ABSTRACT

Gradually during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Britain consolidated its grip on India, from the Himalayas to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). South-east Asia, comprising such countries as Burma, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand, as well as predominantly Muslim Malaya and Indonesia, were also taken over by European powers. Of the Buddhist countries – namely the first five of the above, Burma was conquered by the British, Thailand retained its independence, and the rest became French. It is the predominantly Hindu and Buddhist countries which we shall be considering in this chapter. I shall begin with India itself (and here I use the term to cover the region which later evolved into the Republic of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), and from there move on to the Buddhist cultural milieu.