Dr. Nadeera Rajapakse talks on Travelling through Silk Roads at the BIDTI

Delivering a special guest lecture on ‘Travelling through Silk Roads: Cultural Pluralism and Porous Boarders’ at the BIDTI on 28th July, 2023, Assistant Professor of the University of Paris, Pantheon – Sorbonne Dr. Nadeera Rajapakse gave a detail description of journeys made by the famous traveller Ibn Battuta.

Dr. Rajapakse explained how Ibn Battuta , a Judge  and a native of Tangier in Morocco had been received at various realms from the West to the East during his journeys as well as techniques he used to convince rulers to permit him to travel through areas under their jurisdiction.

She revealed the significance of the records of Battuta’s accounts which focused more on the people than on the places he visited and explained the great insights into the cultural practices along the way. She explained that those records show a greater cultural harmony than most mainstream history lessons have shown.

Dr. Rajapakse explained that the narrative of Battuta relevant to the Holy Kaaba where paintings of three angles existed.  Further, the practice of the Mongolian court as well as existence of Christianity in the East. Referring to the Gandhara civilization she said that it was a mix of Greek culture and Buddhist thinking.

During the presentation, she described that the Silk Road provides proof that culture transcends borders and that borders themselves have been mostly porous and blurred. She pointed out that by looking at historical narrative of travel along the Silk roads, people get a sense of the ease or the difficulty of travel, the welcome or rejections travelers face, the way travelers and their cultures are integrated, assimilated in new places.

The talk given by Dr. Nadeera Rajapakse was under the Special Guest Lecture series conducted by the BIDTI.   It was attended by distinguished persons including former Foreign Secretaries, Ambassadors, Academics and former participants of the programmes of the Institute.