14 April 2013

Cambodia and its centuries old ties

Today is celebrated as New Year's day by Hindu people in Tamilnadu, Kerala and some other states in India. The day also marks the beginning of New Year festivities in Cambodia and a few other South East Asian countries.

People in Cambodia celebrate this time every year as the beginning of their New Year with three days' festivities (from 14 to 16 April). Though over crowded, the city takes on a very festive look at this time as tens of thousands of people from all over the country (and abroad) converge in Phnom Penh, the capital city, to celebrate the occasion. Their festivities include classical dances, boat races and many more interesting events.

According to historical evidences, Cambodian classical traditions have their origin in India. One such evidence is the famous Angkor Wat. (It was interesting to watch a program on this UNESCO World Heritage Site on Sankara TV recently).

Simultaneous observance of new year's day in communities in India and those in S E Asia is believed to be due to centuries old ties between India and these countries, according to reports such as this one.

Besides, it is interesting to know that Khmer language has numerous words of Sanskrit and Tamil origin (for example `Kaaryaalay' for `Office', `Mun' for `before' and so on). There are several words of Indian origin in languages used in many other countries in South East Asia. 

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About Me

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Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
I am a retired K-12 Education Management Professional. I have worked at different levels in K-12 school systems, textbook publishing, elearning and Education NGOs. I have held memberships in The Association for Science Education (UK), American Association of Physics Teachers and The Malaysian Institute of Physics. I hold a 1st class B Sc Degree in Physics followed by B Ed [English and Physical Science] and M A [Childcare and Education] degrees. My published works include 59 articles in teacher development magazines in India and the US and a book entitled `Creative Classrooms and Child Friendly Schools' (listed in Amazon). This book is almost an anecdotal account of my professional experience in six countries (including Cambodia where I worked as Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Education, Youth And Sports). I served as mentor in the Certificate of Teaching Mastery Program offered by Teachers Without Borders.