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Hindu Influence Across South East Asia

Genetic research shows that the peoples of ancient India, particularly from the North East, South India and Nepal migrated to Myanmar and south East Asian lands and islands between 50 and 70000 years ago. The cultural and archaeological evidence only goes back three thousand years, but now a predominant gene from Indians who mixed with aborigine natives proves a longer history of association in the peoples of Java, Bali, Malaysia and Philippines.

Published in 2013. A genetic link between Indians and two Filipno Aeta populations were unveiled in a study whose proponents include Frederick Delfin, university research associate at the DNA Analysis Laboratory in the University of the Philippines, Diliman. in collaboration with the Institute of Human Genetics, National Institutes of Health, UP Manila, headed by Dr. Eva Cutiongco-de la Paz, and is done in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Natural Sciences Research Institute DNA Analysis Laboratory.

Delfin asserts that it is commonly accepted that the Asia-Pacific—including the Philippines was peopled by human migration that passed through the coast of South Asia. But the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) Indian-Philippine genetic link that Delfin and his team found “can be a signal of shared ancestry that actually originated from India”. Two mtDNA sets, M52'58 and M52a, that both originate from Indian populations were found in the Aetas of Zambales and the Agtas of Iriga in the Philippines.

These shared common haplogroups show a link between the populations of India and the Philippines that is about 5,000 to 20,000 years old. “This estimated age (5,000 to 20,000 years ago) is somewhat in between the estimated ages of the initial peopling of the Asia and Pacific regions (50,000 to 70,000 years ago) and the Austronesian expansion (5,000 to 7,000 years ago).” This suggests that these migratory groups from India arrived before the Austronesian people landed in Philippine shores and populated the prehistoric Philippine archipelago.

India and Philippines have historic ties going back over 3000 years.

Spanish arrival in the area in 1521 began destroying all ancient kingdoms and literally chained and enslaved people and they sucked the lands dry till their end in 1898. That is why you see the names of most Filipino people similar to Spanish names.

India had greatly influenced the many different cultures of the Philippines through the Indianized kingdom of the Hindu Majapahit, Khmer Empire and the Buddhist Srivijaya. For at least two millennia before the arrival of Spanish, Philippines was ruled by Hindu kings called Rajah and Pramukha. The Rajah of Butuan or Kingdom of Butuan was an Indic polity centered on present Mindanao island in the city of Butuan in what is now the southern Philippines.

By year 1011, Rajah Sri Bata Shaja, the monarch of the Indianized Rajahnate of Butuan, a maritime-state famous for its goldwork sent a trade envoy under ambassador Likan-shieh to the Chinese Imperial Court demanding equal diplomatic status with other states.

The Rajahnate of Cebu was a classical Philippine state which used to exist on Cebu island prior to the arrival of the Spanish. It was founded by Sri Lumay otherwise known as Rajamuda Lumaya, a minor prince of the Hindu Chola dynasty which happened to occupy Sumatra. He was sent by the maharajah to establish a base for expeditionary forces to subdue the local kingdoms but he rebelled and established his own independent Rajahnate instead.

These small nations were either greatly influenced by the Indian Hindu religion, language, culture, literature and philosophy from India through many campaigns from India including the South-East Asia campaign of Rajendra Chola. During the period of the south Indian Pallava dynasty and the north Indian Gupta Empire, Indian culture spread to Southeast Asia and the Philippines which led to the establishment of Indianized kingdoms.

From the various Sanskrit terms and titles seen in the document, the culture and society of Manila Bay was that of a Hindu–Old Malay amalgamation, similar to the cultures of Java, Peninsular Malaysia and Sumatra at the time.

Numerous kings with written genealogies and Sanskrit names were found by Spanish warlords and friars. Indian presence in the Philippines has been ongoing since ancient times along with the Japanese people, and the Han Chinese, and Arab and Persian traders, predating even the coming of the Europeans by at least two millennium. Indian people together with the natives of the Indonesian Archipelago and the Malay Peninsula, who came as traders introduced Hinduism to the natives of the Philippines. Indian migrants have been crucial in the establishment of several Indianized Kingdoms or "Rajahnates" in the Philippines, Rajahates such as that of Butuan and Cebu. Indian converts to Islam brought Sunni Islam to the Philippine islands in the course of trade, which was later enhanced and strengthened by Arab Muslim Sea traders to Mindanao and Sulu Sultanate.

Hinduism has a long historical influence in the Philippines, but recent archaeological and other evidence suggests Hinduism has had some cultural, economic, political and religious influence in the archipelago. Among these is the 9th century Laguna Copperplate Inscription found in 1989, deciphered in 1992 to be Kavi script (Pallava alphabet) with Sanskrit words; the golden Agusan statue discovered in another part of Philippines in 1917 has also been linked to Hinduism

By the 17th century, Gujarati merchants with the aid of Khoja and Bohri ship-owners had developed an international transoceanic empire which had a network of agents stationed at the great port cities across the Indian Ocean. These networks extended to the Philippines in the east, East Africa in the west, and via maritime and the inland caravan route to Russia in the north.

The best evidence of strong Indian elements in Filipino life is, however, found in Philippine languages, particularly in Tagalog which has borrowed from Sanskrit the words which signify intellectual acts, moral conceptions, emotions, superstitions, names of deities, of planets, of numerals of high numbers, of botany, of war, of titles and dignitaries, some animals, instruments of industry and the names of money.

This deep influence on Philippine languages was due to the borrowing of Sanskrit words by the Malays during first centuries of the Christian era from whom the Filipinos engrafted all the words into their own languages, when they came into contact with the Hinduised Malays.” We all know, the Philippine islands, Malay and Indonesia were greatly influenced by Hindu religions and philosophy since the early years of the Christian era. Some writers have suggested that direct Indian contact with the Philippines occurred in the early centuries of the Christian era. This belief is based on the archaeological remains consisting mostly of pottery, beads and bracelets and other materials similar to those found in South India, which have been found in the Philippines and Malaysia. They believe that without direct contact between India and the Philippines Indian influence on religion, politics and statecraft of the Philippines could not not have been possible.”

Many fables and stories in Filipino Culture are linked to Indian arts, such as the story of monkey and the turtle, the race between deer and snail (slow and steady wins the race), and the hawk and the hen. Similarly, the major epics and folk literature of Philippines show common themes, plots, climax and ideas expressed in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

According to Indologists Juan R. Francisco and Josephine Acosta Pasricha, Hindu influences and folklore arrived in Philippines by about 9th to 10th century AD. The Maranao version is the Maharadia Lawana (King Ravana of Hindu Epic Ramayana). Lam-Ang is the version of the Ilocanos and Sarimanok (Garuda) is the legendary bird of the Maranao culture. In addition, many verses from the Hud-Hud of the Ifugao are derived from the Indian Hindu epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata

Tagalog words

budhî "conscience" from the Sanskrit bodhi
bathala "bhattara - Hindu God Shiva" from the Sanskrit Bhattara
dalita "one who suffers" from the Sanskrit dharita
dukhâ "poverty" from the Sanskrit dukkha
guró "teacher" from the Sanskrit guru
sampalataya "faith" from the Sanskrit sampratyaya
mukhâ "face" from the Sanskrit mukha
lahò "eclipse", "disappear" from the Sanskrit rahu
maharlika "noble" from Sanskrit mahardikka
saranggola "kite" from Sanskrit layang gula (via Malay)
asawa "spouse" from Sanskrit swami
bagay "thing" from Tamil "vagai"
talà "star" from Sanskrit tara
puto, a traditional rice pastry, from Tamil puttu (via Malay)

Kapampangan words

kalma "fate" from the Sanskrit karma
damla "divine law" from the Sanskrit dharma
mantala -"magic formulas" from the Sanskrit mantra
upaya "power" from the Sanskrit upaya
lupa "face" from the Sanskrit rupa
sabla "every" from the Sanskrit sarva
lawu "eclipse" from the Sanskrit rahu
Galura "giant eagle (a surname)" from the Sanskrit garuda
Laksina "south" (a surname) from the Sanskrit dakshin
Laksamana/Lacsamana/Laxamana "admiral" (a surname) from the Sanskrit lakshmana

Cebuano words

budaya "culture" from Sanskrit; combination of boddhi, "virtue" and dhaya, "power"
balita "news" from Sanskrit varta
baya "warning to someone in danger" from Sanskrit bhaya
diwata "goddess" from Sanskrit devata
gadya "elephant" from Sanskrit gajha
puasa "fasting" from Sanskrit upavasa
saksí "witness" from Sanskrit saksi

Tausug

suarga "heaven"; compare sorga in modern Indonesian
agama "religion"

Ibanag

karahay a cooking pan similar to the Chinese wok, from the Sanskrit karahi
tura the word meaning "to write" came from the Sanskrit sutra meaning literature or scripture
kapo the word cotton from Sanskrit kerpas

Words common to many Philippine languages

sutlá "silk" from the Sanskrit sutra
kapas "cotton" from the Sanskrit kerpas
naga "dragon" or "serpent" from the Sanskrit naga

India was at the centre of the ancient world where from 4 varnas or colours of people originated and spread to West, North and to South and East. Almost every single culture from South East Asia of Naam, Champa, Lao, Kampuchea, Myanmar, Siam to Malaya, Java, Sumatra, Lombok, Sulawesi, Borneo, Bali, Sumba, New Guinea, Komodo, Timor, Sumbawa, Seram, Bintan, Belitung, Krakatoa, Rinca, Bunaken, Sipura to Polynesian Islands.  Archipelagos merged with the ancient rich cultures of HIndu kingdoms who not only enriched them with great cultural values but also with elevation of Spirit and adding great human values. To this day, despite modernity, enslavement by Arabs, Europeans and others, the people of entire South East Asia and Polynesia to Australasia carry the codes of ancient Hindu civilizations.

By Dr Naila Hussain - more posts

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