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from Press News, posted 02/18/2013 - 14:31

The other day a prospective NIAS author wrote of his lengthy period of fieldwork in a Thai village, recounting that his host family wryly mentioned earlier researchers who had come and gone without a trace.

Such is not the case with Oluf Schönbeck and Peter Andersen, whose book All Religions Merge in Tranquebar. Religious Coexistence and Social Cohesion in South India was recently published by NIAS Press. No doubt the fact that Tranquebar (modern Tharangambadi) in Tamil Nadu was once an old Danish colony has attracted the interest and enthusiasm of many Danes, including Oluf and Peter. But the town is also an oasis of relative social cohesion and religious coexistence in a country often noted for being otherwise. It was in part this exceptionalism of Tharangambadi that attracted the authors to undertake their study.

Also included in the book is a discussion of the town’s status as a world heritage site and the work being undertaken to restore much of the old town. One of the organisations involved in this work has been the Danish Tranquebar Association, which has especially been involved in the restoration of Fort Dansborg. As a result, members of the association of often found visiting the town.

Recently, a library was opened in connection with the Tranquebar Maritime Museum. At its inauguration, the vice-chairman of the association, Mr Poul Petersen, presented a copy of All Religions Merge in Tranquebar to the library.

The celebration was attended by a number of journalists from the local press and we understand the book was well received. The book will be more generally available in India in the near future.

Certainly, this is one study that will not come and go without a trace.


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