Asian studies in Lithuania

From Baltics to Bengal: In the Shade of India’s Palms

Authors: Poška, Antanas
Composers: Degutis, Albinas, Ilgūnienė, Birutė, Kubilius, Augustas
Volume count: (Lietuvių) 6
Catalog: (Lietuvių) Nuo Baltijos iki Bengalijos, (Lietuvių) 5
Published in: Klaipėda
Published on: 2009
Publisher: Vilko takas

In this second to last book from Antanas Poška in the series “From the Baltic to the Bengal”, we can get to know India and its culture as it was back then , that’s exactly why this part is called “In the shade of India’s palms”.

In the book A. Poška writes down various memories from his trips to India. The plot starts once the author, after half a year of being ill, comes to Bombay. At the time it was colonized by the British. The writer, who knew the Esperanto language makes way in the country by helping the local esperantish, whom help him settle in. Here Antanas Poška meets with influential professors and linguists. The author, who had come here to study anthropology, finds himself unexpectedly working as a lecturer and researcher. The author feather the local university lecturers in the Lithuanian language and with them researches the similarities between Sanskrit and the Baltic languages. After a short while A. Poška visit the university of Benares and is invited to join a scientific expedition to the Taklamakan desert. The author intensely studies Sanskrit and rather quickly begins to translate them from the aforementioned into Lithuanian.

The book contains many graphic descriptions and epitaphs. Every small detail from the buildings to the monkeys in his room, from Indian village teachers to the monsoon storms are described very precisely. Often times you can find yourself reading the authors outlook and opinion towards the situations presented with a small hint of irony.

It is fun not only to read, but also see, that is exactly why this book is so fascinating to read. In his book A. Poška shares pictures from his personal archives. The book itself has an interesting format due to the fact that every experience is written down genuinely by the author, he introduces his reader with Indian customs, what they eat, how they live under different weather circumstances and how the author adjusts to them. The book even delves into culture and the Indian deities. It is a book that can be taken as a history book about India through the eyes of a Lithuanian.

Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU