Cham inscriptions and Cham manuscripts: A legacy of developmentSpeaker: Mohamed Effendy bin Abdul Hamid
Date/Time: Sat 14 Apr 07, 2.30 – 4.30pm
Venue: National Library (Singapore), 100 Victoria Street, Possibility Room, Level 5The Vo Canh Stele is one of the earliest Sanskrit inscriptions found in Southeast Asia, in the vicinity of the kingdom of Champa, Vietnam. The inscription, dated to be from the fourth century, records the donation made by a King belonging to the family of Sri Mara. The significance of this inscription was that it was one of the earliest examples of the Pallava script being used in Southeast Asia by a Malay-like polity, Kerajaan Champa.

This seminar will highlight the localization of Sanskrit by the Cham people by contrasting it to other Cham inscriptions and the writing found in the Cham manuscripts. This will highlight that although the Cham language and writing show significant borrowings from other cultures, it actually enhanced the development of the Cham language.

Admission is FREE and no registration is required.

About the Speaker:
Mohamed Effendy bin Abdul Hamid is a postgraduate student in the National University of Singapore, Southeast Asia Studies Programme. His interest in Champa’s history began in the year 2000 and has been awarded a research grant in 2005 by National University of Singapore’s Graduate research programme to conduct fieldwork research in Cham communities in Vietnam and Cambodia. Mohamed Effendy has also participated and attended in several international conferences and symposiums such as “New scholarship on Champa”, 5-6 August 2004. He co-presented a paper with Research Associate Mr Pritam Singh on “The Muslims of Indochina: Islam, Ethnicity and Religious Education” and a paper “Cham Manuscripts and the Possibility of a Second Champa Kingdom” at the 19th International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA) 2006 in the Philippines.

Related Books:
The Art of Champa by J. Hubert

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9 Replies to “Cham inscriptions and Cham manuscripts: A legacy of development”

  1. Dear Mr Effendy

    Very much interested in your works. we are looking for some contacts for below article. do llet us know if you have any information on below


    Old leaves tell tales

    It is estimated that the villages of Cham ethnic people in central Viet Nam are preserving around 60,000 ancient documents that remain mostly unknown to the world.

    Most of these documents are written in Sanskrit on buong, the leaves of a type of palm tree that grows in central Viet Nam. Sanskrit is an ancient Hindu and classical literary language of India now lost to today’s Cham people.

    However, one Cham teacher is determined to unlock his people’s secrets. Tinh has mastered Sanskrit to decipher the Mystery of the Leaves and as a teacher, has free access to the ancient documents considered by the Cham as something akin to a family heirloom.

    Tinh has discovered the leaves contain a treasure of tales, legends, historic events, poems, songs and rituals. “They are handed down from generations to generations,” explains Tinh.

    “People keep them with great care without knowing entirely their meaning. If some documents happened to decay, people will cast the dust into nature. That is why it is not easy to collect these buong leaf documents.”

    The young buong leaf was first cut in equal lengths and then dried for one day under the sun. The Cham people used a sharp stick to write on them.

    When they finished, they coated some unknown powder on the leaves to make the writings indelible. A buong leaf can hold four lines of Sanskrit.

    Tinh has thousands of these ancient and mysterious Cham documents, some in their original condition, some copied by him.

    He says, “It’s a great honour for me to shed some light into the Chams’ fabulous spiritual heritage.” — VNS

  2. Hi everyone.

    My name is Nhuong Tu. A Cham who live in central Viet Nam. I am interested in the introduction of Islam into the kingdom of Champa. Does any one know a good source?

    Thanks for your help.
    Nhuong Tu

  3. Hi Nhong Tu,

    for starters, you might want to read Anthony Reid’s Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce, which covers the spread of religions throughout Southeast Asia as a result of trade in from the 15th to 17th century. I remember reading about the spread of Islam to the Cham there.

  4. Dear Scholar,
    Good Day to You. Anbout me …

    After completing my 12-years schooling [English, Second Language (Telugu-my mother tongue), Engineering Mathematics, Biological and Physical Sciences, History and Geography-1967], I did my B.A.(Sanskrit/History/Telugu–1974), M.A. (English Language and Literature–1978), B.L.I.Sc. (Library and Information Science–1978), Diploma (German Language-1980), M.A. (Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology-1980), M.Phil. (Archaeology-1984), Ph.D. (Temple Studies-1992). Since July 1968, till June 1981, I have been working as Junior and Senior Office Assistant in the Osmania University Service, looking after Academic, Accounts and Administrative subjects. In June 1981, I have joined as Assistant Professor in the Department of Ancient Indian history, Culture and Archaeology, Osmania University, and presently am the Professor. After completing 13 years of Service as Administrative, Academic and Accounts Assistant, and 28 years as Professor in AIHC&A., as per the existing Service Rules in the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the Osmania University, am due to retire on 28 Feb 2009. Since 1981, I have been Teaching and Guiding Students for their UG, PG and Research (M.Phil. /Ph.D.) degrees on different aspects of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology; with special emphasis on Andhra History and Culture. I have authored 10 books, both in English and vernacular Telugu; participated and presented more than 50 research articles, on Art History, Epigraphy, Iconography, Numismatics, Buddhism, Jainism, Vedism, Religion, Philosophy, Museology and Tourism in the Seminars/ Conferences held, within and outside India. I have visited UK, South and South East Asian Countries and delivered Guest/ Extension Lectures on Pan Indian Cultural Studies at the Universities, Museums and Institutes of Higher Learning and Research. Presently am working on Sanskrit Inscriptions of South East Asia. Chanced I would like to share my knowledge with Students, Colleagues and Professors on Cultures and Civilizations, knowledge of which, in the present IT world, is becoming a nightmare.

    Now, may I request you to kindly help me in the present project of Sanskrit Inscriptions of South East Asia-A

    Being optimist I await your brisk reply.
    I remain,
    Professionally yours,

    Professor Vijaya Kumar Babu, Avadhanula,
    Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology,
    Osmania University, Hyderabad-500 007, AP, INDIA.
    (Res. # 12-13-633, Nagarjuna Nagar, Tarnaka, Hyderabad-500 017, INDIA)
    (Phones-Land: +0091-40-65176840; Mob: +0091-9866100512, 9866100747)
    (E-mail: avadhanulavkbabu@yahoo.co.in)

  5. Interesting post! I have bookedmarked this page for future reference. Looking for more interesting articles next time!

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