FORSTER, Edward Morgan (1879-1970). Novelist.
Good Autograph Letter Signed to [Sir Michael] Sadler, 2 pages 8vo (facing), 27 Brunswick Square, 15 June 1925. Concerning the Ajanti Caves in India, and asking Sadler's opinion about the conservation work taking place there.
Forster writes partly on behalf of a mutual friend, Hydari:
'... I have been given a book to review about the Ajanti Caves, which, though excellent in many respects, makes no mention of the conservation-work which (I believe) the Hyderabad Govt. executed at Hydari's instigation about the year 1921. The implication, indeed, is that the Hyderabad Govt., being Moslem, is indifferent to the fate of Buddhist masterpieces.Forster writes a year after the publication of A Passage to India, with the famous and mysterious scene at the 'Marabar' Caves, inspired by his visit to the caves at Barabar by train from Patna in 1913, during his first visit to India at the instigation of his Oxford-educated friend, Sayed Ross Masood. The Barabar Caves are among the oldest Buddhist monuments in existence.
Sir Michael Sadler (1861-1943), an educational pioneer, had served as president of the Calcutta University commision and been in India from October 1917 to April 1919. He was now (in 1925) Master of University College, Oxford.
The Ajanta Caves, discovered in 1819, date from about 200 BC, and were continuously occupied until about 650 AD. There are some thirty caves, comprising prayer-halls and monasteries and they are richly decorated with Buddhist imagery.
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