The Influence of Indian on Khmer Culture


The arrival of ethnic Chinese in the Indo-China penisula is a new issue. However, Khmer nationals were born on their own indigenous land, which is different from the immigrants.

recorded the limits of indian cultural influence : the physiology of Khmer farmers does not differ from that of the Phnong or Samre populations. The Phnong as well as the Moi in Anam are tribal people. They solve problems with traditional approaches- verbalizing or memorizing. Religiously, they just hold a rough animistic belief that varies from tribe to tribe. Cosmology (philosophy of the world) cannot be recorded in written language.Whereas some Khmer nationals who are uncivilized, are framed by a firm infrastructure. Khmer has its court for trial by law and in writing. The Khmer practice a religion that has theories, scriptures, and canons of rules and priciles in Sacred language (Pali) and members of monk comittees provide people with concepts about this world and the next as well as proper concepts followed by half of the Asian humanity.Finally,the Khmer have a letter system that allows them to learn literature broadly and to be able to communicate at a distance.The Khmer have borrowed all this from India. In summary it can be said that the Khmer people are ethnic Phnongs who have accepted the influence of Indian culture. It is important for us to bear in mind that our Khmer ancestors directly absorbed the Indian cultural heritage through trading and exchange of ideas. However, the most important is that to be able to absorb Indian culture, Khmer society needed to be in the position of being realistic, solid, and self supporting.On the other hand, the Khmer people are practically competent and highly responsible. Moreover, The Indian culture widespread to all the Khmer was also in harmony or complementary with the needs and ideas of the latter.Now, we would like to bring forward some issues, to retrace the past and to set a base for an exchange of opinions ,as we have already done in 2005 in a book called “The creation of the Khmer state.” Basing us on the progress of culture, in the late bronze and iron ages which were times of technical and artistic improvements, we can say that before the permanent influence of Indian culture from 1st-century to 7th-century that brought about Brahmanism and Buddhism as well as management approaches of Khmer-Mon or indigenous Khmer communities which had already reached a high level of development. Among notorious and remarkable achievements of the prehistoric era we can note technical constructions above ground - thatched houses and rounded villages-, agriculture, animal domestication, art (sculptures, rock painting), industry, and metallurgy .We must indeed insist on this point. Again, Khmer researchers or historians whenever dealing with the subject of Indianization keep avoid mentioning the culture of the previous ages and fail to evoke the main landmarks which form the basis of the Khmer culture; in reality they are also confronted to a desperate lack of data concerning prehistory. The knowledge of the roots of Indian culture is essential for us to apprehend how the Khmer ancestors absorbed the flow of Indian culture easily and without opposition.The influences of India spread easily and widely becoming a constructive force with similarities with Khmer religious doctrine and conceptions. Basing on evidences- the end of the metal age- from prehistoric sites in the South-East Asia, before the foundation of Kingdom of mountain and of Mon, saw presences of crowded centers which are economic, political, and religious hubs as Khmer saying that the urban particularly sprawling in low land- along the Mekong River, Chao Praya river- and Korat high lands and between Sre Mul river (Siam calls Semoun) and Chi river (Siam calls chi).It is informed that before Indianization those central areas: off Phnom Penh (Choueng Ek pagoda), Somrong Sen, Angkor Borei , Ban Chiang, Ban Na Di, U Thong (Thailand), Vat-Phu(Laos), O-Keo (Kampuchea Krom), and other places that are positive results of the formation of states governed by main tribal chiefs. In the political context, we can raise an example of history of Kok Thlok Island led by Lieu-Yi, which is a Khmer mythology showing their early leadership style. Here, we want to stress that Khmer monarchy is a result of religion and economy of Khmer-Mon society from community into a country or Kingdom of Cambodia. From a tribal chief who is a commander to become the king or monarch and animistic beliefs such as megalithic cult (stone adoration) or mountains, Khmer people practiced Siva doctrine that hold similar beliefs without any obstacles. It is a real situation.Just a rather short period of time, around two to three centuries Indian infrastructure turned urban areas or towns into kingdoms or small states all most every corners of the Funan Empire. From stage to stage, unification of Khmer nationals was made as Chinese indirect record.What described is that the period of time continued until late 6th-century and early 7th-century ruled by many talent warlords before crackdown on rebellions/ protest against centralization as far as formation of Cambodia with mixtures of Chenla of water and land.In conclusion, similarities in religious ideology and in cultures between Khmer and India are attractions that Khmer rapidly took advantages of India to construct the first cultural buildings and materials.Repeatedly, the flourishes of Khmer culture in late Metal age are indications of considerable emerge of rounded towns or oval shaped towns in our Indochina peninsular. When look down from airplane, we can see basis of Khmer cities, in which Indian culture and infrastructure actively and rapidly took root. That caused changes from oval form into square form of India in historical era.Archeological analysis is vital because it suggested positive signs of Indian concessions in constructions of symbiotically cultural base of Khmer people. However, they must not neglect existing economy and religion institutes.The presence of numerous downtowns during Metal age presents agriculture and business. These are testimonies of globalization of Khmer culture.In reality, all tribes did not turn themselves into states. For example, nowadays there are still such groups of communities as Kouy, Samre, Stieng, Phnong living in provinces of Cambodia and, in similarity, Vietnam, Thailand, and Lao, did not practice Indianized infrastructure by preserving original form of Mon-Khmer culture of Khmer ancestors. It is reminded that according to, French colony of 1863 on Cambodia, French observers there are some tribes who become devoted Buddhists and they even were found not only have got pagodas in districts and villages but also ordaining their children. Moreover, they are not far different between Khmer and minor tribes or between Khmer and Phnong dwellings.It is to inform that Khmerization still continues to the present. Concerning to litterature and belles-lettres please bear in mind that Indian nationals provided Khmer people with mythologies: Mahabharata and Ramayana epics as well as religious books of Buddha (Kompi tripitaka), which are never-evaporated sources. On the other hand, Khmer culture had linked closly to Indian religion since those local cultural centers were mixed together into a state or country with the rallies of all small communities. These caused reforms of ancient societies of tribes of ethnic Mon-Khmer into an entire family which is comprised of small and big countries or states.In early stage of constructions of the symbiotically cultural base, Khmer culture is in the position of reality which stemmed from monarchic leadership in Indian style. This is the most important mechanism that brings about Indian infrastructure for ancient Khmer communities to become the first Khmer state: Funan Empire is a vassal.By the way, if there were no Indian infrastructure, the Funan Empire would have not been able to be formed and it even would not possible for the Khmer to develop their nation in a period of promising time. Cambodia and the glorious history of Khmer race began at the stage of Indianization which monarchism is a firm foundation to unify a nation as a whole. It is true that we must basically emphasize on influence of Indian infrastructure but we also pay attention on cultural constructions of original Khmer and that Khmer culture arose from symbiotic factors between components of early Mon-Khmer and India.In France, we also can see the same situation because the former was initially called La Gaule that absorbed political infrastructure from the Roman since early 1st-century. While Champa Empire, formed in 193 B.C after Funan Empire, followed suit.