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  • Anirudh Kanisetti

09. Kushana, Son of God (21 mins)


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This is the story of the rise of the Kushan Empire: the most powerful South Asian state since the fall of the Mauryan Empire. Episode 9 of Echoes of India brings to life the remarkable religious syncretism of one of the ancient world's most globalised regions, at a time when the Silk Roads had grown to encompass most of the Eastern hemisphere.


At the same time as the Shaka-Satavahana wars unfolded in the Deccan, a new power was emerging in the North-West of the Indian subcontinent. These were the nomadic Yuezhi hordes who were to unite under the Kushana tribe, and invade Gandhara. There, they inaugurated a policy of multiculturalism that led to the flourishing of the gorgeous Gandhara school of art. This is their story.


Voice Credits & Notes Below.




Voice Credits (in order of appearance):

Chinese Report on the Kushanas - Manoj Kewalramani

Priest/Manu - Amit Varma

Notes:

  1. The majority of the content was developed from Volume II of the UNESCO History of Civilizations of Central Asia, available at http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/general-and-regional-histories/history-of-civilizations-of-central-asia/ and also Chakravarti, Ranabir. "Kushan Empire." The Encyclopedia of Empire (2016): 1-6.

  2. For more on Gandhara art, check out the illuminating essays and gorgeous photographs in Behrendt, Kurt A. The Art of Gandhara in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Metropolitan Museum of art, 2007. You can get the PDF for free here. It is ABSOLUTELY worth a download.

  3. Mention of Kushan skull deformation: http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/heraus

  4. On Buddhism in Gandhara: Brancaccio, Pia, and Kurt A. Behrendt, eds. Gandhāran Buddhism: Archaeology, Art, Texts. University of British Columbia Press, 2006.

  5. See also http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/kushan-dynasty-i-history

  6. Image source: http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/khalchayan. Encyclopedia Iranica is an absolutely kickass resource which should be better known IMHO.

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©2020 by Anirudh Kanisetti. Cover images by Apoorva Lakshmi.