Saturday September 1, 2012
Asia on road of rediscovery
By ANDREA FILMER
GEORGE TOWN: After decades of individual nation building, Asian countries are now on the threshold of rediscovering their role as a united continent, a Harvard University scholar predicts.
Dr Sugata Bose, who is the university's Gardiner Professor of History, said Asian countries had forged deep connections with one another before World War II.
“My own view is that for about four decades after the end of the Second World War and the beginning of independence (struggles) in Asia, we closed down the older connections'.
“We became inward-looking, which is understandable because each country had to solve its own problems. But, after the end of the Cold War (in the early 1990s), we are now creatively crossing the borders of our own nation states to rediscover old bonds in new ways,” Dr Bose said.
Speaking after conducting a Penang Story lecture at Wawasan Open University (WOU) entitled “Building Bridges Across The Bay of Bengal: Tagore and His Contemporaries”, he said people were now looking at the ideas of visionary thinkers of the past like poet and Nobel Prize in Literature recipient Rabindranath Tagore.
“As Tagore put it, each country in Asia will solve its own problems according to its strength, nature and need. However, they must also collectively contribute to the good of universal humanity,” he said.
Dr Bose, who hails from India, said South-East Asia would be an important centre in the re-establishing of close contact between Asian countries.
“South-East Asia is going to be important because it is the region through which the connections between places like India and China can be forged, aside from being important in its own right,” he said.
The Penang Story lecture was organised by Think City and the Penang Heritage Trust with the support of the Indian High Commission and WOU.