Kollam was a Buddhist citadel, says historian
`The Buddhist culture had an influence on all later religions'
KOLLAM: M.S. Jayaprakash, historian, has said that under the influence of Buddhism, a Chera civilisation, with Kollam as its centre, had flourished for more than 1,000 years in the southern parts of today's Kerala.
He was presenting a paper on "Our Buddhist history and tradition'' at a history seminar organised by Sri Buddha Central School here on Saturday in connection with Buddha Poornima celebrations.
Dr. Jayaprakash said that based on studies, it had been proved that similar to the Indus Valley Civilisation, the Chera civilisation was also brutally wiped out by Aryanisation and the caste system.
In the northern parts of the Subcontinent, it was by opposing the caste system that Buddhism gained ground. But in Cheranad, Buddhism came through Sri Lanka to complement the Dravidian culture reigning here.
The Buddhist culture appeared in Cheranad or Cheralam during 3 B.C. and it had an influence on all religions which were later introduced in this land. It was the general culture of the people.
After the brutal annihilation of the Buddhist culture by the Aryans, Cheralam was christened Keralam, Dr. Jayaprakash said. Through the annihilation, many of the important Buddhist shrines were converted into Hindu temples.
In fact, the biggest influence Buddhism had in the Subcontinent was in Kerala and it was Kollam which was the citadel of Buddhism.
But the unfortunate aspect was that most of those who lived in Keralam today were unaware of the big role played by Buddhism in this part of the Subcontinent.
Only some myths were in circulation and they were also being conveniently altered.
It was only after destroying the Buddhist culture that the caste system got established in Kerala.
There were records in the archives to prove that the last Buddhist conference was held in Kollam in 1936 when the temple entry movement was under way.
The chairman of the Sri Buddha Foundation, K. Sasikumar, presided over the function. Another paper on "The Sri Lankan influence on the Buddhist-Ayurveda tradition of Kerala'' was presented by the NSS programme coordinator of Mahatma Gandhi University, K. Sabukuttan.