Prof. Y. Yagama Reddy

Chairman, Board of Studies

Centre for  Studies on Indochina & South Pacific

 Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati-517 502, A.P.



Member, UGC Standing Advisory Committee on

Area Studies Programme





            At a time when I was fond of subscribing to the view embodied in Shakespeare’s familiar phrase “What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, I was quite amused to come across certain commonly accepted fields of research activity such as the place names and the folklore claims which I, more often than not, considered as merely lavish academic propositions bearing little relevance to the contemporary needs of society.   Having entered the field of Area Studies  Programme about two decades ago as a member of the Faculty, I became very much amazed to discern certain inconsistencies in the European-coined names for the ‘areas’ like “Near East”, “Middle East”, and “Far East” which, more or less, did not conform to the specificity of the areas in question.  Even the expressions which gained currency later as substitutes, though deriving from the land-masses in general, could not however lay claim to the veritable concept underlying the terminology used for the areas.  In many instances, the boundaries of  these areas were either enormously stretched so as to engulf the adjacent areas as well, or they deliberately or unwittingly partitioned an area which was otherwise an entity by itself, to the extent of distorting inherent  regional identity.  Thus, the illogical ‘aerial’ differentiation has only bred anomalies defying  the eternal realities.  Two decade-long innings of my   association  with  Southeast   Asian Studies, encompassing geography, history, culture, and politics, sustained in me a strong fascination for the etymology of  various (place and personal) names and of the very term,  Southeast Asia.  This inquiry  is based on my fairly profound understanding of the historical processes, geographical factors, cultural evolution, and political developments of the region.  A brief account of these aspects in their historical perspective could guide all those who look at this region from a distance, and it is hoped they shall be captivated by the pre-eminence in this field of research in onomastics, that is, the study of place and personal names. 


1.  Toponyms and Anthroponyms of Southeast Asia in Historical Perspective


            Southeast Asia is reckoned as an entity per se  on the basis of  certain common denominators  which subscribe  to an apparent regional homogeneity that tends to differentiate the region from the other regions of the Asian continent as well as from the island realm in the central and south Pacific region.  Yet, unity and the state of being bound together seem to be mere perceptions if the subtle variations in the physical and human  environment of the region are of any indication.1  The  historic southward migrations from southern China through the constricted river valleys eventually resulted in the displacement of early settlers in Southeast Asia.  These new comers, essentially of Mongoloid stock, began to emerge as the dominant ethno-linguistic groups in the disjointed fertile tracts.  A variety of these migrants had their political base consolidated in different parts of  Southeast Asia—Mons, Karens, Shans, and  Burmans in Myanmar; Siamese in Thailand; Laotians in Laos; Khmers in Cambodia; Viets in Vietnam, and Malays and other Malayo-Polynesian peoples in the archipelagic region. 


            These peoples of Mongoloid stock who are racially dissimilar to Indians, became enamoured of an Indian culture based on the mythology of the puranas and the observance of dharmasastras. Though the precepts of Hinduism and Buddhism were viewed on Indian soil as being incompatible, both these religions had however  co-existed peacefully, complementing each other in their roles of forging an overall Indian culture. The long- sustained process of Indianisation, for more than a millennium beginning from the early centuries of Christian era , was accomplished by Brahman priests, Buddhist monks, scholars and artisans who were introduced into the Southeast Asian native societies by Indian merchants time and again. This facet of history exemplifying the long-sustained trade and cultural contacts between India and Southeast Asia owes much to climatic changes characterized by reversals of the monsoon winds that facilitated navigation across  the Bay of Bengal. The Arakan Yoma mountain ranges deterred any possibility of developing overland routes between the geographically proximate regions of Assam (northeastern India) and Myanmar. Re-invigorated by the Guptas in northern India, the Pallavas and the Cholas in Tamil country in southern India, Indian cultural expansion all along the maritime trade routes  led likewise to the emergence of  Indianized kingdoms in Southeast Asia during the first millennium of the Christian era.

Obviously, all these early kingdoms were all based on the Hindu conception of royalty; but never had they become Indian colonies. Among Indianized states of this nature were the Funan, Champa, Langasuka (1-2 centuries AD), Mons of Thaton, Pegu and Pyu (until 6C), Chenla (7-8C), Angkor (9-15C), Sailendras in Java (8C), Sri Vijaya in Sumatra (8-13C) and Majapahit (14C). Many of these kingdoms had their cultural and diplomatic contacts maintained with Indian kingdoms on the sub-continent. For instance,  Funan (3C),  Champa (5C) and Sailendras (late 9C) had their cultural emissaries sent to the northern Indian kingdoms. The visits of Pagan rulers of Burma to India in the 12th century facilitated the renovation of the Mahabodhi temple at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. This had served as a cue for building similar monuments at Pagan and Xieng Mai (in Thailand). A Sri Vijayan ruler built a Buddhist monastery at Nagapattinam in South India (11C) which had enjoyed the patronage of Chola kings.2   The spread of Islam, superimposed on the earlier cultural base of Hinduism and Buddhism in the Malay archipelago, had also been worked out by Indian Muslims from the beginning  of the 13th century.  Such were the bonds of tradition cultivated between the rulers of India proper and those of the Indianized states all through the period until 15th century that it has come to be known as a “glorious chapter” in the cultural history of India.


The rulers of early Indianized kingdoms, who enjoyed pre-eminence and prestige, had never been deprived of the benefit of enjoying good neighbourly relations with India, notwithstanding its multitude of kingdoms. Such relations between India and the states of “South East Asia” cannot however be construed as a freakish historical phenomenon since the native rulers had displayed their penchant for having their names styled on those  in vogue in India as, for instance, Narawara, Narapati, Naradipati, Bhuvana, Nagara, and Rajadhiraja.  Varman’, the title of Pallava kings, had become an ornament to such rulers as Jayavarman, and so was ‘Candra’ adopted by the rulers of Arakan like Rajacandra.  These titles “entailed” the first part of the names which too recalled the nomenclature inherently based on Indian culture.3  The intelligible similarity in the names was something like ‘borrowing words,’ which Wignesan prefers to term as “the primal proof of unidirectional influence” of the donor’s culture or language on the recipient’s.4  Even the Muslim rulers had their names suffixed with Bhuvana or prefixed with Raja.  Likewise, Indian cultural efflorescence is vividly found in  place names like Srikshetra, Vyadhapura, Tambralinga, Dvaravati, Haripunjaya, Singapura, Bhavapura and Ayuthia.  In the same way as contemporary place names, such as, Malaya, Sumatra, Java, Bali and Cambodia,  personal names, too, such as, Rama, Norodom  Sihanouk, Sukarno, Suharto, Megawati, Mahathir, and Ranaridh testify to the Southeast Asian peoples’ ardent fascination for Indian culture. It is certain that there would have been linguistic cognate changes; but I don’t presume upon such an analysis that would become an offshoot of the present study; and hence, I shall confine myself to providing an exhaustive list of toponyms and anthroponyms testifying to their Indian origin (see Appendix).


1.1.   Toponyms Embodying Indian Cultural Survivals

Thus, Indian cultural mores – kingship, socio-politico religious  treatises  ( like Artha Sasthra and Manudharma Sasthra),  puranas and  epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata), Sanskrit  language, astrology, astronomy, numerology, art &  architecture,  dance & drama,  folklore & music and farming methods    percolated  deep into the indigenous  cultures  of Southeast Asia.  The Indian priests and scholars who adorned the royal courts  in various capacities, naturalized and got the Indian cultural patterns integrated within the native societies. The Indian belief systems, such as,  magical cults and healing arts which the Indian migrants offered to the native societies, also became welded with those based on native cultural elements  through  assimilation processes, without resorting to any form of subjugation of the native peoples. The ‘devaraja cult’ – meaning either ‘god-king’ or the ‘king of gods’ -- signified for the Khmer rulers the sanctification of their rule by associating a king with Siva. This cult, which was also the Khmer adaptation of a South Indian provenance, centered on divinity represented by a linga.  Devaraja cult was not a specific practice of king-worship; instead, this idea of the sacred form seemed to have existed in pre-Angkorian times and to be an important pursuit practised by the successors of Jayavarman II, to whom the institution of Devaraja cult was ascribed. Mabbett who has dwelled on this aspect asserted that “Indianization had to fit with the beliefs and aspirations that characterized the Khmer society as a whole” 5


 The  introduction of  script  and new words as well as  the  grammatical forms  of  Sanskrit–origin,  helped  the  vernacular  languages  to get standardized. The critical analysis by Wignesan of Tamil influence on the Malay language (Bahasa Malaysia) points  out the predominance of Indian cultural traditions, the abundance of Sanskrit terminology in the dialects of Southeast Asia  and the paramount role played by Tamil language as a “vehicle of transmission” of Aryan culture in the Malay world. Wignesan further concludes that the  non-Aryan people, mainly the Dravidian Tamils, had virtually transported and supplanted the Aryan (and Dravidian) intellectual and religious traditions in the Malay world and thus influenced the Malays and other peoples of Southeast Asia.6 In such a similar vein, the literary  masterpieces of Ramayana and Mahabharata  which occupied an important  position in traditional literatures served as a source for theatrical plays which are in vigour  even today in  many   countries, and, most  surprisingly, in the Islamized nation of Indonesia.  The Southeast Asian peoples jealously claim the Ramayana  and the  Mahabharata  as  their own, as they consider their own territories as  the venue for all the  episodes  of the epics. Dedicated to Siva, Vishnu, Buddha, and the pantheon of gods and goddesses of Indian mythology, are the world famous Hindu-Buddhist temples    Borobudur and Prambanan (Java), Angkor Wat and Bayon (Cambodia), Ananda and Mahabodhi (Myanmar) Mi-son and Po-nagar (Vietnam), Watphu (Laos), and Vat Chet Yat and Maha Tat (Thailand) which stand as an animate though mute testimony of filial affiliation to a culture of great antiquity.


The common populace had naturally toed the religious path of the king who was looked upon as the manifestation of God on the earth.  In consequence, the wealth of Indian culture percolated down to the lowest rung of native societies with diversified cultural bases. The strong foundations laid by these Indianized states helped Indian culture to survive even after their decline and downfall following the arrival of Europeans into Southeast Asia, starting with the Portuguese in the early 16th century. Equally fascinating it is to find that avenues, edifices, national monuments are named after the great personalities and events of Indian mythology.  A few other cases worthy of mention are the Garuda Airlines and Lord Ganesha-depicted currency notes exemplifying the fascination of the state for the culture of Indian origin.  Many scholarly works have also testified to the legacy of Indian culture explicitly to be found in place and personal names. 7 


1.2.  Eloquent Appreciation of Indian Cultural Influence



            The rationale  behind  the saga  of  Indian cultural traditions in  Southeast  Asia  speaks  of the sagacity  of India’s time-tested policy of  maintaining cordial and friendly  relations  on  a footing of  equality.  Through the unique  process of  acculturation, the racially different Southeast  Asian  peoples  absorbed  the Indian cultural elements and  adapted them to their  own particular needs.8  The super-imposition  of Indian culture  never  subscribed to the policy of political subjugation  nor  to economic exploitation, rather the very process signified  a  peaceful outlook and  a co-operative  approach.


 It is quite logical for Southeast Asians to consider India as “a holy land rather   than a motherland, a region of pilgrimage rather than an  area of jurisdiction.” 9 In  fact,  Southeast  Asian  leaders  had  nothing but admiration  for their  ancient cultural  connection with India  and exemplified  their Indian–substrate  culture as a means of evoking national consciousness among  the peoples during  their struggle for freedom.  Sukarno, the Indonesian nationalist leader who later became the first President of  independent Indonesia,  acknowledged at length in 1946  the local cultural indebtedness to  India.

In the veins of every one of my people flows the blood of Indian ancestors, and the culture that we possess is steeped through and through with Indian influences… Two thousand years ago, people from your country came to Jawadvipa and Suvarnadvipa in the spirit of brotherly love. They gave the initiatives to found powerful Kingdoms such as those of Sri Vijaya, Mataram and Majapahit.  We learnt to worship the very Gods that you now worship still and we fashioned a culture that even today is largely identical with your own.  Later we turned to Islam; but that religion too was brought by people coming from both sides of the Indus. 10



            As Sukarno had once again, in July 1950, described the friendship and co-operation existing between the two countries as being of 'ancient origin',11  Malaysia,  too, appreciably traced  its  ancient  cultural connection with India to the beginnings of the Christian era. 12  In a similar vein of appreciation, Norodom Sihanouk, Head  of the State of the Royal Government of Cambodia (1954-1970 and, again, since 1993) had on the occasion of the inauguration of the Jawaharlal Nehru Boulevard  in Phnom Penh, on 10 May 1955, traced the cultural evolution in Southeast Asia to the pervasive Indian cultural influence : 

When we refer to thousand year old ties which unite us with India, it is not at all a hyperbole.  In fact, it was about 2000 years ago that the first navigators, Indian merchants and Brahmins brought to our ancestors their gods, their techniques, their organization.  Briefly India was for us what Greece was to Latin Orient.  13


1.3.  Dialectics in the Indianized Toponyms


            This glorious chapter of Indian influences in the Southeast Asian region was eclipsed with the penetration of Europeans into Southeast Asia from the beginning of 16th century.  The era of European domination was also marked by waves of new arrivals of Chinese and Indians into this region in response to the new economic opportunities of colonial masters.  As a result, each of the SEA countries provides the classical example of a plural society.  Nonetheless, the Indian cultural traditions in Southeast Asia, save the Philippines and Vietnam, survived the invasive Western influence.  Paradoxically, Indians too had forgotten about India’s splendid cultural contacts with this region.  Interestingly, Western accounts brought the obscured facts of history into focus in the early 20th century and enkindled an overwhelming pride among a section of Indian scholars to look at Southeast Asia as an Indian cultural derivative periphery.  Thus, the protagonists of the “Greater India” concept began to propagate certain notions which postulated the existence of Hindu colonies in the Far East and Farther India,14 and to which concept the Southeast Asian peoples remain very sensitive. 


Bearing in mind  the saga of Indian cultural influences in Southeast Asia vis-à-vis the indigenous peoples’ sensitivity to references of Indian cultural supremacy in their area, the Indian nationalist leaders  championed the cause of  independence movements in Southeast  Asia. Independent India sustained the spirit of fostering closer relations and even, where necessary, offered assistance to the younger independent nations of Southeast Asia.15  The Indian  communities - unlike the overseas  Chinese -  had  always  been conscious  of  their less than overbearing  strength  and did not wish  to antagonize  the host communities;  even today they refrain   from nurturing   strong  political  stakes  and  entertaining economic  ambitions in these places. Far beyond these cultural affinities, there are similarities in the physical setting as well.  The tertiary  mountainous chains extending into Southeast Asia, for example, are the extensions  of the Himalayas.  The resemblances in the tropical monsoon rhythms   have likewise instituted similarities in the ways of life, especially in farming methods and as well as in vegetation  and soil types prevalent in the region.  These natural  liens facilitated   absorption of Indian cultural elements, including the use of place names by indigenous  societies.  Acculturation therefore offers a logical exposition for the evolution of Indianized toponyms which hark back to the otherwise forgotten history of Indian cultural pre-eminence in Southeast Asia.


2.  Etymological  Significance of the Term, ‘Southeast Asia



            A.L. Kroebar the famous cultural anthropologist, rightly  termed the entire region across the Bay of Bengal as the “Indian-Southeast Asia Ethnic Enclaves.”16     This may indeed have been fortunate.  It is nonetheless a great paradox that the term ‘Southeast Asia’ is relatively of  recent-origin; it does not quite however echo its glorious cultural past.  This region had for long endured the plight of being overshadowed by its two cultural giants: India and China.  The persistent political aggrandizement of Imperial China par rapport India’s political passiveness made the Southeast Asian region a zone of confluence, rather than promote its evolution as a distinct politico- cultural entity. Not so India which had been commanding recognition as Bharata Khanda or Bharata Varsha  despite the continued existence of innumerable kingdoms.  The good neighbourly relations, based on a footing of equality, caused Southeast Asians to develop a fascination for various aspects of Indian culture; never were they given the impression of being subject to India’s over-lordship, nor did India ever entertain any idea of interfering in the internal affairs of the native states in this region. 


2.1.    Colonial Indifference to Systematizing the Nomenclature


            Following the entrenchment of Europeans in Southeast Asia, the Indians who were conscious of  their 'lost opportunities’ had meanwhile failed to keep track of their cultural contacts with the Southeast Asians. While Western statesmen appeared to be inordinately preoccupied with  the  terminology as being  ‘esoteric’,  Western scholars looked at this region as a ‘culturally shattered belt’,  a 'bridge and barrier’, a ‘Balkans of the East‘ and a ‘political fault zone’.  Though  the scholarly  usage  of  the  term,  ‘Southeast  Asia’  by J.R. Logan, dates from 1847, the uncongenial historical conditions in the 19th century dampened the prospects of the widespread usage of this new term.  Furthermore, its regional boundaries, as defined in travel accounts, were grossly stretched to include Ceylon and India, as well as China and Japan, which were [and are], in fact, located in South Asia and East Asia respectively.   Thanks to European diplomacy, geared to accruing – so to speak - the benefits of three Gs: gold, gospel, and glory, Southeast Asia was dismembered into British colonies: Myanmar and Malaysia; French: the Indochinese states of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam; Dutch: Indonesia; and Spanish: the Philippines (which was later to become a US colony).  In this process, the pre-modern polities were totally obscured by these newly emerged colonial dominions which transgressed the facts of history and logic of geography.


 None of these colonial masters had ever evinced an interest in standardizing the nomenclature of this entire region.  It was this abject indifference that led to the sprouting of multiple forms of toponyms denoting the same region. 17  Interestingly, German and Austrian scholars gave a stimulus to the propagation of the term by innovating the studies concerned with this region in the late 19th and early 20th  centuries.  During the inter-war period (1919-1939), “Southeast Asia” as a term figured in the titles of articles written in Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Russian, Italian, Dutch, English and other European languages.  Heine-Geldern, the Viennese migrant to US, who was considered the father of Southeast Asian studies, and two other American scholars: John L. Christian and Kenneth Perry Landon contributed to the American awareness of this region during World War II through a series of articles in the Far Eastern Quarterly. 18  About the same time in 1943, the noted Indian historian, K.M. Panikkar, dealt with the ‘future of Southeast Asia’ from the Indian view-point. 


2.2.  Standardized  Nomenclature Typifying Regional Identity



Surprisingly, it was not the scholarship but warfare (World War II) which made Southeast Asia popular, thanks to the publications of maps of Southeast Asia in excessively large numbers (20 million) by the National Geographic Society.19 Yet, the Society’s map of Southeast Asia Command (SEAC), one of the regional theatres of World War II, ignored the directives of the compass. SEAC bore little semblance to Southeast Asia: excluded were the Malay archipelago east of Sumatra, the Philippines and the Indochina states; instead, SEAC encompassed a large part of the Indian Ocean region including British India.  For all this lopsidedness in the region-forming process, Southeast Asia was made visible its name being legitimized through the attempts at consolidating the regional concept and by establishing Southeast Asian Studies in various Universities.


It was perplexing that the regional framework tended to become so distorted and vulnerable that the region could not, by itself, resist the temptations of interference from extra-regional powers.  The fact that the region became an arena of super power confrontation under the garb of Cold War politics  was vindicated by the formation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO).  Ironically, the non-regional powers like USA, UK, France, Canada, Pakistan, Australia, and New Zealand constituted the majority in SEATO vis-à-vis the minority of two regional states the Philippines and Thailand. Cold War politics definitely tended to obscure the facts based on other considerations.


Yet, baffled by the incoherency in the region-forming processes vis-a-vis intra-regional contrasts reflecting complexity and diversity,20  scholars variously but earnestly attempted to suggest the appropriate borders to this region on the basis of tenacious facts obtaining in religion and history, ethnology and languages, geomorphology, geophysics, bio-geography, and contemporary politics.21  Such attempts tended to complicate matters further:

Should the Sinicized land of Vietnam and the Philippines be excluded from the regional framework of Southeast Asia on the grounds that the rest of Southeast Asia had undergone a long process of Indianisation?  Should the Philippines be deleted from the regional framework on account of its historical developments being at variance with the rest of Southeast Asia?  Should northeastern India, together with the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and the Chinese southern province of Yunnan  and Hainan island be included in Southeast Asia on the premise of ethnic minorities in these parts bearing close affinities with the Southeast Asian peoples?  Or else, should the region be divided on linguistic lines into realms of Sino-Tibetan languages (Burmese, Thai, Vietnamese and other minor languages of Kachin, Chin) and on the basis of the Austronesian languages spoken in the Malayan archipelago. Even then, the Khmer language of the Austro-Asiatic group does not fit in with any others of the linguistic family.  So do the Papuan languages of the Austric family cause Irian Jaya to be excluded from Indonesia.  Further, it would also be a futile exercise to think in terms of any division on the basis of scripts of Indian-origin (Burmese, Thai and Khmer) languages; Sinicized, based on the Vietnamese language, or the Arabic-Romanized (Bahasa Indonesia and Malay) languages, because the attempts of linguistic division would frustrate the regional concept.  Similarly, it would become an exaggerated proposition to revive the “Greater India” concept to sort out all the Indianized  lands into an entity as this possibility will only signify a  pan-Indian region like the pan-Islamic or pan-European regions. Likewise, any division based on structural geology, only creates the artificial barriers showing total disregard to the geographic division of Southeast Asia into peninsular and insular realms.  Nor could it be a worthwhile proposition to resort to bio-geographic reality for separating the Philippines and eastern Indonesia  from the rest of the region aligning itself with the Asiatic realm. 


Southeast Asia will have to contend with the transient present rather than try to peep into its history in vain, and to sustain vain experiments, despite the availability of the ‘raw material’ in abundance. Though the initial efforts to found indigenous regional organisations failed, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was formed, even though it did not represent the entire region of  Southeast Asia.  Having endured the geopolitical nuances manifest in disunity, ASEAN emerged as a full-fledged regional organisation representing all the Southeast Asian countries, once the Cold War, close on the heels of the collapse of the Soviet Union, came to an end.  ASEAN’s structural expansion has thus ultimately laid the foundation for the concept of ‘one region-one vision’ which is expected to be realized through the implementation of its much-vaunted “Initiative for ASEAN Integration”.  For all the ASEAN’s successful accomplishments in regional cohesion and  regional identify, there has been a tendency towards laissez faire in the scholarly use of the term, ‘southeast’  which in its binomial expression vehemently signifies the logic of compass directions.  In the English language alone, the term ‘Southeast Asia’,  has been spelt in a dozen ways through inclusion or exclusion of the hyphen (-) in the word ‘Southeast’  and by an addition of the adjectival suffix ‘ern’ to the word, besides varied preferences for capitalizing the initial letters of “south” and “east”. Witness the following variations.


Southeast Asia,                       Southeastern Asia, 

South East Asia,                      South Eastern Asia,

South-East Asia,                      South-Eastern Asia,

South-east Asia,                      South-eastern Asia,

southeast Asia,                                    southeastern Asia and 

south-east Asia;                      south-eastern Asia.


Though these multiple forms of expressions have betrayed the very regional character, the word ‘southeast’ has of late begun to be consistently used as a single word with the dropping of the hyphen and the suffix, the initial letter being capitalized; and the newly standardized term “Southeast Asia” has begun to be widely accepted. 



            I feel obliged to convey my grateful thanks to Prof. A. Lakshmana Chetty, former Director of our Centre, for having gone through the manuscript and made suggestions that enriched the quality of this paper.




1.     Among various sources of information on these aspects, Charles    
A. Fisher,
Southeast Asia: A Social, Economic and Political Geography,  (London, 1966), may be singled out for mention here.


2.     For details see, for instance, G. Coedes, The Indianized States of
           Southeast Asia,
(Honolulu, 1968), Pp. 41, 56, 57, 141, 148; and R.C.
           Majumdar,    Hindu   Colonies in the Far East , (Calcutta, 1973),
           Pp. 35, 242-244.


3.      To mention a few of the names of rulers who adopted Indian titles as suffixes are : Varman : Indravarman, Yaso., Harsha., Rajendra., Udayaditya., Surya.,  Dharmindra., Tribhuvanaditya., Vijaya., Rudra., Sambu., Bhadreswara., Vikranta., Prithindra., Satya., Hari., Jayasimha., Jayasakti., Parameswara., Purna., Dvara., Bhava., Mahendra., Baladitya., and Mahapati., Candra : Cala Candra, Deva., Yajna., Bhumi., Bhuti., Niti., Virya., Priti., Prithvi., and Dhrti.


4.     T. Wignesan, “The Extent of the Influence of Tamil on the Malay Language: A Comparative Study”, presented at the VIIIth World Tamil Studies Congress, Tanjavur, Dec. 1994- Jan. 1995; see at


 5.    I.W.Mabbett, “Devaraja”, Journal of Southeast Asian History,    Vol.X, No.2, Sept.1969, Pp. 202-203; see also Nicholas Tarling (ed.), The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Vol. I, (Cambridge, 1992), Pp.324-325.


6.           See Wignesan, n.4.


7.     See, for example, those of Reginald Le May, The Culture of Southeast Asia: The Heritage of India, (London, 1964); G. Coedes, The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, (Honolulu, 1964); C. A. Philips, The Civilizations of East India, (London, 1932); Buddha Prakash, India and the World, (Hoshiarpur, 1964) and H.G. Quaritch Wales, The Making of Greater India, (London, 1951).


8.         P. Munirathnam Reddy, India’s Cultural Relations with Southeast Asia: Retrospect and Prospect, Monograph-XII of Centre for Studies on Indochina and South Pacific, Sri Venkateswara University, (Tirupati, 1999).


9.         Buddha Prakash, India and the World, VI series-31, (Hoshiarpur, 1964).


10.      The Hindu, 4 January 1946.

11.     Foreign Policy of India : Text of Documents 1947-1958, (New Delhi, 1958), P.43.


   12.      The Hindu, 21 December 1954.


   13.  Quoted in D.P. Singhal, India and World Civilization Vol.2,      (Bombay, 1972).


   14.    For full details on this aspect, see the works of R.C. Majumdar, Hindu Colonies in the Far East, (Calcutta, 1944), Ancient Indian Civilisation in Southeast Asia, (Baroda, 1955) and India and Southeast Asia, (Delhi, 1979). 


15.       A. Lakshmana Chetty, India’s Foreign Policy towards Southeast Asia, 1947-1954, unpublished Ph.D. thesis, University of Madras, (Madras, 1981).


16.       A.L. Kroebar, “Culture Groups in Asia”, Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, Vol.3, 1947, pp.322-330.


17.       For a good account on these typonyms, See Donald K. Emmerson, “Southeast Asia : What’s in a name?” Journal of Southeast Asia Studies, 15(1), 1984, p.4.


18.       To mention a few of the issues of The Far Eastern Quarterly, 1, 1942, pp.114-115, p.378; 2, 1942, pp.15-30;  3, 1943, p.139; 5, 1946, pp.219-224.


19.       The National Geographic Magazine, 83, 1944, pp.449-450.


20.       For a detailed account of this aspect, see Ashok K. Dutta, Southeast Asia: Realm of Contrasts, third edn., Westview Press, Boulder, 1985.


21.      For details, see Donald K. Emmerson, n.13, pp.11-14.










The information relating to Topynyms and Anthroponyms, appended hereunder, is compiled from such authenticated historical accounts as: John F. Cady, Southeast Asia: Its Historical Development, (New York, 1964); D.G.E. Hall, A History of Southeast Asia, (New York, 1968); George Coedes, The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, (Honolulu, 1968); and Nicholas Tarling (ed.), The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Vol.I, (Cambridge 1992).

* *  *




Select TOPYNYMS attesting to Indian-origin and their location in the present-day political map


Burma Cambodia                  Vietnam          Indonesia/      Thailand




Srikshetra        Vyadhapura                 Champa           Java                 Tambralinga

Dvaravati         Yasoharapura              Singapura         Sumatra           Sukhotai

Amarapura       Bhavapura                   Panduranga      Bali                  Ayuthia

                        Lophburi                      Kauthara          Madura            Suphanburi

                        Haripunjaya                 Vijay                Singhasari        Sawankhalok               Lamphuni                     Indrapura         Surabaya         Kanchanaburi

                        Prahvihar                                             Samudra          Chantaburi

                        Aninditapura                                        Jambi                                      Sambhupura                                        Indragiri          















         Select ANTHROPONYMS, adopted by the native rulers of pre-modern
Southeast Asia, vindicating their genesis from Indian culture.


Rulers of Pagan (Dynasty) 1044-1287                    Funan (1-6 Centuries AD)


                                                                                   Kaundinya                                Aniruddha                                                                 Jayawarman

Narathu                                                                      Rudravarma


Narasinga Uccana                                                  Chenla (6-8 Centuries AD)


                                                                                  Bhavavarman I

Toungoo Dynasty, 1486-1752                                 Mahendra

                                                                                  Isana Varman I

Nandabayin                                                                Bhavavarman II

Narawara                                                                   Jayavarman I

Mahadammayaza Dipati                                              Jayadevi


Rulers of Arakan,                                                (a) Aninditapura (7th Century AD)


(a) Candra Dynasty, 788-1018                                Baladitya                                


Rajacandra                                                                 Pushkaraksha


Devacandra                                                          (b) Sambhupura (8th Century AD)


Candrabhandu                                                            Rajendravarman I

Bhumicandra                                                               Mahapativarman


Niticandra                                                              Angkor Dynasty  (9 – 15 Centuries AD)


Priticandra                                                                  Jayavarman II,III,IV,V,VI,VII,VIII

Dhrticandra                                                                 Indravarman I, II, III

                                                                                  Yasovarman I,II          

(b) Mrohaung Dynastry, 1404-1782                        Harshavarman I, II, III

                                                                                  Isanavarman II

Narameikhla                                                               Rajendravarman II

Thirithudamma                                                Udatiyavarman I, II

Narapatigyi                                                                 Suryavarman I, II

Sandathudamma                                                         Dharanindravarman I, II

Thirithuriya                                                                  Tribuvanadityavarman

Waradhammaraza                                                       Jayavarman Paramesvara

Munithudhammaraza                                                   Kalamegha (at Basan)

Sandathuriyadhamma                                                  Dharmasokaraja

Naradipati                                                                  Narayana Ramadhipati

Sandawimala                                                              Dharmarajadhiraja





Champa  (2-14 Centuries AD)                                           Singosari and Majapahit

                                                                                                           (13-15 Centuries AD)

Sri Mara                                                                     Vishanuvardhana

Bhadravarman I, II, III                                    Kertanagara

Gangaraja                                                                   Kertarajaysa Jayavardhana     

Manorathavarman                                                       Jayanagara

Devavarman                                                               Tribhuvana

Vijayavarman                                                              Rajasanagara

Rudravarman I, II, III, IV                                            Vikramavardhana

Sambuvarman                                                             Suhita

Kandharpadharma                                                      Kertavijaya

Bhasadharma                                                              Rajavardhana


Vikrantavarman I, II, III, IV                                    Java: Muslim Period


Satyavarman                                                               Mataram and Surakarta (16-20C)

Indravarman I, II, III, IV, V                                        Sutavijaya Senapati

Harivarman I, II, III, IV, V                                          Pakubhuwana I to XII

Jaya Indravarman I, II, III, IV, V, VI                          Abdurrahman Amanghubuwana I-IX

Jaya Sinhavarman I, II, III,  V                        

Jaya Saktivarman                                                    Malacca  (15-16 Centuries AD)

Paramesvaravarman I, II                                            

Paramabhodisatva                                                       Paramesvara

Jaya Harvarman I, II                                                   Sri Maharaja

Suryajayevarman                                                        Raja Ibrahim   

Suryavarman                                                               Raja Kasim


Java: Pre-Muslim Period:                                    T’AI Dynasties


West Java: (4 -14 Centuries AD)                              Rulers of Sukhot’ai and Ayuthia

                                                                                                        (13-15 Centuries AD)

Purnavarman                                                               Sri  Int’arat’itya           

Jayabhupati                                                                 Rama Khamheng

Niskalavastu                                                               T’ammaraja I – IV

Deva Niskala                                                              Rama T’ibodi I, II

Ratu Devata                                                                Ramesuen

                                                                                  Boromoraja I – IV

Middle Java   (7-8 Centuries AD)                                         Ram Raja

                                                                                  Int’araja I


Pancapana                                                                  Thai Rulers (Bangkok)

                                                                                                       (16-20 Centuries AD)

East Java (8-13 Centuries AD)                                 Maha Chkrap’at

                                                                                  Maha T’ammaraja I, II

Devasimha                                                                  Naresuen

Gajayana                                                                    Int’araja II

Dharmavamsa Anantavikrama                         Sri Sut’ammaraja

Jayavarsa                                                                    Boromoraja  V

Kamesvara I, II                                                          Rama I – VI

Jayabhaya                                                                   Prajadhipok

Sarvesvara I, II                                                           Ananda Mahidol

Aryyesvara                                                                 Bumipol Adulet


Text Box: Edited, Composed & Published in Paris, France

           By T. Wignesan
                      for Centre de Recherches sur les Etudes Asiatiques,
                             B. P. 90145,
                             94004 Créteil Cedex,
         On April 5, 2005

         © T. Wignesan 2005

         ISSN 1298-0358
         Association n° 0941011951

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