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Monday, September 5, 2016

Shri Narendra Modiji in Hangzhou; presented with Chinese translations of ancient Indian texts

Hangzhou, is in news. It is the capital and most populous city of Zhejiang Province in east China.  It is the place where Asian games are to be conducted in 2022, third Chinese city to host Asian Games after Beijing 1990 and Guangzhou 2010. It is the place where the eleventh G-20 summit 2016 is held. 

The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, has wrapped up country’s first G20 summit by urging the thousands of foreign journalists who flocked to east China for the event to carve out a special place in their hearts for the host city. Guardian reports that in recent days, foreign journalists have been astonished and bewildered at how China’s authoritarian rulers have managed to transform a usually bustling metropolis of 6 million inhabitants into a virtual ghost town to guarantee a trouble-free summit.  More than a third of Hangzhou’s population were reportedly “convinced” to leave town as part of what Chinese state media called a massive exodus that saw cars forced off the roads and a seven-day public holiday declared. Thousands of residents were ordered to vacate the towering apartment blocks that surround the conference centre where world leaders had gathered, to prevent an assault from above. Dissidents were placed under house arrest or forced to leave the city by security agents.

Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modiji on Sunday stressed to China’s President Xi Jinping that it was of “paramount importance” for bilateral relations that Beijing respected India’s concerns on key strategic issues. Officials said these include Chinese investment in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and India’s entry to the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group. The PM raised the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor issue during his bilateral meeting with Xi, his first meeting in Hangzhou, which was held before the G20 Summit opened on Sunday afternoon.

Modiji  also stressed the need to address the root causes of terrorism emanating from the neighbourhood, leaving little doubt that his message was aimed at getting China to pressure Pakistan, rather than preventing international action on its “all-weather friend” as it has recently done by placing holds on UNSC sanctions on terrorists such as Masood Azhar. The PM also made what officials described as “a strong intervention” on terrorism during the informal BRICS leaders' summit that followed his bilateral talks with Xi. “Terrorists in South Asia or anywhere for that matter do not own banks or weapons factories,” he said.  His meeting with Xi was seen by both sides as an opportunity to set ties on track. While officials said specific issues were not discussed in detail, the idea was to convey a clear message on the way forward for ties, and for more sensitivity to each other’s core concerns.

During his visit Modiji was presented with a collection of Chinese translations of ancient Indian texts and yoga sutras to mark his visit on Sunday. The presentation of the books by Hangzhou scholar Wang Zhicheng comes at a unique time for China’s Indologists. Just before Modiji landed in China, Huang Baosheng, China’s most renowned Sanskrit professor and Indologist, was completing a lifetime’s endeavour. It took Huang 10 years to finish China’s first complete Sanskrit textbooks.

The 11 volumes are a full guide for aspiring Sanskrit scholars that will be introduced in universities and schools. These range from a primary Sanskrit reader, the last book that was finished recently, to literature readers and translated Buddhist sutras that are important to Chinese. For Chinese scholars, this is potentially a transformative development as for the first time it provides them with a complete set of guides to study the language, which will be circulated in Chinese universities.

Peking University has taught Sanskrit for decades, and there are still around 30 Chinese studying the language. But they have been facing difficulties. “Why I have compiled these books? We have so many people in China studying Western culture, but few studying Indian culture,” Huang told Mail Today. “Ancient Indian culture has been so important to China and Sanskrit is a key language to have a deep understanding of this great culture, so this is my effort to help the new generation in China learn this language and culture.” Many young Chinese interested in India or Buddhism are taking to the language, says Sanskrit researcher Huang Yiting at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Huang Baosheng, China’s most renowned Sanskrit professor, has completed the country’s first full Sanskrit textbook, which run to 11 volumes.  “I majored in Indian English literature, but to learn Indian literature you need to understand ancient culture of India which drew me to learning Sanskrit,” she said.  “But the problem is many can’t go to India to study as Indian universities are not interested in hosting Chinese scholars on short-term courses and visas do not come easily. Most Chinese Sanskrit students go to Germany but what they learn is also not so ideal.”   The appeal to Mr Modi by Professor Huang is that India should do more to help the next generation of Sanskrit scholars, starting with providing them visas and allowing them to come to India on fellowships.

Interesting !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
5th Sept. 2016.

Inputs mainly from MailOnline.

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