Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Ashoka

The Ashoka tree is found all over Abuja. There's a lovely long vista of them along Bill Clinton Drive on the way to the airport. They make the FCT landscape look almost Tuscan - the tropical equivalent of the cypress tree beloved of Renaissance landscapes. A friend of mine who grew up in Enugu calls them the masquerade tree - which is most apt. Its interesting to dig a little into the Indian provenance. As you can read here, the Buddha was born under an Ashoka in Lumbini in Northern India, and Lord Mahavira (the founder of Jainism) renounced the world under one. It is also a potent symbol within Hindu mythology.

I wonder when the Ashoka was first brought to Nigeria (it cannot be indigenous). I wonder also, was the neem (dogoyaro) also imported from India, or is it indigenous? The wider point is that if Indian plants grow so well in Nigeria, one could imagine a herbal medicine of the future in which African plants were grown in India and vice-versa.


the flying monkeys 10:39 pm  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the flying monkeys 10:43 pm  

are u alreet? hope u got rid of the bug completely

looking forward to ur next post

stuff on ashoka is very nice - they really look like masquerades

Nkem 7:23 am  

Bill Clinton Drive in Nigeria? What for? What has Clinton done for Nigeria to merit an Ashoka lined road named after him? Is Lewinsky Nigerian? What's the link?

Akin 11:08 am  

Hi Jeremy,

I hope you are OK, it is unusual for things to be quiet so long.


I did resist to great pain and blood making that Clinton/Lewinsky connection - however, Clinton would have been a quintessential Aristo to Lewinsky - that is the link.

Anonymous,  12:34 am  

the neem plant is indigenous to west africa too


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