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Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology



Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology & the Ancient World
Brown University
Box 1837 / 60 George Street
Providence, RI 02912
Telephone: (401) 863-3188
Fax: (401) 863-9423
[email protected]

Bomma believed name of the Ben Yiju's slave (slave of MS H.6) in Amitav Ghosh's, In an Antique Land. The author's apparently avid interest in such a minor contributor to the Geniza documents stems from the parallels that Ghosh draws between himself and the slave (both are Indian foreigners in Muslim Egypt). This comparison highlights one of the central points of the novel: what does it mean to call something antique and what is progress?

Another interesting element is the way in which Ghosh goes about discovering the roots of the slave's name: how he get's from BMA to Bomma. To do so, Ghosh must dig through the roots of Tulu culture and history. While doing so, the author acknowledges to the reader that he thought that the name Bomma related to the name of the Vedic Brahma and knew nothing of Tulu deity Berme (later called Brahma). This mistake alerts us yet again to the author's many preconceived notions that he must question and modify on his journey through the "antique land."