Tuesday, October 26, 2021
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The Pandya-Simhala Alliance Against the Chola-Southeast Asia Alliance

Now history, of course kept going and there a somewhat better-known episode happens, which is the rise of the Chola Empire and the great raids that the Cholas did, in Southeast Asia, in the 11th century. Now why did the Cholas, were the Cholas doing raids on the Southeast Asia, in the 11th century? We don’t know for sure, but one of the reasons, very likely reasons and there is some circumstantial evidence to back it up is, that it is very likely that, the Cholas and the Song Empire of China were trading heavily with each other. There are in fact lots of remains of Hindu temples along the coast of China from roughly that period and it seems like the Sree Vijaya, may have been kind of getting in the way and asking for too much toll. Now like all Indians, when faced with high tolls, they go berserk. You see that every day on Indian highways.

So not surprisingly they got up and said we must do something, so they got all their friends together at Nagapattinam, sailed across and beat those chaps up and it clearly says at Kadaram, there was the, you know the king of Kadaram was defeated, his elephants and all his various treasures were taken away and they were brought back. But this does not seem to have caused too much problems, because a little bit later, the Chola seem to have built a fairly strong alliance with Shree Vijaya and the kingdoms of that area and this is an interesting thing that is going on here.

In the context of understanding the geopolitics of that area, you see the way we think about the history of Sri Lanka and southern tip of India is that there was a Sinhalese Tamil conflict. Now we tend to be colored in this because of much more recent episodes off separatist movement in Northern Sri Lanka. What actually was happening for almost all of history, except this recent episode was in fact the Pandyas of Madurai and the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka were in a pact against the Cholas who were from the, further up the Cauvery basin and the Cholas seem to have had allies who are in Southeast Asia. So basically this was the geopolitics of the time. The Pandya-Sinhalese alliance against the Chola-Southeast Asian Alliance and you can see that it goes back and forth quite a lot, but it’s quite fascinating that the geopolitics of that area, was driven by these very complex alliances.

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