FUNAN — AN INDIANISED STATE
FUNAN , located in the MEKONG DELTA and comprised of the territories inside modern day THAILAND , as per the CHINESE cartographers and geographers , was an INDIANISED STATE where extensive human settlement had started since 4th century BC . The region also had a number of indigenous AUSTROASIATIC-SPEAKING and MALYO-SUMBAWAN-SPEAKING Civilizations . The CHINESE Historical Text largely based on the report of two CHINESE diplomats namely ; KANG TAI and ZHU YING who sojourned in FUNAN in the mid-third century AD shows that FUNAN had been a single unified Empire . But as per modern historians it had been a collection of city-states that sometimes warred with one another and at other times constituted a political unity . So far as Ethnic and Linguistic origin of the FUHANESE people are concerned , possibly they were ancestors of those indigenous people dwelling in the southern part of VIETNAM and today they referred themselves as KHMER or KHMER KROM . Possibilities couldn’t be ruled out that FUNAN was a multicultural society having various Ethnic and Linguistic groups . However , in the late fourth and fifth century AD , INDIANIZATIO advanced more rapidly in the region . And people from PALLAVA DYNASTY of the South INDIA and GUPTA DYNASTY of the North INDIA , now , had started settling down there in FUNAN . SUVARNABHUMI referred in the ancient INDIAN text might be FUNAN itself .
Among the KHMER KROM of the lower MEKONG region , there is common belief that they were the decedents of ancient FUNAN , the core of SUVARNABHUMI , which covered a vast extent of CAMBODIA , SOUTHERN VIETNAM , THAILAND , LAOS , BURMA ( NOW MYANMAR ) , MALAYA , SUMATRA and other parts of INDONESIA . The BOOK OF LIANG , compiled under YAO SILIAN and completed in 635 AD , records a local legend to describe FUNAN’S origin which states that FUNAN was founded by a foreigner called HUNTIAN . The records say that he came from the southern country called JIAO after dreaming that his personal genie had delivered a divine bow to him with this direction that he should embark on a large merchant junk . When in the morning he had gone for the temple where he found a bow at the foot of the genie’s tree . He then boarded a ship which the genei caused him to land on FUNAN . The queen of the country LIUYE (QUEEN SOMA) wanted to pillage the ship and seize it . HUNTIAN in response shot an arrow from his divine bow which pierced through the LIUYE ship . The queen became so frightened that she gave herself up . And later HUNTIAN took her for his wife and he ruled over the country called FUNAN and then his son came to power who was the founder of the seven cities . Almost all the same story appears in the JIN SHU ( BOOK OF JIN ) compiled by FANG XUANLING in 648 AD .
On the other hand , some historians are of the opinion that HUNTIAN of the BOOK OF LIANG was a KONDINYA BRAHMIN from INDIA who married a NAGA (SNAKE) princess called SOMA . The story of KONDINYA is set forth in the Sanskrit Inscription C. 96 of the CHAM King PRAKASADHARMA found in MY SON ( A CLUSTER OF RUINED HINDU TEMPLE IN VIETNAM ) . The said Inscription dated 18th February , 658 AD states , ‘ It was there (at the city of Bhavapura) that KONDINYA , the foremost among brahmins , planted the spear which he had obtained from DRONA’S son ASVATTHAMAN , the best of Brahmins . There was a daughter of a King of serpents , called “SOMA”, who founded a family in this world . Having attained , through love , to a radically different element , she lived in the abode of man . She was taken as wife by the excellent Brahmin KONDINYA for the sake of ( accomplishing ) a certain task …..’ However , a historian like GABRIEL FERRAND is of the opinion that some INDIAN merchants might have immigrated to the region and established relations with the natives and that’s how the myth emerged as such . J.C. van Leur , a DUTCH historian has a different view . To him , the local Rulers realizing the benefits of associating with the relatively advanced level of life that time prevailing in the INDIAN traditions they might have encouraged Brahmin Clerks to help with the local Administration . O.W. WOLTERS also supported this view that there was a mutual sharing process in the evolution of INDIANISED statecraft and no mass influx of Brahmins took place in FUNAN as such .
NOTE : THE SOURCES OF THE BLOG ARE TEXT BOOKS AND OTHER WRITTEN MATERIALS ON THE SUBJECT .
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