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ancient corn in India

Sathish, P. sathish at BIOKEMI.SU.SE
Fri Jul 18 08:12:31 EST 1997


For some reason my earlier post to this group on this topic did not get
posted and so I am posting this again.  About 13 years ago, I happened
to attend classes taught by Dr. Sarkar and Dr. Sachan.  They both are
very meticulous researchers and probably the best in India when it comes
to maize genetics and cytogenetics.  If Dr. Sachan is a critic of Dr.
Johannessen, then maybe there is some reason behind it.

I hail from S. India, where the temples are located.  My ancestors are
from Udupi, about 400 km west to Somnathpur and were involved in some of
the temple duties of Udupi and adjoining area.  To my knowledge they
have not associated any religious value to maize, unlike some other
grains and fruits.  Temple traditions in India are still maintained to
most extent as it were a few centuries ago.  So, how come a grain crop
that is accorded a place of prominence in one area at one time has all
of a sudden lost its position?  An understanding of the local culture,
traditions and rituals are probably needed before interpreting
sculptures.  Besides, Somnathpur is atleast 2000 km away from the
secondary centre of origin of maize.  Why is there no record in regions
inbetween, i.e between the described secondary centre of origin and
Somnathpur, about the daily use of maize?  Are there any wild maize
plants found in Somnathpur these days?  I agree with Dr. Pelmont that
one should not jump into conclusions, but analyze the alternatives as

I have some suggestions, which  have no scientific reasoning.  Popped
rice balls is an important religious item in Udupi.  Maybe the statues
are holding one of this.  Or could it be the fruit refered to as
"Dheeghujay" (a fruit that resembles Jackfuit but is much smaller -
sorry I do not know the botanical nomenclature) in the local language? 
Maybe others will have different opinions worth considering as well.

Sincerely yours,
P. Sathish Ph. D.
Post-Doctoral Researcher,
Department of Biochemistry,
Arrhenius Laboratories for Natural Sciences,
Stockholm University,
S 106 91 Stockholm,

Phone: +46 8 16 2464
Fax: +46 8 15 3679
E-mail: sathish at biokemi.su.se

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