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‘19th century archaeologists rediscovered Buddhist past’

TNN, Jan 22, 2012

JAIPUR, India -- John Keay, an English journalist and prolific author of narrative histories on India and China, talked of how 19th century scholars and archaeologists rediscovered India's Buddhist past, thus reintegrating it into Indian history and authenticating claims of its classical civilisation.

Keay said that many Western archaeologists, including retired Generals, depended on the scholastic skills of monks and Brahmins to decipher the findings, usually acknowledged at the time.

He talked of the element of luck in 'being in the right place at the right time' and having the right people at hand to help them interpret their findings.

He talked of the important role played by the first director of Archaeological Survey of India, Alexandar Cunningham in his 25 years and the crucial rule of ASI in the excavation, classification and protection of India's extraordinary heritage, particularly the Buddhist stupas and monasteries.

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