Obama,Indonesia and Kalinga
The influence of ancient Kalinga and Indonesia on the enviable personality of Barrack Obama during his formative years
During the book release function of his book “A Promised Land”, the former President of US , Mr Barack Obama told to the media that the great epics of India “The Ramayana” and “The Mahabharat ” were having great impact over him during his childhood days spent in Indonesia.
Thousands of years back, ancient Kalingan maritime traders were having a very much thriving maritime trading activities with the primitive aboriginals of many different Southeast Asian nations, including Indonesia and the Indian Ocean island nations (such as Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles etc.) off the coast of Africa. Credit goes to those ancient marine traders of KALINGA( ancient Odisha) for introducing those great epics , the Ramayana and the Mahabharat in all those distant lands..
Boat relief on the Brahmeswar temple wall
Source: Research gate.
Jagannath is a symbol of Odisha’s culture and religion, and all the festivals, rituals and traditions of Odisha have been built around him. In one word, Jagannath means everything to the people of Odisha. On the other hand, there lies a lot of overlapping in between the culture of Indonesia and the culture of ancient Kalinga . Shri Jagannath is the soul of Odisha’s public life . Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are worshiped on the Indonesian island of Bali . In addition, there are lot many other Hindu Gods, being revered there. There are many temples in Indonesia where the presiding deity is none other than Lord Jagannath .
Earlier Odisha was known by different names like Utkal, Kalinga, Udra, Koshal and Kangoda. In any case, its novel social legacy and brilliant customs discuss its significance in the olden days. Passing by the fantasies, we find in the Sanskrit Mahabharat (Adi Parva-Sloka-21-25) an intriguing record of a sovereign called Sudeshna being joined with a holy person called Dirghattama who brought forth three chivalrous children, Anga, Banga and Kalinga.Kalinga is referenced in the Ramayana (Kiskindha Kand), Skanda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Kapil Samhita, Kautilya’s Arthasashtra and Megastinis’ book on India “Indica Calingae” (third century BC).
The trading exercises through the seaway of the ancient Kalinga marine traders assumed a critical part in spreading the Kalinga culture to different parts of the world. Indeed, even Chinese records show that in Indonesia, particularly in Bali and Java during the third – fourth century A.D., there was a huge Hindu realm . There is as yet a specific local area (Brahmins of Bali Island) call themselves as ‘Brahman Bouddha Kalinga’. It is said that the ruler of Kalinga sent 20,000 Odia families to Java to settle there. Tragically, not very many individuals in present-day Indonesia realize that Kalinga is the old name of current Odisha.
Sun temple, Konark.13th century
Gifting of a giraffe( not normally seen in Odisha because of adverse climate) by the marine merchants to King Narasimha Dev on the elephant’s back..
Antiquated Kalinga had an excellent relationship with Indonesia in trading as well as in the socio-cultural area. Khudurukuni Osha, Nisha Mangala Osha, Boita Bandaana on the Kartik full moon day and the memorable Baliyatra on the banks of the stream give obvious proof of our magnificent oceanic history. A celebration called Masakapam Kapesiha is praised on the island of Bali, which is commended by individuals who are envisioning that they are going to Kalinga, their homeland….
Baliyatra signifies ‘Excursion to the Island of Bali’ and it is a festival of our antiquated oceanic custom. Thailand’s ‘Loi Krathong’ celebration, Cambodia’s ‘Boycott Om Tuk’ water celebration and Laos’s ‘That Luang’ celebration are observed during same time of the year. It is accepted that antiquated Kalinga additionally had oceanic trade relations with every one of these countries. Indonesia has five major islands, like Sumatra, Java, Borneo (known as Kalimantan in Indonesia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea. The Indians as of now in Indonesia, residing there for the last couple of generations , were initially from the southeastern shoreline of the vast Indian territory…and that is none other than the ancient Kalinga. The Indians of Indonesia are known by the word ‘Kalings’ which is hopefully derived from Kalinga.
The food propensities for individuals of Bali Island are very much like those of people of current Odisha . Their eating routine incorporates verdant vegetables, plantains and seeds, cabbage and beverages . The Sambalpuri fabric weaving design is known as Patola( Bali island) , which traces all the way back to old Kalinga. Our Odia writing was likewise impacted by Indonesian culture . The word ‘bou’ (mother) originates from Indonesia , which is generally widely used in many parts of Odisha. Likewise, in addressing any inquiry, ‘ajna’ is broadly used in Odia, and on the island of Bali, ‘ajna’ is also used while conceding to a theme. Similarly as in old Kalinga, palm-leaf compositions were composed through iron pointer , so too were palm-leaf manuscripts written in Indonesian islands, where the Kalinga marine merchants had exchange relations. Many of those marine merchants of Kalinga settled there and lived in Indonesia for ages.
On July 24, 1947, Biju Patnaik safeguarded Sultan Sjahrir from the Dutch in line with President Sukarno from the Java island. Biju Babu was subsequently granted Indonesia’s most noteworthy honor, “Bhumi Putra”, in 1995 to stamp the 50th Independence Day. From old Kalinga to current Odisha, this is the way kinship with Indonesia proceeded.
According to Buddhist literature, Kalinga was an autonomous country and its capital was known as Dantapur. The history of Kalinga Sadhav’s( maritime merchants) foreign trade activities can be further explored on the basis of various evidences preserved in palm leaf manuscripts and marine archives that will reveal many new facts of relations between Odisha and Indonesia and eventually new horizons of knowledge will be unfurled before the mankind.
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Dr. Manoj Mishra
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Excellent writeup projecting ancient culture ,seafaring character of its people,prosperity and close relationship with Indonesia particularly Bali.This is also a pointer to the fact that a small country then could fight off Asoka and his ancestors successfully,though over powered by a very large army of a large country,not to forget that within a mere century or so tables turned and Kharavela could demonstrate exceptional military capability all over India and forcefully settled score with Masada,sweet victory.
Thank you…Sir for your appreciation…
Sir namaste beautiful analysis
Very interesting & educational
Dear Dr. Manoj
I am from Indonesia and would like to add that there was an ancient kingdom in Java named Kalingga, it was a 6th century Indianized-culture kingdom in Central Java, and it is said that from this kingdom, the line of Javanese kings down to modern era are from
Thank you 💖 for sharing this information