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Wednesday June 19, 2024
Front Row:
Alexander`s Trip To India And Kissing
Vol: 1 Num: 2    Spring 2006
Believe it or not but there is a connection between Alexander`s conquest of Asia Minor and the prevalence of kissing in the west.

Texas A&M anthropology professor Vaughn Bryant Jr. created a flutter in South Asian blogosphere when NY Times quoted him that kissing originated about 1500 B.C. in India.

This may come as news to the puritanical Hindu right wingers who have been strong arming to banish the public display of love and kissing but perhaps not a surprise for the land of Kama Sutra.

For a Valentine’s Day story, KBTX TV of Bryan, Texas, tried "to get to the bottom of the question what is the history behind a kiss?" Who better to ask than Prof. Bryant, who has spent 35 years trying to answer the question whether kissing is universal or not.

Dr. Bryant is the Director of the Texas A&M Palynology Laboratory and the Paleoethnobotany Laboratory. His interests include palynology –the study of pollen grains– and paleoethnobotany -the study of how past cultures used plants.

This is not the only long journey to satisfy a curiosity for Prof. Bryant, who moved to Texas A&M from Washington State University in 2003. At WSU, in 1970s he was involved with Prof. Grover Krantz’s investigation of Bigfoot, initially to debunk it, as he said in a 2003 interview. He also said that after ten years he withdrew from it because he didn’t want to get a reputation as a lunatic.

Back to the Act of Kissing. What Prof. Bryant found is that the act of kissing is cultural. He cites early Vedic scriptures mentioning people sniffing with their mouths, which later evolved into lovers setting mouth to mouth.

His theory is that the western invasion of kiss was brought on by the returning Greek armies of Alexander following their incursion in to Punjab.

So perhaps some good was done by Alexander’s conquest through Asia Minor and Punjab.

is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Mood Indico magazine, a niche publication for the affluent South Asians living in the north America


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