About the Book:
Though large numbers of tourists and pilgrims visit the Buddhist
sites in India and the ancient cities in Sri Lanka today, few are aware that,
before the arrival of the British, the locations of the Indian sites were mostly
unknown. The Sri Lankan historical cities had been abandoned and overrun by
jungle. The story of how, firstly, amateur British Orientalists and then the
colonial authorities rediscovered and restored these sites is a remarkable one
and is the subject of this book.
The first part considers the legacy of the British for Buddhism
in India. It describes the achievements of the Archaeological Survey of India
during the directorships of Sir Alexander Cunningham and Sir John Marshall.
It then considers the rediscovery and restoration of the important Buddhist
The third part considers the British legacy in Sri Lanka. It
describes how after an initial difficult period, Buddhism revived. It details
the restoration of the ancient sites, in particular the work of the Archaeological
Survey of Ceylon under the leadership of H C P Bell. The next section discusses
the British contributions to the study of Pali texts.
About the Author:
The author was born in Sri Lanka and lives in the UK. He is by profession a
scientist with a first degree and doctorate from Cambridge University. His professional
publications have been in the fields of energy and the environment. He has had
an abiding interest in colonial India and Sri Lanka. He published Selected Writings
W A de Silva in 2009. An article by him and many letters have been published
in the national press in the UK and Sri Lanka. He maintains a website www.forgotten-raj.org.