[INDOLOGY] sea travel

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at gmail.com
Thu Jun 26 07:33:29 UTC 2014

Dear Professor Jha,

The researcher you mention will surely be interested to know about Susmita Arp's book, a Hamburg thesis, published from Stuttgart in 1998: 
" Kālāpāni. Zum Streit über die Zulässigkeit von Seereisen im kolonialzeitlichen Indien ".

Dominic Goodall

On 26-Jun-2014, at 8:59 AM, Dn Jha wrote:

> Dear List,
> A researcher who is not a member of this list has posed the following problem. While I am generally aware of some dharmashastric injunctions against overseas travel I am not in a position to answer all her queries. Shall be grateful for any response. Here is the problem: 
> May I ask you one question about the prohibition of sea travel in ancient and medieval India. As I know, it was only in Baudhayana and some minor dharmasastras. In Manu the navigator was not to be invited for sraddha, and that is all. As I understand, this was no obstacle for Hindus to navigate from Aden to China. The prohibition, if any, concerned Brahmans only. Am I right? If so, whence the overwhelming ostracizing of the sea travelers in the nineteenth century? While Banyas in the sixteenth century actively traded everywhere the future Mahatma was expelled from his caste for going to England!
> Is there any history of the Kala pani concept (in the sense of not the Andaman jail but the mysterious ‘sea border’ that was prohibited to cross?) What was it – a folkloric notion? How did it gain such popularity, and even with the educated elites in colonial times? Or maybe it was an Orientalist invention disseminated by colonial education?
> D N Jha
> -- 
> -- 
> D N Jha
> Professor of History (retired), 
> University of Delhi
> 9, Uttaranchal Apartments
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Dominic Goodall
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