KERALA

Hungarian academic in State to write book on Late Antiquity

MARTIAL ARTS AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES: Istvan Perczel with his family in Thrissur on Tuesday. An expert in Medieval Studies, Prof. Perczel is in Kerala to write a book and learn kalaripayattu. Photo: K.K. Najeeb

MARTIAL ARTS AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES: Istvan Perczel with his family in Thrissur on Tuesday. An expert in Medieval Studies, Prof. Perczel is in Kerala to write a book and learn kalaripayattu. Photo: K.K. Najeeb  

He recommends Kerala martial art kalaripayattu for a good body, mind

K. Santhosh

THRISSUR: Istvan Perczel, an associate professor with the Central European University in Budapest, is in Kerala to write a book on Late Antique philosophy.

Prof. Perczel, who is on sabbatical, stays in Thrissur with his wife Kinga and children Julia, Janos, Jakab and Lena and hopes to finish the book this year.

Late Antiquity is a term used by historians to describe the period between high Classical Antiquity and the Middle Ages in Europe and the Mediterranean world. The period saw the decline of the western Roman Empire, and the resurgence of the West under Charlemagne, the Middle East under Mohammed and Eastern Europe under the Byzantine Empire.

Late Antiquity was once considered a period of decline, but is now seen as a creative period of transition between ancient and medieval worlds.

``I have access to some encrypted documents. The book I am writing focusses on the Mediterranean world. But I am planning a second one on how Christianity survived in the eastern world."

Research on Late Antiquity includes study of the formation and evolution of the Abrahamic religions, post-Diaspora Judaism, and Islam.

``From the 16th century onwards, the Hungarian land marked the border between Christianity and Islam,'' he says.

Prof. Perczel also learns kalaripayattu from Thrissur-based martial arts expert Belraj Soni.

``I've always been a martial arts enthusiast. As a teenager, I had learnt judo. But I haven't liked the way judo is practised in Hungary, stripped of its spiritual moorings. And when the opportunity came to learn the mother of all eastern martial arts, kalaripayattu, I grabbed it. Kalari is much more than a martial art or physical exercise. It teaches you to tame your passions, be confident and discover your self,'' Prof. Perczel says.

His children too take kalari lessons. ``A child can have a good body and mind by learning kalari,'' Prof. Perczel says.

Janos, Jakab and Lena are students of the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan school here.

``I've picked up a few Malayalam words and found good friends,'' says Janos.

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