Main Article Content

Sharmin Akhtar
Hanizah Idris


Some archaeological evidence from early Bengal (the eastern coastal region of India) found in the different sites of the mainland and maritime Southeast Asia is the vital source for grasping the historical study of the immense process of 'Indianisation.' The valuable archaeological elements are Northern Black Polished Wares, Rouletted Wares, Beads, Seals with Kharoshti-Brahmi scripts, prove of most elegant clothes and the concept of Temple Architecture from Bengal. This article is an endeavour to expose these elements to demonstrate the Bengal's connection behind the 'Indianisation’ process. In the initial stage (400 BCE to 800 CE) of ‘Indianisation,' Bengal kept a vital role in this massive course along with other Indian regions (Tamil Nadu, Arikamedu, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa). This issue has drawn the attention of scholars from the last few generations. In the ancient period, there were some direct maritime trade routes from Bengal to the Southeast Asian region. Traders from other parts of India also used the ports of Bengal on the way towards Southeast Asia because of its strategic location. Some striking indications may come out from the study that will specify the role of Bengal behind the 'Indianisation' process. This study followed the qualitative method with historical research that focuses on the archaeological findings, ancient literature, and secondary documents. 

Keywords:  Bengal, Southeast Asia, Indianisation, trade, archaeological elements


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details



Ardika, I. Wayan, and Peter Bellwood. (1991). “Sembiran: the Beginnings of Indian Contact with Bali.” Antiquity, Vol. 65, pp.221-232
Andaya, B. W. & Andaya, L. Y. (1st edition,1982, 3rd edition 2017), A History of Malaysia, London: Palgrave
Basa, K.K. (1992), “Early Glass Beads in India”, Southeast Asian Studies, vol.8, pp.91-104
------------ (1999), “Early Trade in the Indian Perspectives on Indo-Southeast –Asian Maritime Contacts (c. 400 BC-AD 500) In Behera, K. S. (ed), Maritime Heritage of India, pp. 29-71, New Delhi: Aryan Books International
Bellina, B. & Glover, I. C. (2004), “The archaeology of early contacts with India and the Mediterranean World from the fourth century BC to the fourth century AD” In Glover, I & Bellwood, P. (eds), Southeast Asia from the Prehistory to History, pp. 68-89, London: Routledge
Bhattacharyya, N.N. (1998), Encyclopaedia of Ancient Indian Culture, p.333, New Delhi: Manohar
Bouvet, P. (2010) “Study of the Indian and Indian Style Wares from Khao Sam Kaeo," In Berenice Bellina, pp. 120-152 (ed.) Thai –France Archaeological Mission in Upper Peninsular Thailand: An Unpublished Report of the 2005-2009 Campaigns at Khao Sam Kao( Chumphon), France: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS UMR 7528)
Bronson, B. and Dales, G. F. (1978), Excavations at Chansen, Thailand. 1968 & 1969: A Preliminary Report, Asian Perspectives. XV, pp. 15-46
Bronson, Bennett. (1976), Excavations at Chansen: The Cultural Chronology of prehistoric Central Thailand, Ph.D. Thesis, Thailand: UMI Dissertation Service
Chaisuwan, B. (2011), “Early Contact between India and The Andaman Coast in Thailand from the Second Century BCE in Thailand to Eleventh Century CE” In Manguin, P. Mani, A. & Wade, G. (eds), Early Interactions between South and Southeast Asia: Reflections on Cross-Cultural Exchange, pp. 83-112, Singapore: ISEAS
Chakrabarti, D. K. (1992), Ancient Bangladesh: A Study of the Archaeological Sources, Dhaka: Dhaka University Press Ltd.
Chowdhury, A. M. & Chakravarti, R. (Edited) (2018), History of Bangladesh Early Bengal in Regional Perspectives (Up to c. 1200 CE), vol 1& 2, Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bengal
Coedes, G. (1968), The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, (ed. By W. F. Vella and Eng. Tr. By Susan Brown Cowing), Honolulu: The University Press of Hawaii
Ford, L. A., Pollard, R. A. M., Coningham, B. Stern. (2005), “ A Geochemical Investigation of the origin of Rouletted South Asian Fine Wares”, Antiquity 79, 306 (December), pp. 909-920
Francis, P. J. (1996). "Beads, the Bead Trade and State Development in Southeast Asia", In Srisuchat, A. (ed.) Ancient Indian Traders and Cultural Contacts in Southeast Asia, pp. 139-152, Bangkok: The National Culture Commission
Ghose, A. (ed.) (1989), Encyclopedia of Indian Archaeology, Vol.II, New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers
Glover, I. C. (1990), ‘Early trade between India and Southeast Asia: A link in the development of a world trading system’, Occasional Paper No.16, Centre for Southeast Asian Studies, London and Bangkok: University of Hull
Glover, I. C. and Bellina, B. (2011), “Ban Don Ta Phet and Khao Sam Kaeo: The Earliest Indian Contacts Re-assessed,” In Manguin, P.Y. Many, A & Wade, G. (eds.), Early Interactions between South and Southeast Asia: Reflections of Cross-Cultural Exchange, Singapore: ISEAS Publishing
Hall, D. G. E. (ed.), (1966) A History of Southeast Asia, London: Macmillan
Haque, E. (1998) “Maritime Activities and the Indigenous Traditions of Boat-Building in Ancient and Mediaeval Bengal,” In Bengal Art, pp.243-262, Dhaka: International Centre for Study of Bengal Art
Haque. E. (2001), Excavation at Wari-Bateshwar: A Preliminary Study, Dhaka: International Centre for Study of Bengal Art
Herrmann-Pfandt, A. (2012), "The Mandala Temples in Paharpur, Mainamati, and Vikramsila: A New Interpretation," In Bengal Art, Vol, 17, pp.111-134
Islam, K. (1984). Aspects of Economic History of Bengal, Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh
Jahan, S.H. (2002). Early Maritime Trade Network in Bengal, Man, and Environment, vol.27. pp. 205-228
Lal, M. (1984), Settlement History and Rise of Civilization in Ganga-Yamuna Doab (from 1500 BC to 300 AD), Delhi: B. R. Publishing Corporation.
Majumdar, R.C.(1986), Suvarnadipa: Ancient Indian Colonies In The Far East, Delhi: Gian Publishing House
Marshall, J. (1951), Taxila, Vol.II, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Monica, L. S. (1999), “Indianization" from the Indian Point of View: Trade and Cultural Contacts with Southeast Asia in the Early First Millennium C.E.,' Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 42. No.1, pp.1-26, Los Angeles: Brill University of California
Mukherjee, B.N. (1990), ‘Kharoshti and Kharoshti-Brahmi Inscriptions in West Bengal (India), Indian Museum Bulletin, pp.9-39
Mukherjee, B.N. (1987), "The Territory of the Gangaridai" In Indian Journal of Landscape Systems and Ecological Studies, Vol 2, p 65.
Nadaranjan, V. (2011), Bujang Valley: The Wonder that was Ancient Kedah, Kedah: Dato’ V. Nadarajan
Osborn, M (2013) South East Asia: An Introductory History, Australia: Allen & Unwin
Haq, E. (2003), ‘Chandraketugarh: Enigmatic Enter port of Ancient Bengal’, In Pal, P. & Haq, E. (eds) Bengal Sites and Sights, Mumbai: Marg Publications
Rahman, S.M. (1999). Archaeological Investigation in Bogra District, Bangladesh (from Early Historic to Early Medieval Period). Ph.D. Dissertation, Deccan: Department of Archaeology, Deccan College Post Graduate and Research
Rahman, S.M. & Pathan, H. (2012), Wari-Bateshwar Shekorer Shondhane (In Bangali), Dhaka: Prothoma
Rashid, M.H. (2008), The Early History of Southeast Bengal in the Light of Archaeological Materials, Dhaka: Itihas Academy
Roy, H. P.(2006), "The Archaeology of Bengal: Trading Networks, Cultural Identities," In JESHO, Vol. 49, pp. 68- 95
Roy, T. N. (1986), A Study of Northern Black Polished Ware Culture, New Delhi: Ramanand Vidya Bhawan

Roy. N. et al. (2000), A Source Book of Indian Civilization, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan
Ardika, I. W. (2018), “Early Contacts Between Bali And India” In Saran, S. (ed), Cultural and Civilizational Links between India and Southeast Asia, New Delhi: Palgrave Macmillan
Schen, H (2015), "Role of ceramics in the Indian Ocean maritime trade during the Early Historic Period," in Tripati, S. (ed.). Maritime Contacts of the Past Deciphering Connections amongst communities. pp.143-181, New Delhi. Delta Book world
Sen, R.K. & Kayal, J. (2007). "India-Bali Economic Trade: The Past and the Future," in Roy, K. C. & Chatterjee, S (eds.) Reading in World Development: Growth, Development and Poverty Alleviation in the Asia-Pacific, New York: Nova Science Publishers
Smith, V. A.(1962), The Early History of India, 4th edition, London: Oxford University press
Srisuchat, A. (1996), Merchants, Merchandise, Markets: Archaeological evidence in Thailand concerning maritime trade interactions between Thailand and other countries the 16th century AD. In Srisuchat, A (ed.). Ancient Trades and Cultural Contacts in Southeast Asia, pp.237-274, Bangkok: National Cultural commission
Takaksu, J.(trans.) (1896), A Record of Buddhist Religion as Practiced in India and Malay Archipelago A.D. 671-695 by I-ting, Oxford: Clarendon
Tripati, S. (2011), “Ancient Maritime Trade of the Eastern Indian Littoral,” In Current Science, vol.100, pp. 1076-1086
------- (2017), “Seafaring Archaeology of the East Coast of India and Southeast Asia during the Early Historical Period”, Ancient Asia, 8:7, pp. 1-22, India: Marine Archaeology Centre
Wheeler, R. E. M., Ghosh, A & Deva, K. (1946), “Arikamedu: an Indo- Roman Trading Station on the East Coast of India.” Ancient India, Vol. 2. pp. 17-124.
Wheetly, P. (1961).The Golden Khersonese, Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur
Wild. J.P. & Wild, F. (2005), Rome and India: Early Indian Cotton textiles from Berenike, Red Sea Coast of Egypt, In Barnes, R (ed), Textiles in Indian Ocean Societies, pp.11-16, London: Routledge Curzon