anıket t. chettrı

sılıgurı college, north bengal unıversıty

Aniket Tathagata Chettry completed his doctorate in 2017 from the University of Delhi. His thesis was titled “Understanding the Evolution of the Frontier Society in Bengal”. Dr. Chettri has worked as a visiting professor in St.Stephen’s College , Lady Shri Ram College and Hans Raj College. Currently, he is engaged as an assistant professor in the Department of History in Siliguri College. He has a specialisation in Medieval Indian History and has been published in several national as well as international journals. Dr. Chettri is interested in examining the diversity and historicity of literary traditions in pre-modern India. Apart from history, his interests include cricket and watching soppy movies.

Representing the Other: Assessing Indo-Byzantine Relations Through Textual Sources

This paper examines textual traditions within Byzantine and Indian scholarship to understand the idea of India that existed amongst Byzantine scholars and vice-versa.  The paper begins by focusing on an enigmatic text; the Christian Topography of Cosmas to demonstrate that the Byzantine view of India was exoticising with the sub-continent serving as the ‘óther’ which existed at the far edges of the Roman world, another that needed to be constantly documented and reported for the people back home. This paper then throws light on the process of ‘other’ ing, as evident in the contemporary Sangam texts produced in the Tamil region, with Byzantium being clubbed with all other outsiders to ‘Tamilakam’ as ‘ýavanas . The process of othering did not simple stop here and the final part of the paper analyses the manner in which the Byzantine empire was represented by Islamic scholars as a symbol of decadence and profligacy; the culmination of this world view being reflected in the works of the eighteenthcentury Indian scholar Shah Waliullah.  Thus, this paper tries to present a brief understanding of the manner in which Indian and Byzantine texts represented each other, a representation characterized by a deliberate other-ing of one another.