There is lot fuzz about the discovery of a slab of granite embedded into basaltic rocks of the oceanic crust - granite is a rock typical of continental crust including island arcs , which prompted journalists to claim the discovery of a sunken continent and no, dear journalists, granite is not formed on dry land , as plutonic rocks crystallize in the underground. However in past centuries lost continents were at least a geological possibility. In the 19th century naturalists realized that many similar animals were distributed on different continents or remote islands.
For short distances this was explainable by voluntary or involuntarily migration across the sea by "hopping" from island to island, but many distances were too great for large terrestrial animals, especially for mammals. The British lawyer and zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater noted the particular distribution of a particular group of primates - the Lemurs.
He observed that " while 30 different species of Lemurs are found in Madagascar alone, all of Africa contains some 11 or 12, while the Indian region has only 3. Sclater was not the first to promote ancient land bridges or even a sunken continent in the Indian Ocean, as the idea of oceans as drown landmasses was a plausible geological theory at the time.
Book Review: The Lost Land of Lemuria
Wood hypothesized the existence of a giant southern continent during the " secondary era " our Mesozoic. Alfred R. Wallace proposed in a sunken continent to explain the fauna found on the island of Celebes , but became later one of the most eloquent critics of the theory of sunken landmasses. Haeckel considered the earliest humans descending from Asian primates and placed the cradle of humanity in Asia, Africa and very cautiously on the hypothetical island between these two continents.
Lemuria played a major role as possible migration route of humans into Africa and Indonesia. In later editions and the English version of the book , translated by Ray Lankester in , the supposed continent is even emphasised and labelled in the map as " Paradise " and displayed as cradle of humanity.
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Note the differences in the German version without Lemuria and the English version with Lemuria, after Haeckel adopted and promoted the idea of a sunken continent in the Indian Ocean image in public domain. But it is also very possible that the hypothetical "cradle of the human race" lay further to the east in Hindostan or Further India , or further to the west in eastern Africa.
Haeckels work, as vague at is was, however spread the idea of sunken continents to a larger public, still in the British author Herbert George Wells wrote:. Probably it was somewhere about south-western Asia, or in some region now submerged beneath the Mediterranean Sea or the Indian Ocean, that, while the Neanderthal men still lived their hard lives in the bleak climate of a glaciated Europe, the ancestors, of the white men developed the rude arts of their Later Palaeolithic period. The idea of Lemuria, as lost cradle of humankind, was too intriguing for pseudoscientific and esoteric groups and authors not to be incorporated in their worldview.
In the Russian medium Elena Petrovna Blavatskaja , strongly influenced by Asian philosophy, published her book on " The secret doctrine ", in which she proposes Lemuria as the cradle of one of the seven races of humanity. These beings supposedly possessed four arms and eyes and were egg-laying hermaphrodites, sharing Lemuria with dinosaurs.
She is a cofounder of Tasveer Ghar: A Digital Network of South Asian Popular Visual Culture, loosely translated as "house of pictures," a transnational digital archive initiative that seeks to collect popular South Asian cultural images for academic and artistic study. The Tasveer Ghar initiative takes an interdisciplinary approach to its examination of South Asian visual media and the history, technique, and exhibition that accompany these images. She has also written several books and articles on linguistic, visual, and spatial histories related to India.
Professor Sumathi Ramaswamy
Her first text, Passions of the Tongue: Language Devotion in Tamil India, , published by the University of California Press in , draws upon her doctoral research on the subject of the interconnectedness between language and identity in colonial Tamil society. She explores the complex network of praise, passion, and practice centered around the gendered adoration of goddess, queen, maiden, and most importantly, mother in the Tamil language. According to Ramaswamy, the maternal figure, or Tamil Tay, is central to this network of devotion and involves a complicated relationship between follower and deity in which one is both protector and supplicant of the "mother" archetype.
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Eichinger Ferro-Luzzi, in a review for Asian Folklore Studies, acknowledged, "Ramaswamy points out the great sacrifices devotees made for their language and the partial success their labor obtained, such as eliminating Hindi from the list of compulsory subjects in Tamil government schools and increasing the use of pure Tamil words in place of Sanskrit derivatives. Vying cultural and political forces, to which Tamil culture reacts, is also part of this narrative, and Historian contributor James Heitzman noted, "The author carefully traces the origins of all these approaches within the context of colonial power and colonial forms of knowledge.
An edited collection of several scholarly essays, Beyond Appearances?
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Visual Practices and Ideologies in Modern India, a Sage Publications release, brings an interdisciplinary perspective to the historical study of Indian aesthetics. Based on a conference Ramaswamy organized in Ann Arbor , Michigan, in , this volume examines the production and circulation of mass-media images and their role in society.
Strathmore University Library catalog › Details for: The lost land of Lemuria
As in Passions of the Tongue, this work links the manifest element, in this case the visual, with the culture in which it appears and details the significance of that relationship. Beyond Appearances? Moreover, Ramaswamy's publication The Lost Land of Lemuria: Fabulous Geographies, Catastrophic Histories, "ventures boldly into the world of the "fabulous and the "incredible" to explore the world of imagination and place making with great passion, precision, erudition, analysis, and scholarly concern," according to reviewer Surojit M.
Gupta in the Historian. Although, the text departs from the study of the tangible and transitions to an examination of the mythological, Ramaswamy makes clear the significance of this place and the timelessness that surrounds it. In The Lost Land of Lemuria, "Lemuria, which figured so prominently in the Tamil and colonial imagination, occupies a crucial place in even contemporary constructions of tradition, history, and literary canon in the southern Indian state," commented Pramod K. Nayar in an essay for the Canadian Journal of History.
Nayar further stated, "A mythic place that becomes effectively realized through polemics and erudite tracts, Lemuria, Ramaswamy demonstrates, is integral to the process of Tamil modernity. Asian Folklore Studies, June 1, , G.