Although political and cultural developments in India have strongly influenced those in Ceylon for many centuries, the effects were often contradictory and ironic. The land that sent the Buddhist religion to Ceylon also sent invaders to plunder its Buddhist monuments; and the Indian mercenaries recruited by the kings of Ceylon to strengthen the royal army were such a turbulent element that they themselves frequently posed the greatest threat to the stability of the realm. India's cultural contributions to Ceylon are well known, and have been examined in detail by Indian, Ceylonese, and Western scholars. The purpose of this paper is to examine the more abrasive side of the Indian–Ceylonese relationship during the eleventh century, when the imperial Chola kings of southern India sent invading armies into Ceylon, bent upon occupation and plunder. A more general aim of this analysis is to suggest thatorganized plundering activity was a more important politico-economic instrument in the traditional Indian state than most historians have hitherto acknowledged.

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