Burma defines itself as a Buddhist nation, a Theravada one at that, as it has been for roughly the past millennia. But within the folds of the country’s often-intermeshed history and myth, there is a silent but quite ubiquitous realm – a spirit realm dominated by the cult of the nat. A nat is essentially the spirit of a dead person, a ghost with personality and distinctive animistic qualities. That it is separate from the institutional religion is without doubt, but its relationship to mainstream religion and society is very ambiguous.
Romila Thapar addresses invitees at the
Southasian relaunch of Himal Southasian,
IIC, New Delhi, January 2013.
China, Southasia and India
On May 19 2013, newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in New Delhi for a series of meetings with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The visit is Keqiang's first outside of China since assuming power in March.
From our archive:
Purna Basnet discusses Chinese engagement in Nepal vis-a-vis security issues in Tibet and broader geo-strategic plans in Southasia (April 2011).
Fatima Chowdury relates the story of Calcutta's Indian Chinese community through the lens of political and economic upheavals in Southasia and China (May 2009).
Simon Long notes the importance of the Sino-Indian relationship for the rest of Southasia (September 2006).
J.N Dixit ruminates on the strategic concerns of the 'Middle Kingdom' in the wake of India's 1998 nuclear tests (June 1998).