REASONS FOR COLLAPSE
(a) Neither the Hindu nor the Budhist emigration was supported by any kingdom or empire in India, clearly provingthat the expansion was not colonial in nature.
(b) Since no home support was there for these kingdoms, they later easily succumbed to local influences.The Chinese influence as spear-headed by the Annamites caused the destruction of the Khmer rule. The arab capture of trade and their subsequent penetration into this region led to the spread of Islam in Indonesia and to some extent in Malaysia.
(c) The early Hindu influence succumbed to the Buddhist influence partly coming from India and partly from China.
(d) The thais coming from Yunnan maountains in China established themselves at the expense of Hindu kingdoms in Indo-China.
(e) The local influences over which Hinduism was super imposed re-asserted themselves. Somehow the Buddhist influence remained partly because of the cultural patronage of China to Buddism.
(f) The final disappeaance of Hinduism must definitely be because of Hinduism going to seed in its own home land by 1000 A.D.
CONTACTS WITH CENTRAL ASIA
The expansion of Indian culture and influence both in Central Asia and in the south-east towards the countries and islands of the pacific is one of the momentous developments in the period immediately preceeding the Christian era. Asoka's missionaries traveled for to the west but the result of their work in Antioch and Alexandria and other distant countries must remain a matter of speculation.
It is however the Kushan empire of Kanishka, Huviska and Vassudeva which became the carriers of Indian thought into Central Asia. Kanishka was the patron of Mahayana Buddhism, and his empire outside Indian became a scene of Indian missionary activity. The great Kasyapa Matanga and Dharmaratna were actually employed in missionary work in Indo-Scycthian counries when the Chinese ambassadors met them (68 A.D.) From that time there was a countinous and uninterrupted flow of Scholars, Monks and missionaries to china of whom the most famous was Kumarajuna and Vasubandhu. The Indianisation of Khotan, Kucha, and others areas in Central Asia is still evidenced by the great mass of Buddhist literatures that has been discovered there by various expeditions.
With the archaeological discoveries of Sir Aurel Stein began our knowledge of India and central Asia. Manuscripts belonging to second century A.D. were found at Khotan-written in Prakrit. Another script was found at Kucha belonging to the 4th century A.D. quotations from Charaka and Susruta. And Russian archaeologists discovered 182 frescos in Tun-Hunang known as the cave of the thousend poets.
2. Chinese Turkestan, called by sir Aurel Stein as the innermost heart of Asia and forming a vast basin was at one time a prosperous country of flourishing cities with their rich sanctuaries and monasteries. The remains in Turkestan and the finds that and monasteries. The remains in Turkestan and the finds that different sites explored or excavated by archaeologists have established beyond boubt that a large number of Indians had migrated from the Punjab and Kashmir and settled in the Tarim basin where thet when stein was exploring that region he felt as if he was in some Punjab village, although he was nearly 3,00 km. Away from the land of the five rivers.
3. There was an Indian Kingdom in Khotan. It is alleged that it was founded by son of emperor Asoka. The names of the early kings all begin with Vijeta. Buddhism was introduced in that kingdom more than a century after its establishment. Later many Buddhist monasteries were set up in the region; two famous ones, Gosrnga and Gomati Viharas, were great centers of learning. Many other Indian monks visited khotan and many Buddhist monasteries flourished there.
Both Prakrit and Sanskrit were studied in Khotan. The whole of Central Asia was a meeting place of different cultures since it contained the famous silk trade route between China and Roma. The northern route touched Kucha (Kuchi) Oarashara (ancient Agnidesa) and Turfan, while the Southern route passed through Kashgar, Yarkand, Khotan, Niya, Miran and other important centers. The two routes fimally converged at Tung-huang on the western border of China, a strong Buddhist center noted for its famous grottos. Buddhism flourished in all these regions but traces of Brahmanical religion are also found in khotan and other places.
Besides religion, Indian influence can also be traced in art and architecture. Probably some Indian artists from Khotan had migrated to China. Various remnants of frescos leave no doubt that not only the whole oconography but the technique of drawing, conventions and mannerism were derived from the Buddhist paintings in India. Stucco figures were modeled on the existing ones at Gandhara. The Indian influence is even more distinctly confirmed by the finds from khotan, Tumshuq and Schorshuq.
4. BUDDHIST missionaries went first to Central Asia. Fahien and Biuen-Tsang spoke of thousands of Buddhists living in the area. From this area, Buddhism spread to China. Kashyapa Matanga a and Dharmaratha visited the Chinese empire in the 2nd century B.C. and converted the people to Buddhism. And historical evidence shows that it was kumarjiva of the fourth century B.C. who converted the people of Kucha to Buddhism.
5. Tibet was brought under the orbit of Buddhist in the 7th Century A.D. Later, Tibetans borrowed the Kashmiri script which was later transformed into the Tibetan script of today. Later, the Tibetan Buddhists came in large numbers to India during the pala period and there was a lively exchange between Tibet and Pala kingdom. Tibetan monks studied at the monasteries of nalalnda and Vikramasila.
6. Political and cultural ties between India and central Asia continued till about the 8th century A.D. the gradual advance of Islam and the suspension of the silk trade on account of insecureties between India and the innermost heart of Asia.
7. This Indian cultural expansion into Central Asia was no attempt at political expansion. Instead the assimilation of all the foreigners who came to Indian- Greeks, Parthians, Sakas, Kusanas and Hunas-in the socio-religious structure of India was the triumph of Indian culture.
8. During the long course of history, India's attitude towards political and cultural expansion has never been imperialistic. Armies were never sent to conquer andy region. The conquest was mainly intellectual, and incidentally the superior culture triumphed over the native one. Individual men or groups set up kingdoms which in course of time shaped into empires. The contact with the motherland was maintained but India never exploited the colonies for her own benefit. The kingdoms were, however, repositories of Indian culture-replicas of the ones in India.