details of three panels of narrative sculptures and ornamentation on the lintels of the railing pillars of a Sanchi gateway. Albumen print, c. 1890. Later reproduced in Marshall and Foucher, The Monuments of Sanchi (New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 1940), vol. II.
Even as the site on the hill would be opened out to reveal a large cluster of structures, it was the Great Stupa, and particularly its four sculpted gateways, which continued to monopolise all photographic attention. There is a dramatic move in these photographs from whole structures to a micro-study of sculpted details, with the lens moving from grand panoramic views of the full gateways, seen from different directions, to close in on the intricacies of the individual sculpted panels. The monument thus comes to be compressed more and more into sculpture and into a set of carved reliefs on Buddhist legend and history (Figure 15). It is in photographs that Sanchi's gateway sculptures could present itself before museum viewers and scholars as a 'veritable picture Bible of Buddhism'. The term was Fergusson's and it fed directly into the Victorian fascination with Buddhism, its doctrines and its symbols, and, most of all, with the life and miracles of its founder.52 It is from this period that considerations of both 'religion' and 'art' began to finely blend in the photographic careers of Sanchi. The orchestrated interest that the Sanchi reliefs aroused in the legends, iconography, and religious symbols of early Buddhism came to be integrally linked to the consecration of their status as some of the finest examples of ancient Buddhist art in India.53 Photographic scrutiny and juxtaposition would now allow for a stylistic evaluation of these Sanchi sculptures vis-a-vis the earlier Mauryan art of the pillar capitals, the near contemporary art of Bharhut, and the subsequent art of Amaravati, Gandhara, and Mathura of the early Christian era, underlining the distinctly 'indigenous' quality of Sanchi's art as against the Persepolitan [Persian] influences on the Mauryan pillar capitals or the Graeco-Roman lineages of the Gandhara sculptures.

The 'triumph' of restoration and reclaims
The longer story about the iconographic and artistic scholarship that evolved around the sculptures of Sanchi is outside the scope of this paper. The beginnings of the twentieth century can be seen to mark the crowning years in the modern life of the site and its relics. The high tide of imperial conservation policies, during the vice-royalty of Lord Curzon (1899-1905), culminated in the definitive phase of clearance, excavation, and restoration of Sanchi's monuments under Sir John Marshall. It is hard not to go along with the linear, triumphalist tenor of this final phase of the archaeological biography of Sanchi. Marshall's rebuilding of the site now positions itself within a long line of consecrations and desecrations.54 The original brick stupa, attributed to Emperor Asoka, had been partially destroyed following the fall of the Mauryan empire, to be encased in stone, rebuilt, and enlarged under the later Sunga kings during the second century BCE, and thereafter adorned with its four gateways during Satavahana rule between the first centuries BCE and CE.
Information about the Satavahanas comes from the Puranas, some Buddhist and Jain texts, the dynasty's inscriptions and coins, and foreign (Greek and Roman) accounts that focus on trade. The information provided by these sources is not sufficient to reconstruct the dynasty's history with absolute certainty. As a result, there are multiple theories about the Satavahana chronology.

-- Satavahana dynasty, by Wikipedia

The recently discovered Rabatak inscription confirms the account of the Hou Hanshu, Weilüe, and inscriptions dated early in the Kanishka era (incept probably AD 127), that large Kushan dominions expanded into the heartland of northern India in the early 2nd century AD. Lines 4 to 7 of the inscription describe the cities which were under the rule of Kanishka, among which six names are identifiable: Ujjain, Kundina, Saketa, Kausambi, Pataliputra [LC: PALIBOTRA?], and Champa (although the text is not clear whether Champa was a possession of Kanishka or just beyond it). The Buddhist text Śrīdharmapiṭakanidānasūtra—known via a Chinese translation made in AD 472—refers to the conquest of Pataliputra by Kanishka. A 2nd century stone inscription by a Great Satrap named Rupiamma was discovered in Pauni, south of the Narmada river, suggesting that Kushan control extended this far south, although this could alternatively have been controlled by the Western Satraps.
In the East, as late as the 3rd century AD, decorated coins of Huvishka were dedicated at Bodh Gaya together with other gold offerings under the "Enlightenment Throne" of the Buddha, suggesting direct Kushan influence in the area during that period. Coins of the Kushans are found in abundance as far as Bengal... Coins in imitation of Kushan coinage have also been found abundantly in the eastern state of Orissa.

-- Kushan Empire, by Wikipedia

The Western Satraps, or Western Kshatrapas (Brahmi: [x], Mahakṣatrapa, "Great Satraps") were Indo-Scythian (Saka) rulers of ancient India who ruled over the region of Sindh, Makran, Saurashtra and Malwa (in modern Sindh, Balochistan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh of India and Pakistan), between 35 and 405 CE. The Western Satraps were contemporaneous with the Kushans who ruled the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, and were possibly vassals of the Kushans...
They are called "Western Satraps" in modern historiography in order to differentiate them from the "Northern Satraps", who ruled in Punjab and Mathura until the 2nd century CE.

-- Western Satraps, by Wikipedia

This core complex then came to be surrounded by other stupas, chaitya-grihas, and large seated statues of Buddha during the Gupta and post-Gupta periods of continued Buddhist worship at the site. Periodically expanded and embellished over these years, then abandoned but nonetheless preserved in its entirety through the medieval era, the hill site of Sanchi, we know, had suffered its worst damages with the onset of the modern era in the hands of 'faulty British explorers and excavators'. Marshall's extensive operations come as a final restorative balm on the site, rescuing it from decades of decay and vandalism.

What this master archaeologist succeeded in doing was to infuse the remade monument with the aura and aesthetics of the 'ruin', making the dead relic in the present far more 'beautiful' in modern eyes than the worshipped, living stupa of the past. Marshall writes:

Its form was the same as it is today. Only its colouring was different, and how different! Instead of the present sombre greys and blacks, the dome was probably glaringly white, with swags around it perhaps picked out in colours, while the balustrades and, later on, the railings were red. The umbrellas on the summit may have been red or possibly gilded, as they often were in later times [... ] Age, indeed, has been kind to this stupa as it has been to the fabrics of our own great cathedrals. now all grey and discoloured, but once covered in whitewash which few [... ] would now care to see restored.55

So, the Great Stupa and its gateways were now made to gleam in the pure lustre of age and the mellowed, weathered tones of the antique stone that stood as the silent witness of its past glory. The aestheticised monument also became the site for a complete recovery of its history.

Marshall's greatest achievement, as he reports, was an uncovering of the full cluster of earlier and later buildings and all scattered objects on the site, leaving nothing invisible, known, or unclassified. Equally important was his setting up of the site museum at Sanchi, which now became a crucial appendage of his exhaustive archaeological combing of the terrain. All loose and dispersed fragments that could not be preserved on site were moved to the museum, whose catalogue lays out the structure of display and grouping of these objects in the main courtyard and inner halls, according to the criteria of size, historical periods, and artistic value.56 Complete and comprehensive knowledge was the order of the day of a kind that, Marshall hoped, would allow no further pilferage or erroneous interpretations. The field operations found their inevitable follow-up in a new body of publications on Sanchi, all of which carried the seal of Marshall's authority. His first Guide to Sanchi of 1918 was intended as a slim handy volume for the lay public, laying out in brief the topography, history, and full structural complex of the site, while honing in, as always, on the gateways of the Great Stupa and on the iconography. technique, and style of their seulptures.57 The fuller version of this Guide appeared several years later, in 1940, in the form of a richly-photographed three-volume monograph, The Monuments of Sanchi, that Marshall authored along with Alfred Foucher and N. G. Majumdar.58

Sanchi. 16. Sir John Marshall, with his wife, daughter, and her governess at the eastern gateway of the Great Stupa, Sanchi c. 1912-18. Silver gelatin print. Courtesy of Alkazi Collection of Photography, New Delhi.

Such a volume takes to a peak the photographic invocation of the monument, especially the detailing of the gateway sculptures, with the photographs now coming out of the consolidated image archive of the Archaeological Survey of India. Let us end our survey of colonial visual representations of Sanchi with a different order of photographs of the saviour at the site. One enacts an intimate family tableau, with Marshall posing with his wife and daughter (among others) against a sculpted pillar of the eastern gateway; the other carries more obvious signs of imperial regalia, where the family sits at the site camp at Sanchi with liveried attendants and elephants with howdahs provided by the Bhopal Darbar (Figures 16,17). This would seem a fitting end to this phase of the modern biography of Sanchi: a phase that is sealed by the authoritative interventions of the imperial archaeological project, where the exigencies of excavation, conservation and photographic documentation reach a high crescendo. Marshall, no doubt would have firmly held on to this point of ending. But, in retrospect, this grand finale of Sanchi's story also emerges as the moment when the colonial history of the monument begins to run into a parallel overlapping trajectory of the consecration of the monument as both an Indian national and a world Buddhist inheritance. Some of these contending claims and identities can be seen to surface in the very years of Marshall's magisterial reclamation and renovation of the site, often (paradoxically) as the very result of the intensity and efficacy of his activities.

Marshall's relationship with the evolving structures of Indian scholarly or institutional authorities was never an easy one. It is hardly surprising that his great work The Monuments of Sanchi was grounded on a clear hierarchy between Western and Indian scholarly expertise. While Marshall divided between himself and Alfred Foucher (the French scholar of Buddhist art) the archaeological and art-historical pronouncements on Sanchi, naming themselves as the authors of the book, the Indian in the team, N. G. Mazumdar (Marshall's assistant and colleague in the Archaeological Survey of India) was relegated to the lesser role of deciphering and translating the inscriptions. Through the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, there would be a long history of such orchestrations of difference in the status and content of Western and Indian scholarship. By the time we arrive at the 'Marshall era', the lines of divide and distinction would have to be more urgently negotiated. In a period that saw the growing Indianization of the archaeological and museums profession in India, the privileging of imperial institutional and scholarly authority would have its fresh imperatives.59 Where the writing of the museum catalogue was concerned, Marshall could quite easily delegate the task to his trusted excavation assistant, Maulavi Muhammad Habib, and to a team of Indian scholars who worked under his close tutelage -- just as he could also reserve the epigraphic study of Sanchi for his junior in the Archaeological Survey.

17. Sir John Marshall as the guest of the Bhopal Durbar, with wife, children, and retinue of Indian attendants; Sanchi archaeological camp. c. 1912-18. Silver gelatin print. Courtesy of Alkazi Collection of Photography, New Delhi.

With his scholarly and professional authority firmly sealed, for Marshall, it seems, the more powerful competing claims for rival authority at Sanchi would come from an altogether different quarter -- from the Begum of Bhopal in whose dominion stood this much-treasured archaeological monument. Nayanjot Lahiri's study has critically examined the undercurrent of resistance and counter-claims of the local royalty that Marshall had to contend with throughout his activities at the site. 60 It seems that the Bhopal Durbar's long-standing pride in this 'most wonderful ancient building' that graced its territory came most sharply to the fore when, in 1905, the Archaeological Survey under Marshall had first raised questions about the competence and legitimacy of its custody of this monument.61 The question had then been framed in the most insidious religious terms. It had been suggested that the monuments were inadequately cared for by the 'Muslim' chowkidars, appointed by the 'Muslim' ruling dynasty of Bhopal, and that the job of superintendence would be far better handled by the new Buddhist watch-dog body of the Mahabodhi Society.

The battle between the Mahabodhi Society and the Shaivite Giri proprietors over the reclamation of the Buddhist shrine at Bodh Gaya was then at its zenith.62 Increasingly frustrated and curbed in its claims on Bodh Gaya, the Mahabodhi Society would over the early twentieth century shift the focus of its reconsecration endeavours to other Indian Buddhist sites like Sarnath in the United Provinces and Sanchi in the state of Bhopal. Refusing to forfeit the custody of Sanchi to this international Buddhist mission, or even to the administrative machinations of the colonial state, Nawab Sultan Jahan, Begum of Bhopal, had forcefully reasserted her state's rights to the conservation and protection of the site, keeping the claims of the Mahabodhi Society firmly at bay. In the next decades, it was the Bhopal Durbar which hosted the Director-General's and his family's stay at Sanchi, arranged for the labour and logistics of the Survey's operations, and entirely financed the construction of the Sanchi Museum and Marshall's new publications on the site. The importance of the Begum's support and custodial authority is reflected across Marshall's photographs at Sanchi (as in Figure 17) and across his publications on the site, the largest of which was dedicated to the memory of his gracious patron.

It was as a part of its new possessive strategies that the Bhopal Durbar also initiated, in 1919-20, the first moves with the colonial government for the return to Sanchi of the reliquary caskets that had been expropriated by Cunningham and Maisey way back in the 1850s and had later found their way to the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museums in London. As with the Bodh Gaya temple, with Sanchi too, archaeological restoration became the occasion for the religious resanctification of the site by a newly-forged international Buddhist community. During the 1920s and 30s we find the London mission of the Mahabodhi Society engaged in persistent negotiations with the authorities of the Victoria and Albert Museum for the repatriation of the funerary relics of Sanchi, which the museum had purchased from [Col. Frederick Charles] Maisey's granddaughter as late as 1921.

In her study of the saga of the return of the Sanchi relics, Saloni Mathur has shown how the 'historical' and 'sacred' value of these objects came to [be] sharply pitted against each other, as did the discourses of museum custodianship vis-a-vis those of devotional rights.63 This came to be foregrounded in the way the directors of both the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum staunchly opposed the demand for the repatriation of museum objects, regardless of their prior sacred histories, on the fear that 'once the trickle has started, it may well become a flood', arguing that to establish such a precedent would endanger the very sanctity of the museum as an institution. The refusal to let go of their cherished collection took on a further edge when these museum officials later conceded to the return to the Mahabodhi Society of the bone fragments, but insisted on retaining the ornate reliquary caskets for their historical and artistic importance. The prerogatives of colonial archaeology and museums had to be self-righteously asserted against the Mahabodhi Society's naming of the relics in their possession as 'stolen property', and a counter stand made about the Western museum as the site where these objects were preserved and displayed with greatest 'respect'. This acrimonious debate raised a series of critical questions about what could be legitimately retained as museum 'property' and what constituted the museum practices of commemoration and respect. It thus brought on the impassioned statement of Eric Maclagan, Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, in 1939 that 'it is a tribute to Buddhist civilization that we wish to have such objects in our Museums'; a point that the Buddhists stubbornly failed to see.64

The matter remained in abeyance until 1939-40, from which time unfolded a new international climate of 'relic-diplomacy' that saw the museum authorities in London and the Archaeological Survey of India handing over several excavated Stupa relics to the Mahabodhi Society in Calcutta and Sarnath.]65 The Bhopal government once again pushed hard to assert its ownership rights over those of the Mahabodhi Society over the repatriated relics, arguing with the colonial authorities for the return of the original caskets from the British Museum to the Sanchi Museum 'which is unquestionably the most suitable place for them'.66 At the same time, the Mahabodhi Society continued its campaign for the housing of the returned relics in the new vihara building that they were beginning to construct in the premises of the ancient stupa site. The war intervened, the end of which saw the impending demise of the British Empire in India, the dissolving of the Bhopal Durbar, and the transfer of the colonial archaeological establishment to new Indian authorities. At the symbolic cusp of India's Independence, in 1948, a set of relics, not of the Great Stupa but of the neighbouring site of Satdhara (enshrined in their original caskets), began their long-deferred journey out of the museums of London, travelling first to Ceylon, and then touring Calcutta, Burma, Nepal, and Ladakh, to end their holy trek at Sanchi in 1952 -- where they came to be placed not in the archaeological site museum but in the new Chetiyagiri Vihara that was built for this purpose by the Mahabodhi Society on land donated by the local government.

Sanchi's modern archaeological biography can be seen to come full circle at this point, with imperial custodianship giving way to a new institutionalised regime of both national possession and international Buddhist worship. Even as the independent nation-state invested its patriotic rhetoric on the return of these relics to Indian soil, the original natal grounds of Buddhism, its more critical strategy lay in firmly keeping apart the 'archaeological' and 'religious' identities of Sanchi, resolving the contending proprietorial claims of both the Bhopal royalty and the Mahabodhi Society by retaining the new centre of Buddhist worship within the spatial parameters and territorial jurisdictions of the site but thrusting it to the margins of the concerns of the Archaeological Survey of India.67 What remained undiminished was the primacy of Sanchi's aesthetic and historical stature: a stature that could effectively contain and override its parallel contemporary life as a reinvented devotional shrine. Marshall's Sanchi had undergone its successful metamorphosis into an Indian national monument.

The Sanchi-style dome and balustrade atop the Doric-order forecourt colonnade of the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi. Reproduced from Aman Nath, Dome over India: Rashtrapati Bhavan (New Delhi: India Book House, 2002), p. 52.

Postcolonial journeys, within and beyond the nation

In post-Independence India, the site and its structures have remained in the firm, uncontested custody of the central Directorate and the Bhopal circle of the Archaeological Survey of India, with the most recent excavations conducted in the 1990s, laying bare new buried structural foundations, artefacts, and clusters of votive stupas from the earlier and later histories of building activity at the site. Enlisted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1989, Sanchi has been rendered into a thriving national and international tourist destination, in keeping with Madhya Pradesh's rising profile and advances in tourism. Sanchi seems to have especially benefited from its location in a state that has on offer an unparalleled feast of India's art and architectural heritage, from the prehistoric rock art of Bhimbhetka to the early medieval temples of Khajuraho and the later medieval Rajput forts and palaces of Gwalior, Orchha, or Mandu, alongside some of the nation's most innovative new contemporary art and tribal art complexes that were established at Bharat Bhavan in Bhopal in the 1980s. As the advertising jingle of the state tourism department invites you to explore and experience Madhya Pradesh as the 'heart of India', Sanchi is given its unique position in this pristine territorial and historical core of the nation.


19. a) and b) The Mauryan lion capital in the main hall of the Sarnath Museum. Photograph, c. 1918. Courtesy of Archaeological Survey of India. It later featured as the symbol and logo of the Republic of India on the title page of The Constitution of the Republic of India, special facsimile edition, illustrated by Nandalal Bose and the artists of Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan (New Delhi: Government of India, 1950).

At the same time, notwithstanding the sanctity of the original site, what we also encounter is a continuous propensity of Sanchi to circulate as an architectural prototype and replica, as loose remakes or as dispersed fragmented forms of hemispherical domes, pinnacles. balustrade railings, and sculpted gateways. From its colonial to its contemporary history, Sanchi's monumental career, it can be shown, has always revolved around the portability and reproducibility of its form in myriad public venues and architectural settings. The accumulative trends of archaeological, art historical, and religious reconsecration that annotated the twentieth-century histories of the site have enabled it to lead a curious mixture of secular and sacred 'afterlives' and to serve a variety of functions of display and commemoration. In this last section, I wish to briefly gesture towards some of the ways in which the monument has repeatedly lent itself to copying and reproduction, within varying registers of authenticity and citations of the original. If Sanchi (with its best preserved stupa complex of antiquity) could render itself into an exemplary model of the nation's ancient architecture, sculpture, and Buddhist civilization, the model in its wide dispersal, would turn increasingly elastic and eclectic, often leaving the original far behind in its wake.

The travels of Sanchi's architectural form finds one of its first, most spectacular manifestations in the building of the late imperial monument of the Viceroy's House in the 1920s in the transferred capital of the empire in New Delhi. Scholars have long laboured to decode the enigmatic architectural riddle of Edwin Lutyens' neo-classical monument, to see 'how Palladio meets the Buddha in the central dome of this imperial "pile", as Gandhi called it', making up the arrogance of what Herbert Barker, Lutyens' prime collaborator in the building of New Delhi, termed 'the lord sahib's dome' (Figure 18).68 Urged by Viceroy Hardinge to accommodate symbols of India's architectural past, this classicist architect of empire slid over the entire Mughal and Hindu past to hone in on the neat spherical mound and balustrade railing of the Sanchi stupa, which he lifted with aplomb and placed atop the semicircle pillared colonnade of the Government House, uniting the many subtle differences of the styles he grafted on to this edifice. Referring to the 'Sanchi grille', 'one of these wonderful Asoka's rails built around Buddha's shrine', as what he admired 'most of all of India's work', Lutyens, like John Marshall, also took special pride in proclaiming that this 'shrine itself is a restoration built by the British'.69 So, it was as a restored and sanctified British archaeological monument that the Great Stupa of Sanchi lent her form to this symbolic building (soon to be redesignated as the Rashtrapati Bhavan) to serve as the symbolic 'Dome over India' in the country's transition from colonial rule to Independence.

20. and 21. Hemispherical dome and balustrade railing of the M. P. Birla Planetarium, Calcutta, the oldest in India, established in 1962.

Buddhist architectural and sculptural motifs would take on a new currency as national symbols in an independent India, which needed to steer clear of the legacy of both the Hindu and Islamic religious architecture of the country to seek out instead the inheritance of an ancient, dead, and symbolically pure faith. A new official national culture could feed on a long history of colonial and nationalist obsession with the perceived purity, grandeur, and antiquity of India's ancient Buddhist art, architecture, and faith to mine it for a secular symbolic vocabulary for the present. While the Mauryan pillar capitals, with their animal figures and inverted lotus base, provided a choice non-religious political motif that became the official logo of the Republic, the iconography of the Buddhist wheel (Dharma Chakra) or of stupa architecture, also of the same proven Mauryan pedigree, could be as effectively plucked out of its past devotional contexts and transformed into the sacred symbols of the secular nation (Figures 19a, 19b). It is in this context that we see the archetypal flat hemispherical mound of the Sanchi stupa -- with its berm, winding balustrade railing, and crowning harmika and pinnacle -- becoming a favoured 'classical' architectural form across official and non-official public buildings.

20. and 21. (Continued).

Taking two key instances, let me pursue this travelling architectural form of the Sanchi stupa into its curious new incarnations, as first a 'Birla monument' in the Calcutta of the 1960s and then as one of a transforming set of Dalit 'Mayawati Monuments' in contemporary Lucknow.70 In the one case, we can track the travels of the architectural template of the stupa into the speckled marble building of the Birla Planetarium of Calcutta, conceived almost on the same scale as the Great Sanchi Stupa, embellished with lotus designs, with the gleaming white hemispherical dome (with its balustrade railing) serving here as the ideal structure that opens up within into the wonder of the interior convex dome of the open skies (Figures 20, 21). The oldest and largest of India's planetariums, this Calcutta institution was opened in 1963, following, we are told, only by a few years the inception of a planetarium in London. Founded and funded by M. P. Birla, it was inaugurated by none other than India's first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, on an acre of land given by the West Bengal government in one of the most prominent locations of the city, opposite the open greens of the Victoria Memorial and the Maidan. Ancient Indian architectural form stands merged here with an exemplary institution of modern scienee.71 If the Birla Planetarium signalled the young nation's advances in the Astronomical and Planetary Sciences, it also marked the powerful alliance of private industrial entrepreneurship (as of the great business family of the Birlas) and public philanthropy with governmental enterprise.

To jump from sites such as these to the expansive and monumental architectural complexes erected in contemporary Lucknow during the late 1990s and 2000s by Uttar Pradesh's high-profile and controversial Dalit chief minister, Mayawati (the most important figure today of the nation's spreading wave of backward caste Dalit politics) is to take a vast leap across time and contexts.72 It is to swing at a wide angle from the developmental nation-building visions of the 1960s (from the India of the Nehrus and Birlas) to the dramatically transformed political constituencies of the lower classes and castes of the present and the flamboyant style of Dalit identity politics that has kept Mayawati's Lucknow perpetually at the forefront of national news. It is also to be pitted from a certain ideology and architectural aesthetics of the national-secular (of which, I would argue, the early Birla institutions of schools, science museums, or temples of the 1940s, '50s and '60s offer a dominant prototype) into the resurgence or a Buddhist religious and cultural identity among Indian Dalits, following the lead of their founder figure, B.R. Ambedkar, in the course of which references to Buddhist architectural forms of the past would loosely and increasingly infiltrate the new sculptural and architectural vocabulary of Dalit monuments. 73 Mayawati's Lucknow offers a prime locale of these radically altered political and architectural dispensations of today's India. Earlier notions of public work and benefaction also stand rudely overturned here. As against the avowed magnanimity of social and educational purpose and civic-mindedness of the Birla ventures, we have now the allegations of the gross wastage of governmental funds that have gone into the continuous building and rebuilding of Mayawati's mega architectural projects, which she keeps countering with her own logic of the public spectacular value of her constructions for her Dalit following.74

The Ambedkar Udyan at Lucknow as it stood in 2006. Photograph. Courtesy of Suryanandini Sinha.

From the Birla to the Mayawati building complexes, we can keep emphasising the contrasts that separate out these two very different orders of deployments of Sanchi's monumental architectural form, in their public effects, ideologies, and intentions. At Lucknow, the citations of the original monument become wilfully loose and random. For a political leader who has made a point of not converting to Buddhism (unlike most Ambedkarite Dalits), Mayawati's Ambedkar Udyan (continually rebuilt and lately renamed as the Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan Sthal) can take whatever liberties it wants with the ready-to- replicate model of the Sanchi Stupa. A cumulative, pyramidical cluster of stupa-like domes, fabricated in pink and crimson polished stone and tiles, with richly ornamented facades, has now expanded into the form of Rajasthani fort and palace architecture, with stupa domes turning into chhatris [Chhatri are semi-open, elevated, dome-shaped pavilions used as an element in Indo-Islamic architecture and Indian architecture.] in terraced pavilions (Figures 22-24). The main purpose of such complexes is to house vast crowds and even bigger and growing numbers of statues of Ambedkar and other Dalit leaders. If the stupa-like design of the Birla Planetarium today commands little public interest -- the form here, we may say, has been rendered entirely subservient to the public life of the building -- the historical architectural references of the Lucknow Ambedkar memorial complex, by contrast, scream out for attention, in a site that is intended to be one of popular spectacle and commemoration.

23. and 24. Decorated wall facade and the open courtyards of the now renamed Ambedkar Samajik Parivarian Sthal, Lucknow, 2009. Photograph. Courtesy of Suryanandini Sinha.

These snippets of contemporary building histories bring us to another case of the travelling 'afterlife' of the Sanchi Stupa. The model, in this instance, journeys all the way to a distant Buddhist monastic site of Luoyang in the Henan province of central China, where it becomes a symbol of official cultural exchange and diplomatic goodwill between the Indian and Chinese governments. The site is that of the now-extinct Baima Si (White Horse) temple, the oldest Buddhist monastery on Chinese soil dating back to the first century CE, where the legend goes that two Indian Buddhist monks arrived on white horses carrying the sacred texts. The building of a full scale Sanchi-style stupa on this site is intended to commemorate the coming of Buddhism from India to China (Figure 25). First conceived of during a China visit of Indian Prime Minister, Alai Behari Vajpayee, in June 2003, the project moved rapidly apace from 2006 under the supervision of a committee at New Delhi headed by the scholar-bureaucrat Dr. Kapila Vatsyana.75 This new shrine, the official documents emphasize, is not intended to be an exact replica of the Sanchi Stupa. It is the product of a design of a modern architectural firm of New Delhi, of Akshya Jain and Raka Chakravorty, that had to meet the approval of the committee and was modified by Dr. Vatsayana from a historical and aesthetic perspective. Likewise, the image of the Buddha placed inside the stupa (a copy of a sculpture of a Dhyani Buddha from Sarnath) is a similar modern fabrication, produced by another Delhi-based professional firm called Icons India (Figure 26). As with all remakes, this official 'gift' of the Indian nation makes no bones about its share of modern improvisations.

23. and 24. (Continued).

As at the Lucknow Ambedkar Udyan, the material used for the building is pink Dholpur stone transported from Rajasthan -- a loose approximation of the buff sandstone of the original structure at Sanchi -- a stone now widely used for all contemporary look-alikes of north Indian temples that have come up in various parts of India. The workmen assigned to the task were drawn from a pool of stone-carvers from Rajasthan and Orissa who are able to faithfully replicate the architectural designs and carvings of stupa gateways and temple walls in keeping with the steady demands for such current refabrications.76 And the stupa dome, ever serviceable for different functions, is made to accommodate here an interior hall in the style of the latter-day form of Buddhist viharas (monastic residences) and chaityas (congregation halls), with an example of a Buddha image of the classical 'Gupta school', post-dating by several centuries the original stupa and gateway structures at Sanchi. All of these changes may be read as creative licenses, which do not deviate from the broad ambit of India's ancient Buddhist history and do not detract from the overall religious sanctity of this transported monument.

25. The model of Sanchi Stupa at Luoyang, China, designed by the New Delhi architectural firm of Mfs Akshaya Jain and Raka Chakravorty. Photograph. Courtesy of Ashis Chakrabarti.

26. A copy of a Sarnath Buddha inside the Sanchi Stupa at Luoyang, China, fabricated by a new Delhi firm, Icons India. Photograph. Courtesy of Ashis Chakrabarti.


27. a) and b) The Sanchi Stupa at the Jodhpur Park Durga Puja, designed and executed by Dipak Ghosh and his team. Thermocol. ply. and plaster replica. Calcutta, 2011. The full structure and details of a sculpted pillar under construction. Photographs: Courtesy of the author.

The Luoyang monument, I would say, marks the apotheosis of Sanchi's multifaceted career as a copy and replica. We have come a long way from the time of the giant plaster cast that had to be laboriously wrought from the body of the monument on site to be multiplied and reassembled at new sites of display in Western museums to times when the Public Works Department of the Lucknow Development Authority or modern architectural firms in New Delhi can produce their free remakes of Sanchi as fully autochthonous structures. What singles out this remake is the way its replication of architectural form goes hand in hand with its consecration as a religious edifice. Whereas the original site houses the 'dead', though laboriously restored, archaeological ruin, the living shrine resides in the translocated copy, where (as in the cases of myriad replicas of Hindu temples sprouting all over the country, or copies of the Bodhi tree and the Bodh Gaya railing pillars appearing across South East Asian Buddhist sites) the sacrality of the master-structure can be transferred far across space and time. In contrast to the perfected aesthetics of the ruin that Marshall took pains to preserve at the original complex, the Luoyang copy stands unabashedly and shiningly new. Intended to offset the neighbouring ruins of Buddhist grottoes and decapitated rock-hewn Buddhas of Luoyang, the new 'gift' from India is also poised to reverse the past histories of the ravage and neglect of China's archaeological treasures in the hands of Western 'cave raiders' and Cultural Revolution ideologues, and restore the site into a new devotional centre of world Buddhism.77 Mocking the decayed sanctity of the original, the self-brandishing newness of Luoyang's Sanchi Stupa foregrounds the conceit of the copy and its ability to eke out lives that lie far in excess of what it simulates.

I will conclude with a contrasting example of another contemporary copy of Sanchi -- one that catapults us from distant China back home to a neighbourhood park in Kolkata, one that supplants the demands of religious sanctifications with those of pure spectatorship, one that takes us from the reified entity of the monument to what we may call the 'post-monument'. A product also of months of labour and intricate workmanship, this ply and thermocol remake of the Stupa, by a local designer and his team (Figures 27a, 27b), is one of many such spectacular tableaux of replicas of historic architecture and archaeological sites, folk art villages, and modern installation art that sprout across the streets of Calcutta during the week-long [url=]Durga Puja festival.78 This is when the entire city turns into an exhibitionary site -- a space of popular touring and imaginary journeys in space and time.79 This is where this remake of Sanchi took its place as one of the star attractions of the city's Durga Puja tours of 2011. For all its monumentality and the designer's pride in the authenticity of the reconstruction (especially the sculptural details of the gateways), the copy here is built to be destroyed -- to be dismantled at the end of the week's festivities, its parts and material recycled for other pavilions.

Throughout its modern biography, we have seen how each phase of Sanchi's passage to documentary image, portable object, or reproducible architectural style opened it up to a range of scholarly, devotional, public and exhibitionary uses, but where one set of values seldom effaced the others. What made a Buddhist stupa complex of antiquity so amenable to the modern epistemology of a 'monument"? What propelled its extraordinary careers of replication, reuse, and travels? And, what determined the ease with which it negotiated its competing and concurrent status as archaeological relic and reinvented shrine, art historical object, public civic architecture, or popular spectacle? There are no easy answers to these questions, or to the conundrum: when did Sanchi's life as a monument begin and end, and from when can we start unravelling its many afterlives? The intermingling of colonial, national, and postcolonial histories makes impossible the sifting out of lives from afterlives, the original from the proliferating copies, the permanent monument from the ephemeral remake.
Like the monument it discusses, this paper has had its share of multiple versions and travels. It was first conceived in 2005 for a volume on Sir J. H. Marshall and his archaeological activities in India, and the paper came to be published much later as ‘The Many Lives of the Sanchi Stupa in Colonial India’, in The Marshall Albums: Photography and Archaeology in Colonial India, ed. by S. Guha (New Delhi: Alkazi Collection of Photography, 2010). A French translation of the same paper (translated by Aurelien Berra) was simultaneously published in the journal Annales (special issue on Art et Patrimonie’, 65.6, November-December 2010). This present longer version, including the final section, was presented as a keynote address at the ‘Afterlives of Monuments’ conference in London in April 2010 and as the Andrew C. Ritchie Memorial lecture at the Yale Centre for British Art, New Haven in November 2011. My sincere thanks to the organisers and audiences of both these lectures for the lively discussions that followed. I must also record my special thanks to Deborah Cherry for her patience and perseverance with accommodating my paper in this journal issue.
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Part 3 of 3

1. Sanchi (New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, World Heritage Series, 2003), p. 8. Stupas, as in well-known in Indian architectural history, are commemorative funerary mounds, built as solid brick and stone encasements of the corporeal relics of Buddha and his disciples.
2. Asoka is said to have opened up seven of the eight original stupas erected over the bodily relics of Buddha and to have distributed these relics over several new stupas he had constructed in different parts of his empire and in Sri Lanka. Debala Mitra, Sanchi, 7th edn (New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 2001), p. 5.
3. Sir John Hubert Marshall and Alfred Foucher, The Monuments of Sanchi, 3 vols (Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 1940; repr. New Delhi: Swati Publications, 1983), vol. I, p. 9.
4. The term ‘Marshall era’ refers to the tenure of Sir John Hubert Marshall as the Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of India, from 1902–28, and its recognition as the period of the greatest advancement in the field of scientific restoration and conservation of archaeological sites in British India. See e.g. Sourindranath Roy, The Story of Indian Archaeology, 1784–1947 (New Delhi: Archaeological Survey of India, 1961), pp. 90–113. A more specific reference is to the usage of the term by Nayanjot Lahiri in the context of the archaeological remaking of Sanchi: Nayanjot Lahiri, ‘From Ruin to Restoration: The Modern History of Sanchi’, in Belief in the Past, The Proceedings of the 2002 Manchester Conference on Archaeology and Religion, ed. by Timothy Insoll, British Archaeological Reports International Series (Oxford: Archaeopress, 2004), pp. 99–114. This essay owes a great deal to the research and insights of this important article.
5. A similar point is made by Nayanjot Lahiri about the ‘tumultuous and messy modern history’ of Sanchi, of which the ‘jagged edges get lost when the prism through which it is viewed remains limited to the story of Marshall's engagement’. See ibid., p. 99.
6. Ibid., p. 102.
7. Sanchi stood in striking contrast to the sites of Amaravati and Bharhut, where no standing stupa structures had survived and from which sculpted panels, pillars, and railings had travelled far and wide, to be retrieved over the nineteenth century for museums in Madras, London, and Calcutta. See Tapati Guha-Thakurta, Monuments, Objects, Histories: Institutions of Art in Colonial and Postcolonial India (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), pp. 63–70.
8. The two possibly earliest accounts of the site, by Edward Fell, Captain in the 10th Native Infantry, in 1819, and by J. D. Cunningham, army-engineer serving as Political Agent at Bhopal, in 1847 (see below for full citations of these accounts) refer only to two stupas on the hill site, with the second of these monuments said to contain no sculptures or gateways. The existence of ‘No. 3 Tope’, along with a large cluster of Topes in the vicinity – at Satdhara, Bhojpur, and Andher – is first registered in Alexander Cunningham's account of 1854.
9. Captain E. Fell, Description of an Ancient and Remarkable Monument near Bhilsa (Hasingabad: [n. pub.], 31 January 1819). Later published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 3 (1834), p. 490.
10. This process of the ‘opening up’ of ‘topes’ by Cunningham is described at length in Dilip K. Chakrabarty, A History of Indian Archaeology, from the Beginnings to 1947 (New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal, 1988), pp. 37–38, 63.
11. This sense of the destructive excavation attempts of the amateur explorers, Johnson and Maddock, first comes through in Cunningham's account of the site: J. D. Cunningham, ‘Notes on the Antiquities of the Districts within the Bhopal Agency’, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, XVI, no. VIII, new series (August 1847), 745–46. The criticism would thereafter be repeated in all subsequent reports on excavations at the site, from Cunningham through Marshall to Nayanjot Lahiri. It also features prominently in the Archaeological Survey of India's booklet: Mitra, p. 11.
12. While scholars like Dilip K. Chakrabarti have commended Cunningham's work at Sanchi as laying out the parameters of the new ‘scientific’ investigative techniques of field archaeology, others like Nayanjot Lahiri, quoting the accounts of later colonial official and scholars, are strongly critical of the kinds of structural damage that Cunningham inflicted on the body of the main stupa, and of the way he dispersed and appropriated the relics he unearthed from the site. Lahiri, p. 101.
13. Alexander Cunningham, The Bhilsa Topes or Buddhist Monuments of Central India (London: Elder & Co., Bombay: Smith, Taylor & Co., 1854), pp. x–xi.
14. The importance of image-making, particularly of photography, in the colonial archaeological project and in the production of scholarship on India's art and architectural history has emerged as a major field of study, laying open for scrutiny the vast nineteenth-century photographic archive of India's ancient sites and monuments. A landmark publication on this theme came out of a travelling exhibition of early photographs of Indian architecture in the collection of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA), Montreal: Traces of India: Photography, Architecture and the Politics of Representation, ed. by Maria Antonella Pelizzari (Montreal: CCA, 2003).
15. Lahiri, p. 100.
16. Fell, pp. 481, 491–92, 494.
17. Lahiri, p. 101.
18. Cunningham, The Bhilsa Topes, Plates I–XXXIII.
19. Maisey set out to argue the following: firstly, that the great Stupa at Sanchi, while undoubtedly old, was a pre-Buddhist structure associated with cults of tree and serpent worship, and that it was later transformed into a Buddhist reliquary mound sometime around the Christian era; secondly, that Buddhism itself dated not from the sixth century BCE but from about the first century BCE; and thirdly, that there was not sufficient proof to relate ‘Devanamapiya’ of the pillar edicts with emperor Asoka, nor the religion the edicts referred to with the Buddhism of Sakya Muni. See Frederick Charles Maisey, Sanchi and its Remains (London: Keagan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1892), Introduction by Alexander Cunningham, pp. x–xi.
20. Ibid., p. xv.
21. James Fergusson, Picturesque Illustrations of Ancient Architecture in Hindostan (London: J. Hogarth, 1848), pp. 21–22.
22. This is recounted by James Fergusson in his book on the Sanchi and Amaravati sculptures that grew out of the research and plan for the exhibition: James Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship; or Illustrations of Mythology and Art in India in the First and Fourth Centuries after Christ from the Sculptures of the Buddhist Topes at Sanchi and Amaravati (London: India Museum, W. H. Allen, 1868), Preface, pp. iii–iv.
23. Linnaeus Tripe's album of 1858 of photographs of the Amaravati sculptures, with each slab measured along a scale and photographed on the floor of the Central museum, Madras, is preserved in the Oriental and India Office Collections of the British Library, London. Analogous to the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum, these limestone sculptures were then referred to as the ‘Elliot Marbles’, after Walter Elliot, Commissioner of Guntur, who had excavated the site and despatched these sculptures to Madras in 1845.
24. Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship, Preface, p. iv.
25. Ibid., p. v.
26. Ibid., p. 105.
27. J. Forbes Watson, Report on the Illustration of the Archaic Architecture of India, Archaeological Survey of India (London: India Museum, 1869).
28. Guha-Thakurta, pp. 23–24.
29. Donald Preziosi, Rethinking Art History: Meditations on a Coy Science (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989), offers the most powerful formulations on the ‘panoptic’ archive and sway of the discipline of art history.
30. Fergusson, Tree and Serpent Worship, Preface, p. iv.
31. James Fergusson, On the Study of Indian Architecture: A Lecture Delivered to the Society of Arts, London nineteenth December 1866 (London: Science and Art Dept., South Kensington Museum, 1867).
32. James Fergusson, Illustration of Various Styles of Indian Architecture: A Series of Fifteen Photographs of Some of the Most Important Buildings in India Erected Between B.C. 250 and A.D. 1830 (London: Science and Art Dept., South Kensington Museum, 1869).
33. On the setting up of these Architectural Courts as a new imperial project, see Tim Barringer, ‘The South Kensington Museum and the Colonial Project’, in Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum, ed. by Tim Barringer and Tom Flynn (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), pp. 17–21.
34. ‘Convention for Promoting Universally Re-Productions of Works of Art for the Benefit of Museums of all Countries’, signed at the Paris Exhibition of 1867 by the princes, crown princes, dukes, and archdukes of Great Britain and Ireland, Prussia, Hesse, Saxony, France, Belgium, Russia, Sweden and Norway, Italy, Austria, and Denmark, Government of India, Home Department Proceedings, Archaeology Branch, 1869–70, pp. 7–8.
35. Cunningham, The Bhilsa Topes, Preface, p. xi.
36. Discussed, using the official archival correspondence from the Proceedings of the Foreign Department, Government of India of 1856–57, in Lahiri, pp. 102–03.
37. Note by John Stratchey, 16 June 1868, Government of India, Proceedings of the Foreign Department, A, Nos. 59–61 – quoted in Lahiri, p. 102.
38. Report by H. H. Cole, Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, N.W.P., India, to the Under-Secretary of State for India, India Office, dated London, 24 August 1869, Government of India, Home Department Proceedings, Archaeology Branch, 1869–70, pp. 2–4.
39. Art Journal, London (1870), pp. 65–66; Art Journal, London (1871), pp. 65–68.
40. Report by H. H. Cole to A. O. Hume, Officiating Secretary to the Government of India, dated Jubbulpore, 21 December 1870, with a full table of expenses of the casting operations at Sanchi, Delhi and Futtehpore Sikri, Government of India, Home Department Proceedings, Archaeology Branch, 31 December 1870, Nos. 21–25.
41. Ibid., No. 24.
42. Major H. H. Cole, Reports of the Curator of Ancient Monuments in India (Calcutta: Office of the Curator of Ancient Monuments in India, 1885), Parts I–III for the years 1881–84; Major H. H. Cole, Preservation of National Monuments in India (Simla: Government Central Branch Press, 1884–85), Photographic Albums, vols I and II.
43. Cole, Reports of the Curator of Ancient Monuments in India, Part II, Second Report for the Year 1882–83, with special attention to the ‘disrepair and neglect of important monuments, in the use and charge of native princes and communities’, pp. 1–4.
44. Quoted in Lahiri, p. 105.
45. Ibid. The reversed lintels with the wrong sequencing of the sculptures are reproduced, with an explanation of the history of the erroneous reconstruction, in Marshall and Foucher, II, Plate 10.
46. Thus, for instance, despite Cunningham's recommendation for the removal of Sanchi's Asokan pillar capital to the Indian Museum, Calcutta (which would thereafter acquire other such Asokan pillar capitals from Bihar), this most ancient of structures remained on location, to be later reinstalled in the new site museum set up here by Marshall. Under Cole's tenure, a comprehensive statement of the priorities of in situ conservation was provided by his colleague, Major J. B. Keith, Archaeological Survey, North Western Provinces, India, dated 14 October 1885, Government of India, Home Department Proceedings, Archaeology and the Conservation of Ancient Monuments, November 1885, Nos. 1–3.
47. On Deen Dayal's career and work of this period, see Christopher Pinney, Camera Indica: The Social Life of Indian Photographs (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997), pp. 82–85.
48. Along with the earliest photographs of Sanchi taken by J. Waterhouse in 1862–63, Lala Deen Dayal's photographs of Sanchi, one set taken in the early 1880s during the beginnings of Cole's restoration activities at the site, and a later set of the restored gateways, taken on 5 November 1895, are now stored on microfiche as part of the comprehensive photographic collection of the Archaeological Survey of India. These Sanchi photographs are part of the earliest India Office Series, covering 16 volume of photographs taken from the mid-1850s to the 1890s: ASI Microfiche Collection, Fiche 42, 1296–97, 1301–22, 1413–27.
49. India: Photographs and Drawings of Historical Buildings – One Hundred Plates Reproduced by W. Griggs from the Collection of the Late Office of the Curator of Ancient Monuments in India (London: W. Griggs, 1896); James Burgess, The Ancient Monuments, Temples and Sculptures of India, Illustrated in a Series of Reproductions of Photographs in the India Office, Calcutta Museum and Other Collections (London: W. Griggs, 1897).
50. See ibid., Plates 5–32 (on Bharhut), 35–53 (on Sanchi).
51. Sanchi and the Seven Pagodas of Mahabalipuram (Calcutta: Johnston and Hoffman, Photographers and Publishers, [n.d.]) (album of 61 mounted photographs).
52. A seminal work on this theme is Philip C. Almond, The British Discovery of Buddhism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
53. While Fergusson's pioneering History of Indian and Eastern Architecture (London: John Murray, 1876) first proclaimed Sanchi's architectural and artistic excellence as a high point in his story of the inverted evolution of Indian art, the consecration of Sanchi's sculptural art would come in the early twentieth century with the new wave of Orientalist valorization of India's ‘fine arts’ of sculpture and painting in books like E. B. Havell, Indian Sculpture and Painting (London: John Murray, 1908); A. K. Coomaraswamy, History of Indian and Indonesian Art (London: W. Hiersmann, 1927); and Ludwig Bachofer, Early Indian Sculpture, 2 vols (Paris: Pegasus, 1929).
54. Marshall and Foucher, vol. I, pp. 7–9, 36–40.
55. Ibid., p. 40.
56. Catalogue of the Museum of Archaeology at Sanchi, Bhopal State, ed. by Maulavi Muhammad Habib, Pandit Ramchandra Kak, and Ramaprasad Chanda, Archaeological Survey of India (Calcutta: Superintendent, Government Printing, 1922). An appendix in the catalogue even provides us with a listing and tentative dating of undisplayed objects stored in the godown of the museum, and those still lying around the site, identifying the particular location of each.
57. Sir John Hubert Marshall, A Guide to Sanchi (Calcutta: Superintendent, Government Printing, 1918).
58. Marshall's Guide to Sanchi of 1918 saw itself as a prelude to this larger publication that was said then to be already in preparation. By the time of the eventual publication of this three-volume book, one of its contributing authors was no more. The Bengali archaeologist N. G. Majumdar, who contributed to the epigraphic analysis of Sanchi's inscriptions in the third volume of the book, died prematurely in 1938 during excavations at Sind. N. G. Majumdar was inducted from the Varendra Research Society into the ASI by Marshall in the 1920s, and he worked closely with Marshall during his excavations at Mohenjodaro between 1922 and 1927, thereafter moving on to excavating several other Indus sites. Majumdar's collaborative work with Marshall on Sanchi was probably accomplished during these same years.
59. This issue has been explored in different contexts in chapters 3 and 4 of my book, Monuments, Objects, Histories.
60. Lahiri, pp. 107–12, raises this significant theme of the role of the women rulers of Bhopal in the archaeological conservation of Sanchi.
61. This sense of pride and custody over this ancient monument in its domain comes through in the first translated account we have of the history and territory of the Bhopal kingdom – Her Highness, Nawab Shahjahan, Begum of Bhopal, Taj-Ul Iqbal Tarikh Bhopal or The History of Bhopal, trans. by H. C. Barstow of the Bengal Civil Service (Calcutta: Thacker Spink and Co., 1876), pp. 219–21.
62. The Mahabodhi Society was founded in 1891, under the initiatives of the Victorian Orientalist Sir Edwin Arnold and the Sinhalese Buddhist monk Anagarika Dharmapala. Its main cause was to reclaim the site and temple of Bodh Gaya in Bihar (the place of Buddha's enlightenement) from the proprietorship of the Hindu Shaivite sect and its conversion into a new holiest of holy centres of world Buddhism. The Society set up its first office in Calcutta, and soon afterwards in Bodh Gaya, and would thereafter proceed in spreading its branches from Ceylon across Buddhist sites in India to London. On the prolonged and unsuccessful battle of the Mahabodhi Society for the custody of Bodh Gaya, my main source has been Alan Michael Trevitihick, A Jerusalem of the Buddhists in British India, 1874–1979, (doctoral thesis, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University, 1988); Guha-Thakurta, pp. 281–98.
63. Saloni Mathur, India by Design: Colonial History and Cultural Display (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), chapter 5, ‘A Parable of Postcolonial Return: Museums and the Discourse of Restitution’.
64. Ibid., pp. 146–55.
65. For instance, the acquisition from the Archaeological Survey of India of the funerary relics of the excavated sites of Taxila and Nagarajunakonda made for the consecration of the new vihara that the Mahabodhi Society built at Sarnath in 1932 in the last years of Anagarika Dharmapala, who had by then made Sarnath his main base. See History of the Mulagandha Kuty Vihara, Sarnath, ed. by Kahawatte Siri Sumedho Thero (Sarnath: Varanasi, 2006). My thanks to Sraman Mukherjee for sharing this material with me.
66. Quoted in Lahiri, p. 111.
67. It is hardly surprising that the new Chetiyagiri Vihara remains obscured from all the Archaeological Survey of India's guide books on Sanchi. It finds a passing mention in one of the latest guide books of 2003, less as a suggested place of visit so much as to certify the historical point that the caskets it houses are possibly the original ones of Buddha's two foremost disciples, Sariputra and Mahamogalana, which were once encased within Stupa 2 at Satdhara.
68. Cited in Aman Nath, Dome over India: Rashtrapati Bhavan (Mumbai: India Book House, 2002), pp. 11, 58 (a detailed biography of this single architectural complex). Edwin Lutyens’ and Herbert Baker's late imperial classicist architectural style and its fusion with Indian ornamental and stylistic elements in the making of New Delhi found its great champion at that time in the British architectural critic, Robert Byron. Robert Byron, ‘New Delhi’, Architectural Review, 69 (January 1931). For a detailed discussion of the debate around Lutyens’ imperial architectural style, see Robert Grant Irving, Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi (New Haven: Yale University Press; Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1981); Norma Evenson, ‘The Long Debate’, in Norma Evenson, The Indian Metropolis: A View Towards the West (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 104–09.
69. The statement is said to have been recorded in Edwin Lutyens’ architectural drawings and personal correspondence on the building of the Government House, even as Lutyens has generally been seen as reticent in acknowledging his incorporation of Indian architectural elements and ornamental design in his design of the buildings of New Delhi. The Work of the English Architect, Edwin Lutyens, 1869–1944, Exhibition Catalogue (London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1981); Mary Lutyens, Edwin Lutyens (London: John Murray, 1980). Cited in Nath, p. 54.
70. These case studies coincided with the themes of two of the excellent graduate student presentations at the ‘Afterlives of Monuments’ conference, from which this journal issue has emerged – Sneha Raghavan's paper, ‘Notes on Memorialising the Nation: Gandhi and Birla’ and Suryanandini Sinha's paper, ‘Monumental Mayawati: Anticipating Afterlives’.
71. Unlike the much-discussed deployment of the Sanchi-style dome in Lutyens’ architectural scheme of the Government House, New Delhi of 1929, there is no available published material on the architect or the choice of architectural style in the building of this first and largest planetarium by the Birlas in Calcutta during 1962–63.A subject that is waiting to be researched is the way many of these first national institutions of modern science pointedly take on historic Indian architectural styles for their buildings. A wonderful case is the Bose Institute of Calcutta, set up in 1917, which its founder Jagadish Chandra Bose dedicated to the nation ‘not just as a laboratory but as a temple’, where the building and its gate carries ornate decorations and carvings drawn from medieval Indian temple and palace architecture.
72. Mayawati, as the leader of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), which came to powerfully mobilise Dalit electoral vote-banks and cultural pride in Uttar Pradesh (UP), has dominated the political scene of this largest, most populous state of India over the past two decades. The BSP came to power four times in UP – in 1995, 1997, 2002, and 2007 – forming strategic, though short-lived, alliances with other parties like the Samajwadi Party and the Congress or Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), each time with Mayawati as Chief Minister. Mayawati's last tenure as Chief Minister of UP ended in 2012 with Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party taking over the reins. For more on Mayawati, see Ajoy Bose, Behenji – A Political Biography of Mayawati (New Delhi: Penguin/Viking, 2008).
73. This theme has been explored in a rich body of recent scholarship, e.g. Gary Tartakov, ‘Art and Identity: Rise of a Buddhist Imagery’, Art Journal, 49.4 (Winter 1990); Nicolas Jaoul, ‘Learning the Use of Symbolic Means: Dalits, Ambedkar statues and the State in Uttar Pradesh’, Contributions to Indian Sociology, 40 (2006); Anupama Rao, The Caste Question: Dalits and the Politics of Modern India (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2009).
74. My discussion of Mayawati's architectural and sculptural projects has drawn heavily on the article by Kajri Jain, ‘The Handbag that Exploded: Mayawati's Monuments and the Aesthetics of Democracy in Post-Reform India’, in New Cultural Histories of India: Materiality and Practices, ed. by Partha Chatterjee, Tapati Guha-Thakurta, and Bodhisattva Kar (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, fortheoming). I am also indebted to the conference paper of Suryanandini Sinha (‘Monumental Mayawati’) and the photographs of the Lucknow public memorial sites that she shared with me.
75. The implementation of the project was entrusted to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, on the Indian side, and to the Luoyang Municipal People's Government, on the Chinese side. Working under an Advisory Committee, headed by Dr Kapila Vatsyana, the Indian contributions have been: (i) the provision of structural architectural drawings, with details of decoration, by a professional firm of architects; (ii) a fully fabricated Buddha image; (iii) Indian stone material (finished, semi-finished, and crude) for exterior cladding of the structure; (iv) the full cost of construction. The main responsibilities of the Chinese side were to provide the land, handle tenders and the financial and technical monitoring of the project, and bear the costs of local transportation of material and additional on-site expenses. All information and photographs on the making of the Sanchi Stupa in China have been procured through the generous assistance of Mr Ashis Chakrabarti, a senior journalist with The Telegraph, Calcutta, who spent a year, between March 2008 and January 2009, on a journalistic assignment in China.
76. An Indian stone supplier, M/s Mangla Exports, provided all the stone for the construction, and also secured stone craftsmen from Rajasthan and Orissa who have experience in doing temple architectural work.
77. The words were said by Chakrabarti to be those of a Chinese monk at Baima Si who referred to the damage of these rock sculptures at Luoyang, Datong, and Dunhuang.
78. This dismountable model in thermocol, ply, and plaster was the work of the Puja designer Dipak Ghosh and his team, which specialises in such architectural replica production for the festival, producing over the years carefully-researched and intricately-carved copies of the historic temples of Orissa or Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthani forts and palaces, the wooden palace architecture of Padmnabhapuram, Kerala, and the Newari architecture of Nepal. In 2011 Dipak Ghosh completed ten years of his work on architectural replicas in this festival field.
79. This is one of the themes I explore in a book I am completing on the subject, tentatively titled In the Name of the Goddess: The Durga Pujas of Contemporary Kolkata.
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Saint Paul's College, Goa
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/19/24 ... llege,_Goa

Gate of the St. Paul's College (only vestige)

St. Paul's College was a Jesuit school, and later college, founded circa 1542 by saint Francis Xavier, at Old Goa. It was once the main Jesuit institution in the whole of Asia. It housed the first printing press in India, having published the first books in 1556.[1] The original building, however, was abandoned progressively after the outbreak of plague in 1578, and went into disuse as the college moved to new building known as the New College of Saint Paul.[2] It is an ASI protected Monument of National Importance in Goa.

The ruins were demolished in 1832. The only vestige of the original college and of the collegiate church consecrated on 25 January 1543 is the Gate of the College of St. Paul, that can be seen south of St. Cajetan's church. The arch with a niche at the top and a cross crowning it, is built of laterite and flanked by basalt columns. The legacy of St. Paul's College endures until today in the Rachol Seminary.[3]


In 1542 the first Jesuits arrived at India headed by Francis Xavier, co-founder of the new Society of Jesus. They were sent by King John III of Portugal to help on religious issues in the Portuguese Empire, under the Padroado agreement. In Goa, then capital of Portuguese India they established, at first temporarily, in the Seminary of the Holy Faith (Santa Fé) started by Miguel Vaz and Franciscan friar Diogo de Borba, under the patronage of governor Estevão da Gama in 1541.[4] Soon they renamed it "St. Paul's College" as it became the Jesuit' headquarters in Asia. The college had classes in grammar, rhetoric, and lectures on classical authors. It had also a school for 450 local students, teaching reading and writing, and an hospital. On 10 March 1554 the college got a grant from king John III of Portugal entitling it to the rents of the temples in Goa and nearby islands. It was also entitled to the gifts from local chiefs to the king.

The French traveler François Pyrard de Laval, who visited Goa c.1608, described the College of St Paul, praising the variety of the subjects taught there free of charge. Like many other European travelers who visited the College, he recorded that at this time it had 3000 students, from all the missions of Asia. Its Library was one of the biggest in Asia, and the first Printing Press was mounted there.

The first printing press

Title page of Garcia da Orta's Colóquios. Goa, 1563.

The art of printing first entered India through St. Paul's College in Goa. In a letter to St. Ignatius of Loyola, dated 30 April 1556, Father Gasper Caleza speaks of a ship carrying a printing press, setting sail from Portugal to Abyssinia (current-day Ethiopia) via Goa, with the purpose of helping missionary work. Circumstances prevented this printing press from leaving India, and consequently, printing operations began in Goa in 1556, established at the Jesuit College of St Paul in Old Goa.[5]

That year, D. João Nunes Barreto, who had been appointed Patriarch of Abyssinia, and his coadjutor Belchior Leitão[6] stood residing in Goa, offering his episcopal services till the appointment of the first Archbishop of Goa, D. Gaspar de Leão Pereira in 1560. He introduced the printing press to Goa. The individual responsible for the initiation of printing in India was João de Bustamante. Bustamante, an expert printer sent accompanying the printing press, along with his Indian assistant set up the new press and began to operate it. Among others, four books are known to have been printed by Bustamante: The first book published that year was called Conclusiones Philosophicas. A year later, the printing press published its second book, Catecismo da Doutrina Christã, five years after the death of its author, St. Francis Xavier. This was followed by the printing of Garcia da Orta’s Colóquios dos simples e drogas he cousas medicinais da Índia on 10 April 1563 by João de Endem. In 1568, the first illustrated cover page (the illustration being done with the relief technique of woodblock) was printed in Goa for the book Constituciones do Arcebispado de Goa. The earliest, surviving printed book in India is the Compendio Spiritual da Vide Christaa (Spiritual Compendium of the Christian life) of Gaspar Jorge de Leão Pereira, the Portuguese Archbishop of Goa.

Notable alumni
• Blessed Miguel de Carvalho (1579–1624), Jesuit priest, and Martyr of Japan
• Saint Joseph Vaz (1651–1711), Oratorian priest and 'Apostle of Ceylon'.

See also

• Printing in Goa
• Printing in Tamil language
• Francis Xavier
• Henrique Henriques
• St. Paul's College, Macao
• List of Jesuit sites


1. p.115, O'Malley, J W 1993, 'The First Jesuits', Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts
2. José Nicolau da Fonseca, An historical and archaeological sketch of the city of Goa: preceded by a short statistical account of the territory of Goa
3. Cosme Jose Costa sfx (2006). "St Paul's College & Rachol Seminary". Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. Archived from the original on September 15, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2010.
4. Borges, pp.20–21
5. Manohararāya Saradesāya, A history of Konkani literature: from 1500 to 1992, Sahitya Akademi, 2000, ISBN 81-7201-664-6
6. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Melchior Carneiro". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Further reading

• Charles J. Borges, The economics of the Goa Jesuits, 1542–1759: an explanation of their rise and fall, Concept Publishing Company, 1994, ISBN 81-7022-505-1
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Postby admin » Sat Jul 20, 2024 4:06 am

Rachol Seminary
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 7/19/24

It is interesting to examine why types of the local language of Goa (Marathi) were not prepared at this stage. Fr. G. C. Rodeles writes that Gonsalves did actually think of preparing "Canarese" types, but did not pursue the idea on account of the clumsy shapes of the characters, the irregularity of pronunciation and the limited area in which the language was spoken. 31 [Rodeles, op. cit., p. 161.] In a recent article Fr. Schurhammer points out that Gonsalves had actually started preparing types of the Devanagarii script. He writes: —

"By the end of the year 1577 there were cast about 50 letters in the Devanagari script, but brother Joao Gonsalves who prepared them died in the following year, and his companion Fr. Joao de Faria also having expired in the year 1582, there was none who was able to undertake the work. For this reason the Puranna was printed in Latin characters in the College of Rachol in the years 1616 and 1649 and in the College of St. Paul in the year 1654." 32 [Georg Schurhammer, " Uma obra rarissima impressa em Goa no ano 1588," Boletim do Institute Vasco da Gama, No. 73-1956, p. 8.]...

Such information as is available about the literature known to have been printed in Goa during the 17th Century, is given below: —

(i) 1616. Thomas Stephens. Discurso sobre a vinda de Jusu Christo Nosso Salvador ao Mundo (Discourse on the Coming of the Christ to the World). (No extant copy recorded).

This is the famous Purana by Fr. Stephens which is written in literary Marathi. The next two editions of this work were printed in 1649 and 1654. But none of these have survived to our day. The text of the fourth edition, printed in 1907 at Mangalore, 45 [Thomas Stephens, The Christian Puranna (Edited by J. L. Saldanha) Manglaore 1907.] was prepared from some manuscripts.

(ii) 1622. Thomas Stephens. Doutrina Christam. This work on Christian Doctrine in the form of a dialogue is written in the dialect spoken by Goa Brahmins. This was written by the author before the Purana, but was published after the Purana. A copy is available in the Government Library in Lisbon and another in the library of the Vatican in Rome. A facsimile edition prepared by Dr. Mariano Saldanha was published by the Portuguese Government in Lisbon in 1945.

(iii) 1632. Diogo Ribeiro. Declaracam da Dovtrina Christam. (A statement of the Christian Doctrine) This was written in the Brahmin dialect of Goa. A copy is available in the Government library in Lisbon.

All the three works mentioned above were printed at the Rachol College.

-- The Printing Press in India: It's Beginnings and Early Development Being a Quatercentenary Commemoration Study of the Advent of Printing in India (In 1556)
by Anant Kakba Priolkar, Director, Marathi Samshodhana Mandala, Bombay.

The legacy of St. Paul's College endures until today in the Rachol Seminary.

-- Saint Paul's College, Goa, by Wikipedia

Rachol Seminary

Façade of the seminary, 2005

Motto: Luceas sicut luminare
Type: Major Seminary
Established: 1609; 415 years ago
Rector: Rev. Fr. Donato Rodrigues
Students: 42
Location: Rachol, Goa, India
15°18′36″N 74°0′5″E
Campus: Urban

The Rachol Seminary, also known as Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol, is the diocesan major seminary of the Primatial Catholic Archdiocese of Goa and Daman in Rachol, Goa, India.

Historical outline

The edifice that presently houses the seminary was constructed by the Jesuits with donations from the boy-king of Portugal, Dom Sebastião, in the area occupied originally by a Muslim fortress.

The coat of arms of the King of Portugal at the entrance of the Seminary

The foundation stone for the main quadrangular portion was blessed and laid on 1 November 1606 by Fr. Gaspar Soares. Three years later, on 31 October 1609, with the solemn celebration of the Vespers, the “College of All Saints” (Colégio de Todos os Santos) was blessed and inaugurated.[1] Somewhere between 1622 and 1640, the name of the college was changed to "College of St. Ignatius" (Colégio de S. Inácio). The change was to pay homage to St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuit Order, who had been canonized in 1622. The retable of the main altar of the Seminary Church testifies to this fact. The Seminary community still celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius, the titular of the Seminary Church, with a solemn high mass with Gregorian chant.

The Pipe organ on the choir loft of the Seminary Church

This festivity is preceded by a novena of preparation for the locals around and a week-long Retreat (Spiritual Exercises) for the seminarians. The Seminary also possesses a 19th-century Pipeorgan, that is played during liturgical services.

The Jesuits controlled the college for a century and a half. Having begun as a school for the training of natives, it gradually adopted the curriculum for training Jesuits and later even secular priests from 1646.

In 1759, the Prime Minister of Portugal, Marquis de Pombal expelled the Jesuits from Goa. Their institutions and properties were confiscated by the state and the college was shut down.
[2] Three years later, in 1762, Archbishop-Primate Dom António Taveira da Neiva Brum e Silveira converted the abandoned College into the "Diocesan Seminary of the Good Shepherd" (Seminário do Bom Pastor) and placed it under the protection of the Infant Jesus. He entrusted to the native Oratorian Congregation of St. Philip Neri the work of priestly training. This was the first diocesan seminary erected in Asia, after the order passed by the Council of Trent (1563–1578) that all those desiring to dedicate themselves to the ecclesiastical ministry as diocesan (secular) clergy should pass through formation in a seminary. The retable of the altar of the internal Chapel of the seminary bears a picture of Jesus as the Good Shepherd. The Church, however, continued under the invocation of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In 1774, the ruling Royal Treasury Junta of Goa abruptly suppressed the seminary on the pretext that certain conditions were not being fulfilled, the real reason being economic.[3] In 1781, owing to a petition by the people of Salcete and the Municipality of Margao, the Court of Portugal ordered the seminary to be restored. The Municipality of Salcete financed the required repairs for the building. The college was thus reopened, and its management was entrusted to the Congregation of the Mission, popularly called Vincentians or Lazarists. At first, two Vincentian priests from the Convent of Rilhafolles, Portugal, were deputed at the instance of Queen Dona Maria I of Portugal. The seminary was also condecorated with the title of "Royal Seminary of Rachol" (Real Seminário de Rachol). Later, Vincentians from Italy also came to help in the administration of the seminary, bringing with them sacred relics and a vial containing the blood of a Roman saint and martyr, St. Constantius. These relics are preserved in the seminary Church even today. The seminary operated until 1790, when it was closed down for three years, after the Vincentians left the seminary. In 1793, the Oratorians were again deputed to run the diocesan seminary. They continued their work for about forty-two years.

Bad days dawned once again for the seminary, when in 1835 all religious institutes were extinguished in Portugal and in all its possessions. Consequently, the Seminary was run by the diocesan clergy[4] and came to be simply known as Seminário de Rachol.

In 1886, the Archbishop of Goa and Daman was bestowed the honorific title of Patriarch of the East Indies. Since then the seminary is known as the "Patriarchal Seminary of Rachol".

Curriculum of the seminary

The curriculum of priestly formation began at a rudimentary level and gradually grew in subject matter. Archbishop-Primate Dom João Crisóstomo de Amorim Pessoa (1862–1874) and Archbishop-Patriarch Dom António Sebastião Valente (1882–1908) were the two Prelates who, in their own times, conducted an overhauling of the studies: Preparatory Course, Philosophy Course and Theology Course. Dom Valente made a few additions to the main edifice, such as a new wing with forty rooms, a library, a dormitory for the novices, an infirmary and a Chapel. This Prelate, who had the formation of seminarians very close to his heart, presented a new and updated Regulamento for the life in the seminary. The standard of studies in the seminary acquired such a height that Pope Leo XIII, acceding to Archbishop-Patriarch Valente's exposition and request, by his Apostolic letter Quum Venerabilis Frater, granted the Seminary the faculty of bestowing the academic degree of "Bachelor in Divinity". The requirements, as extant in the Apostolic Letter, were very strict. The Apostolic Letter, having obtained the royal pleasure (beneplacitum regium), was executed in Goa only in 1894. Since then up to 1931, when the faculty stood abolished by virtue of the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Pius XI Deus Scientiarum Dominus, thirty-five priests were conferred the said degree.

During the tenure of Archbishop-Primate Manuel de S. Galdino (1812–1831), an additional preparatory course was established at Mapusa (North of Goa). To accommodate increasing number of Theology students, Archbishop-Patriarch Valente built a two-storey new wing between 1890 and 1894. The first floor contained forty single rooms and a dormitory and study hall for beginners, while the second floor contained a library hall. Other students, called externos, were housed in rented cottages (comensalidades) under a Prefect of Discipline, from which they would commute to the Seminary for Mass and classes. With the setting up of the minor seminary of the Archdiocese at Saligão-Pilerne, from 1952 the additional Preparatory Course at Mapusa as well as the comensalidades at the Rachol Seminary ceased to exist. In 2002, a new Academic Block with some rooms, lecture halls and a spacious Auditorium over it was constructed.

At present the Seminary holds a three-year Philosophy Course, with concomitant graduation from the “Indira Gandhi National Open University”, Delhi (IGNOU). This is followed by a year of pastoral praxis in the parishes/institutions of the Archdiocese. The final phase is the four-year Theology Course. At the end of the Fourth Year of Theology, the students are ordained deacons. After further formation at the Pastoral Institute, and after exercising diaconal pastoral ministry in the parishes, they receive priestly ordination.

The Seminary of Rachol, with its motto LUCEAS SICUT LUMINARE, faithfully imparts holistic Catholic priestly formation to the aspiring candidates. Formation at the Seminary embraces the human, spiritual, academic and pastoral levels. Besides, there are several programmes organized on a regular basis in order to keep the young seminarians abreast with the realities of life and the needs of the Church. Institutions within the seminary, like the Literary and Cultural Association, the Catechetical Association, the Cell for Vocation Promotion, the St. Joseph's Outreach to aid the less fortunate, the Sports Association, etc. help the seminarians to put together their skills and cooperate with one another in various ventures. The choral society, established by Archbishop Valente, in 1897, known today as Coro de Santa Cecilia (Santa Cecilia Choir) provides the young students a rare opportunity to further their musical and choral talents for the glory of God.

The cloister (courtyard) of the Seminary

The seminarians are also shown how to love nature by active involvement in the agricultural activity of the seminary (paddy fields, vegetable gardens, fruit plants, flower gardens). Besides, the seminarians also visit prisons, slums, orphans, hospitals, senior citizens' homes, broken families and are involved in building Small Christian Communities in the vicinity of the parish of Rachol.

Multi-faceted service

This college has served the Church and humanity in varied ways. It was originally planned as a college for the education of the natives. It functioned as a Catechetical School for the training of catechumens, a hospital, an orphanage, a Primary School (in Portuguese), a Konkani School for the missionaries who came from Europe, a School of Catholic morality, before being finally erected into a seminary.

Since 1762, after the closure of the seminaries at Old Goa and Chorão Seminary, Rachol Seminary has produced many priests. Ecclesiastics have spread the Gospel to several parts of the world, including Mozambique, Angola, Cabo Verde, Kenya, Tanzania, Venezuela, Canada, Sri-Lanka, Pakistan, Burma, and Japan. Missionaries from this Seminary have also been pioneers in establishing various local Churches in the different states of India. Several students of Rachol have been elevated to the episcopate. The group of priests who got together in 1888 to form the well known Indian-born “Society of the Missionaries of St. Francis Xavier”(Pilar Fathers), as well as those priests who revived the Society in 1930, themselves studied at the Rachol Seminary.

Rachol Seminary also had the distinction of housing a printing press, the third one in Goa. It functioned for almost sixty years in the college in the 17th century. It brought forth sixteen books, the chief ones among them being the Krista Purana, a Konkani-Marathi discourse in verse of the history of salvation, written in the style of the Hindu Puranas; Doutrina Christam em Lingoa Bramana Canarim, a catechism in Konkani and Arte da lingoa Canarim, the first printed Konkani grammar. With the closure of the printing press at the college, the printing activity in Goa ceased, to reappear only in 1821, when the government of Goa imported a printing press from Bombay in order to publish the official weekly “Gazeta de Goa.” The corridors and walls of the Seminary are adorned with many valuable and rare frescos and paintings, many of which have suffered the ravages of time. Among these works of art, the paintings (copies) of the celebrated Goan artist Angelo da Fonseca, student of Rabindranath Tagore and pioneer in Indian Christian art, are worth mentioning.

Rachol has also produced historians, writers, grammarians, scientists, scholars, pastors, parliamentarians and university professors. Among the latter we can single out the saintly and very popular Ven. Fr. Agnelo Gustavo Adolfo de Souza, sfx, (Padr Agnel) who underwent his priestly formation and was ordained at the Rachol Seminary. He later joined the Society of St. Francis Xavier (Pilar Society), and spent the last 10 years of his life as Confessor and Spiritual Director of the seminarians at Rachol. Fr. Thomas Stephens (Konkani and Marathi writer), Francisco de Souza (author of Oriente Conquistado), Msgr. Rudolfo Sebastião Dalgado (Konkani writer and scholar, known as the God-father of the Konkani language), Fr. Antonio Francisco Souza (Science writer and thinker) are some of the well-known personalities associated with Rachol Seminary, either as staff or students. Swami Vivekananda is said to have made several trips to the seminary, from Margao, where he had put up during his visit to Goa in 1892. He consulted the library at Rachol and discussed Christian theology and spirituality with the Professors of the seminary. This visit of Vivekananda to Rachol was in preparation for his famous address at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago (11 to 27 September 1893), where Vivekananda represented India and Hinduism.

IV Centenary Jubilee Celebrations

The Santa Cecilia Choir in Concert (at Bom Jesus Basilica) at the closing of the IV Centenary Jubilee celebrations

On 1 November 2010, the Archbishop-Patriarch of Goa and Daman, Most. Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrão opened the IV centenary Jubilee celebrations with a solemn high mass. A series of programs were organized all through the year. Some of the main events were: a spiritual Retreat; an Essay Competition for seminarians all over India; a 4-day long International Seminar convened by Dr. Victor Ferrão on Science and Religion focusing on "Catholicity in the World of Science"; Bible sessions for the laity; lenten Retreat for the neighbouring faithful; Seminars for Catechists of the surrounding parishes; a Konkani Seminar Amchem Daiz on the contribution of Rachol to Konkani literature; a Konkani play Panz, by the noted Konkani writer Pundalik Naik; an English operetta Be the Moon, libreto by Fr. Simião Fernandes and music by Fr. Romeo Monteiro, on the heroic life of the saintly Goan priest and Apostle of Sri Lanka Joseph Vaz (canonised by Pope Francis in 2015); and an all-Goa level Football Tournament for Altar Boys. A grand Concert of Sacred Music, featuring 150 musicians and singers, presented by the Santa Cecilia Choir of the Seminary with the involvement of ex-students and laity and conducted by Rev. Romeo Monteiro, Professor of Music at the Seminary, on 11 April 2011, brought the curtains down on the jubilee celebrations. The chorus of Te Deum laudamus, sung by those gathered in the Basilica of Bom Jesus, Old Goa, was executed as finale of thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for the 400 years of service that Rachol has rendered to the Church in Goa and to humanity at large.

See also

• Chorão Seminary


1. Amaro Pinto Lobo, Memoria Historico-Eclesiastica da Arquidiocese de Goa em commemoracao do quadricentenario da sua ereccao Canonica, 1533-1933, Tip."A Voz de S.Francisco Xavier",Nova Goa, 1933, pg. 275
2. Carlos Merces de Melo, The Recruitment and formation of the Native Clergy in India, 16th to 19th century: An historico-canonical study - Agencia Geral do Ultramar, Lisboa, 1955, pg. 181ff.
3. "St. Paul's College, Rachol Seminary". Archdiocese of Goa and Daman. 2017. Archived from the original on September 15, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
4. Amaro Pinto Lobo, Memoria Historico-Eclesiastica da Arquidiocese de Goa em commemoracao do quadricentenario da sua ereccao Canonica, 1533-1933, Tip."A Voz de S.Francisco Xavier".

External links

• Media related to Rachol Seminary at Wikimedia Commons
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Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2024 3:17 am

The SOAS language student who was a Soviet spy
by Brian Evans [SOAS: A Celebration in Many Voices, 2007]
[Katie Price, SOAS Centenary Timeline ... oviet-spy/]
December 10, 2015

Two years ago, I warned that MI6, the British intelligence agency, might be using graduates from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in Turkey....

-- The second SOAS scandal: Graduates of the University of Texas, by, March 8, 2024

1990 Commemorative Stamp depicting Soviet intelligence officer Konon Molody

Nearly 55 years after it happened, SOAS alumnus Brian Evans, a former Canadian diplomat and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta, recalls the discovery that fellow language student Gordon Lonsdale was actually Soviet intelligence officer Konon Molody.

I entered SOAS in early October 1954, a raw young man from the Canadian Prairies. New to London, it took me several tours of Russell Square that foggy morning before a break in the mist revealed Senate House and I was able to make my way to the School. I had come to study the history of China, but because I did not have a classical language – essential for entry – I opted to study Chinese, a logical choice.

In 1954 the academic staff at SOAS outnumbered the registered students, most of whom could sit around the huge round table in the student common room. My Chinese language class was much larger than the five of us full-time students in attendance. It was supplemented by members of the Foreign and Colonial Offices, the RAF, the British Army and the Royal Navy. The course, three or so hours each morning, was taught by a tag team of instructors each with his or her own method, style and Romanization. I was seated near the back, next to Ralph Evans, who went on to achieve fame as British ambassador in Beijing and negotiator of the agreement on Hong Kong. He was known as ‘Evans, FO’ and I was called ‘the other Evans’.

I was introduced to Chinese history by Otto Van Der Sprenkel, a Dutchman who wore large, broad-brimmed hats. He was inordinately fond of the Marx Brothers, and in the lunch hour he could be seen heading for a restaurant with a crocodile of students in tow to whom he recited Groucho’s witticisms in Chinese. One of his favourites was ‘Shangdi ai yi ge yatz!’ (Lord love a duck!)

I have fond memories of fellow students and of the academic staff at SOAS. We all drew closer together during the Suez Crisis, united against the Anglo-French action. In particular, I benefited from the teachings of W.G. Beasley, Dennis Twitchett, Michael Loewe, A.C. Graham and Jack Gray. And, of course, Cyril Birch, who later went on to Berkeley, California.

January 1961 marked the beginning of my last months at SOAS. I was writing my thesis at home in an attic flat in Muswell Hill and came in only now and then for mail and lunch with friends. One morning, late in January, I found a letter in the open boxes in the Common Room where most of us foreign students received our mail. It was marked ‘STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL’. On opening it, I found another envelope marked ‘PERSONAL, CONFIDENTIAL’. Inside was a typed note asking me to call a certain number because it was believed that I had some information of interest to Her Majesty’s Government. I went to a phone box on the corner of Russell Square, pushed Button A and shortly thereafter made my way to a nondescript building on the Thames side of Whitehall. There, I was seated facing a bright window, while my questioner, just a silhouette across the desk in front of me, paced back and forth. He wanted to know what I knew of Gordon Arnold Lonsdale, who had been arrested earlier that month outside Waterloo Station with a shopping bag full of microfilm showing details of the Britain nuclear submarine programme.

Gordon had been a language student at SOAS, a member of one of those mixed classes of Foreign and Colonial Office and armed service personnel, and I had been introduced to him when he first arrived because he was a fellow Canadian. When I had asked him where he was from, he said Edmonton. I said that that was a coincidence because that was where I was from, and I asked him what he had done there. He replied that he had been a used-car salesman, and he mentioned the name of a dealership that did not ring a bell with me. Subsequently, he cut me dead and avoided any conversation. He didn’t even offer me, as he did others, a partnership in his business scheme: looking after drink and cigarette machines on the US Air Force base at West Drayton. His classmates told of the wonderful parties he threw but noted that, although he frequently missed classes, due, he said, to eye problems, he was always on top of his studies. That was about all I could tell the man from MI5, before he told me the real story: how Gordon was not Canadian at all, he had never been to Edmonton (at last I knew why he snubbed me), he had collected his name from a child’s tombstone in an Ontario graveyard, and an obliging Ottawa office had issued him with a new Canadian passport. His trips to West Drayton were to meet his informant.

Gordon, a Soviet intelligence officer whose real name was Konon Trofimovich Molody, went to trial in May and was sentenced to 25 years as the biggest catch yet in the Cold War, later being swapped for Greville Wynne. He wrote his memoirs and mentioned his time at SOAS. He died picking mushrooms in some wood in Russia or Poland, a story that was confirmed to me in later years by a friend of his who became a friend of mine. Later, so I understand, my MI5 interrogator settled in Australia and wrote a book indicating that he had been a Soviet spy as well!

I received my PhD in May, shortly after Gordon was sentenced.

Brian Evans is a respected scholar of East Asian Studies and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta who has worked to foster greater understanding among the world’s peoples. His passion for China studies has benefited generations of students and his commitment to service has benefitted many community organizations. He is a Member of the Order of Canada.

This is an extract from an interview originally featured in the book SOAS: A Celebration in Many Voices, first published in 2007 by Third Millennium Publishing Limited. The full text is on the Alumni pages of the SOAS website. [dead link]
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Postby admin » Sun Jul 21, 2024 4:04 am

William Montgomery McGovern
by Wikipedia
Accessed: July 20, 2024 ... y_McGovern

The cadre reserved the greatest disapproval for William McGovern, an American lecturer from the School of Oriental Studies in London. McGovern was a member of a self-titled 'British Buddhist Mission' which visited Gyantse in 1922, but which was refused permission to visit Lhasa. The India Office had warned Bailey that the Mission, although otherwise composed of Oxford University graduates, 'are a queer crowd... (who), ...clearly show the cloven hoof'.[60]

McGovern returned with his fellows to India, but then secretly made his way back through Tibet in disguise, reaching Lhasa on 15 February 1923. He revealed his presence to the Tibetan authorities, who expelled him from Lhasa six weeks later. His subsequent book, and newspaper articles, widely publicised in Britain, made a number of comments on British policy in Tibet. [61]

McGovern's worst 'crime' in the Tibet cadre's eyes was his statement that there was a pro-Chinese party in Lhasa. Any evidence suggesting the Tibetans, particularly in Lhasa, in any way favoured the Chinese rather than the British was always denigrated. In this instance, Bailey obtained the assistance of Arthur Hinks, the Secretary of the Royal Geographical Society, with the result that the journal of the society published as strong an attack on McGovern's reliability and reputation as was legally possible to make. The journal claimed that 'whatever little value the story [of McGovern's journey] might have possessed is discounted by Dr. McGovern's obvious predilection for sensational journalism'. His conduct, they claimed, had done 'great disservice to good relations with Tibet', while his 'boast' that Indian frontier police were punished for failing to prevent his visit meant McGovern 'stands self-condemned'. Future references to him by cadre officers were inevitably derogatory; two decades later Bell described McGovern's book as 'a thriller' and incorrectly alleged that his disguise had been penetrated. [62]

The Government of India's embarrassment over the McGovern affair was compounded by Tibetan protests that McGovern had not been punished. Delhi had decided that the available penalty was so small as to be not worth enforcing, as it would only give McGovern more publicity. This led the Tibetans to suspect McGovern's journey was not an illicit one, and provided ammunition for conservative elements in Tibet to oppose Europeans' right to travel in Tibet.[63]

In retrospect it is difficult to see that McGovern’s visit had any great effect on Anglo-Tibetan relations, and it is perhaps surprising that none of the cadre officers, no strangers to illicit journeys themselves, revealed any admiration for McGovern. It may be that the cadre felt their failure to intercept McGovern reflected badly on the controls exercised by their government, and hence harmed their own prestige within the system.[64]

-- Tibet and the British Raj, 1904-47: The Influence of the Indian Political Department Officers, by Alexander McKay

Map of Tibet showing Dr. McGovern's Route to Lhasa

1922-1923. -- British scientific expedition. -- Experience of Dr. McGovern in Lhasa. - Dr. William W. McGovern, the scientific adviser of a British research mission to tibet made a perilous and significant visit to Tibet in 1923 reaching the Forbidden City of Lhasa. In July, 1922, the expedition called the British Buddhist Mission, sailed for India and proceeded to Tibet after receiving permission from the Indian government to travel to Gyantse via Yatung. The Tibetan government, however, refused it permission to continue to Lhasa. McGovern was forced with the others to return to India to keep his word of honor to the government of India but he had studied the country closely in order to return secretly in disguise. He spoke Tibetan fluently. Leaving Darjeeling on Jan. 10, 1923, he made a hazardous journey disguised as a coolie, straight through Sikkim, entering Tibet near Kampa Dzong thence north through the heart of Tsang Province to Shigatse and the Brahmaputra river and on to Lhasa. He arrived in Lhasa about the middle of February in time for the Tibetan new Year's festivities, when, for twenty-one days the city government is turned over to a government of monks and the Dalai Lama and his cabinet have no control. The results of McGovern's unusual experience in the Forbidden city where he enjoyed the patronage of the Dalai Lama's favorite minister, Tsarong Shape, the strong man of Tibet (although he was compelled to become a prisoner of state to escape the fanaticism of the temporary priestly regime) were the securing of numerous priceless manuscripts and an extraordinary opportunity for observing the life and institutions of the country. Many of his impressions have been recorded in printed form and by the cinematograph camera secretly used. After six weeks stay in Lhasa McGovern was permitted to return to India under escort.

Also in: S. Hedin, Trans-Himalaya: Discoveries and adventures in Tibet.

-- The New Larned History for Ready Reference, Reading and Research: The Actual Words of the World's Best Historians Biographers and Specialists, Volume 10, by Josephus Nelson Larned

William Montgomery McGovern in 1923
Born September 28, 1897, New York City, U.S.
Died December 12, 1964 (aged 67), Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Professor; Archaeologist; Adventurer
Genre: Non-fiction
Notable works: Colloquial Japanese; To Lhasa in Disguise; Jungle Paths and Inca Ruins; From Luther to Hitler: The History of Fascist-Nazi Political Philosophy
Spouse: Margaret Montgomery

William Montgomery McGovern (September 28, 1897 – December 12, 1964) was an American adventurer, political scientist, Northwestern University professor, anthropologist and journalist. He was a possible inspiration for the character of Indiana Jones.[1][2]

By age 30, McGovern had explored the Amazon and braved uncharted regions of the Himalayas, survived revolution in Mexico, studied at Oxford University and the Sorbonne, and become a Buddhist priest in a Japanese monastery. He was also a lecturer, war correspondent and military strategist.


Early life

McGovern was born in Manhattan, New York, on September 28, 1897, the son of Janet Blair (née Montgomery) and Felix Daniel McGovern, an army officer.[3] Time reported that he began to travel at the age of six weeks, once visiting Mexico with his mother "just to see a revolution."[4]

His formative years were spent in Asia. McGovern graduated with the degree of soro, or Doctor of Divinity, from the Buddhist monastery of Nishi Honganji in Kyoto, Japan at age 20 before going on to study at the Sorbonne and University of Berlin. He received his D.Phil. from Christ Church, Oxford in 1922—working his way through school by teaching Chinese at SOAS, University of London.[5]


Shortly after graduation he began his first great expedition, to the remote mountain kingdom of Tibet. In his book To Lhasa in Disguise, McGovern claims he had to sneak into the country disguised as a local porter. As Time reported in 1938:

With a few Tibetan servants, he climbed through the wild, snowy passes of the Himalayas. There, in the bitter cold, he stood naked while a companion covered his body with brown stain, squirted lemon juice into his blue eyes to darken them. Thus disguised as a coolie, he arrived in the Forbidden City without being detected, but disclosed himself to the civilian officials. A fanatical mob led by Buddhist monks stoned his house. Bill McGovern slipped out through a back door and joined the mob in throwing stones. The civil government took him into protective custody, finally sent him back to India with an escort.[4]

Another expedition to Peru and the Amazon would follow a few years later, resulting in another book, Jungle Paths and Inca Ruins.

Wartime activities

Second Sino-Japanese War

In 1937, McGovern was named Far East correspondent by the Chicago Times, arriving in Tokyo with Thomas C. Quackenboss, a family friend and former student of McGovern's at Northwestern, as war began with China. Both men set off for Manchukuo to cover the invasion, only to see Thomas C. Quackenboss thrown into jail for taking photos in the streets. They went on to spend long stints on the front.

World War II

When the United States joined what had become World War II, McGovern joined the United States Naval Reserve, serving from 1941 to 1945. At Guadalcanal, he operated behind enemy lines, using his knowledge of Japanese to taunt enemy soldiers and interrogate captives. In the closing days of the war he served in the European Theatre, crossing the Rhine with General Patton.[6]

His most important job was not martial in nature however. Throughout the war he would rise at 5:30 AM to prepare a top-secret newspaper on enemy capabilities and intentions. This paper was considered required breakfast reading for President Roosevelt and the Joint Chiefs.

Academic career

At age 30, McGovern became assistant curator of the anthropology department at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. Two years later, was appointed a professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, a position he would hold for the rest of his life. As Professor of Far Eastern Studies his classes were perpetually oversubscribed, given his eminence and popularity. His lectures were never dull and frequently peppered with anecdotes from his time in the far east, particularly in Tibet and Japan. He insisted that his pupils learn at least one or two kanji characters a week as he carefully illustrated them on a large chalkboard at the front of the lecture hall and explained their meanings as he drew them. His students considered themselves fortunate to have landed a spot in one of his classes. His son, William M. McGovern jr., followed him into academia teaching law at Northwestern University School of Law in the early 1960s.

Between his time as a war correspondent during the Sino-Japanese War and the entry of the United States into World War II, McGovern lectured on government at Harvard University. In 1941, he published From Luther to Hitler: The History of Fascist-Nazi Political Philosophy.[7] During the postwar years, McGovern lectured on military intelligence and strategy at the Naval, Air and Army War Colleges.

Reputed to speak 12 languages and deaf in one ear, McGovern was an academic celebrity known for outlandish foreign dress and holding court in Northwestern's University Club.


McGovern died after a long illness in Evanston at age 67 on December 12, 1964.[8]


McGovern married his second cousin, Margaret Montgomery, and with her had four children—three daughters and a son.

Actress Elizabeth McGovern is his granddaughter.[9] University of Washington mathematics professor William Monty McGovern is his grandson.


• Modern Japan - its political, military, and industrial organisation, 1920
An Introduction to Mahayana Buddhism, 1922
A Manual of Buddhist Philosophy, vol. 1, 1923
To Lhasa in disguise, a secret expedition through mysterious Tibet, 1924
Jungle Paths and Inca Ruins - the record of an expedition, 1927
The Early Empires of Central Asia, 1939
McGovern, William Montgomery (1941-01-01). From Luther to Hitler: The History of Fascist-Nazi Political Philosophy (1st ed.). Houghton Mifflin.
• Radicals and conservatives, 1957
• Strategic intelligence and the shape of tomorrow, 1961


McGovern's work on Asian history, in particular his interpretations of Chinese classical sources, was criticized by a reviewer in the journal American Anthropologist: "Dr. McGovern has converted this dry and perplexing source material into a racy and jocular chronicle where fact and fancy are so thoroughly mixed that a general reader could not possibly differentiate them. Furthermore, there are numerous generalizations and speculations not justified by the sources."[10] His book From Luther to Hitler was criticized by a reviewer in the American Political Science Review: "Failure to distinguish clearly between basic assumptions and the doctrines deduced from them enables [him] to suggest a degree of continuity which dissolves upon closer examination."[11]


1. "Keeper of the Past". 1999-09-21. Retrieved 2009-03-06.
2. "Top 6 Real Life Inspirations of Indiana Jones". Hotel & Resort Insider. Archived from the original on July 12, 2011. Retrieved 2009-10-12.
3. "Jazz Makes Wild Indians Tame, Not Wilder, In Brazil". The Hartford Courant. 1926-07-08. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012.
4. "Traveling Man". Time Magazine. 1938-02-28. Archived from the original on August 26, 2010. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
5. WILLIAM MONTGOMERY McGOVERN (1897-1964) PAPERS, 1919-1967
6. "Man about the World". Time Magazine. 1946-04-22. Archived from the original on December 2, 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
7. "Our Very Own Indiana Jones". 2010. Retrieved 2014-02-21.
8. "Notices". Time Magazine. 1964-12-25. Archived from the original on July 15, 2010. Retrieved 2009-05-13.
9. "Katharine Watts Is Future Bride Of Law Alumnus; Engaged to William M. McGovern Jr., Who Is Harvard Graduate". The New York Times. 1958-06-22.
10. Wilbur, C. Martin (1940), "Europe and Asia (review section)", American Anthropologist, 32 (1): 151–154, doi:10.1525/aa.1940.42.1.02a00190
11. Lewis, John D. (Oct 1941), "From Luther to Hitler (review)", American Political Science Review, 35 (5): 968–969, doi:10.2307/1948260, JSTOR 1948260
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