Bilateral Brief on India-China Cultural Relations
India-China cultural exchanges date back to many centuries and there is some evidence that conceptual and linguistic exchanges existed in 1500-1000 B.C. between the Shang-Zhou civilization and the ancient Vedic civilization. During first, second and third centuries A.D. several Buddhist pilgrims and scholars traveled to China on the historic “silk route”. Kashyapa Matanga and Dharmaratna made the White Horse monastery at Luoyang their abode. Ancient Indian monk-scholars such as Kumarajiva, Bodhidharma and Dharmakshema contributed to the spread of Buddhism in China. Similarly, Chinese pilgrims also undertook journeys to India, the most famous among them being Fa Xian and Xuan Zang.
As a mark of the historical civilizational contact between India and China, India constructed a Buddhist temple in Luoyang, Henan Province, inside the White Horse Temple complex which was said to have been built in honour of the Indian monks KashyapaMatanga and Dharmaratna. The temple was inaugurated in May 2010 by President PratibhaPatil during her visit to China. Besides this, in February 2007, the Xuanzang memorial was inaugurated at Nalanda. In June 2008, joint stamps were released, one stamp depicting the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya and the other depicting the White Horse temple at Luoyang. In order to further academic exchanges, a Centre for Indian studies was set up in Peking University in 2003. Chairs of Indian Studies/Hindi have also been established in Shenzhen University, Jinan University, Fudan University, Guangdong University and in Shanghai International Studies University.
Indian Bollywood movies were popular in China in the 1960s and 1970s and the popularity is being rekindled in recent times again. India and China have entered into an agreement on co-production of movies, the first of which based on the life of the monk Xuan Zang hit the theaters in 2016. Recently many Bollywood movies like Dangal, Secret Superstar, Bajrangi Bhaijan, Hindi Medium, Toilet – Ek Prem Katha have become super hit with the Chinese audience
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular in China. China was one of the co-sponsors to the UN resolution designating June 21 as the International Day of Yoga. During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China in May 2015, a Yoga-Taichi performance in the world heritage site of Temple of Heaven was witnessed by Premier Li Keqiang and the Prime Minister. During the same visit, an agreement was signed to establish a Yoga College in Kunming, Yunnan Province. Since then it has been celebrated on grand scale every year with enthusiastic participation be the Chinese people. In June 2017, a successful Yoga@Great Wall event was organized at the Juyongguan section of the Great Wall. Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. (Dr) VK Singh (Retd) attended the event. Yoga Day celebration has touched multiple major cities of China such as Wuhan, Qingdao, Guilin, Luoyang etc.
The 2nd International Conference of Indologists-2016 was successfully held at Shenzhen from 11-13 November 2016. The Conference saw participation of more than 75 Indologists from world over including China, Germany, Thailand, Chile and India. An exhibition of Gupta Art, titled "Across the Silk Road: Gupta Sculptures and their Chinese Counterparts, 400-700 CE" featuring 56 sculptures gathered from 09 museums in India was held in different cities of China in 2016-17.
Other Activities of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Embassy of India, Beijing
To promote Indian art and culture, the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre of Embassy of India, Beijing runs Music, Dance and Yoga classes and regularly organizes a variety of cultural activities.
Music, Dance and Yoga classes are held at the Cultural Centre five days a week. Experienced teachers appointed by ICCR conduct these classes. Many students who had learned music or dance at the Cultural Centre participate in cultural events organised by the Centre.
Culture Centre takes the lead role in promoting Yoga. Over the years, a large number of Chinese Yoga lovers have participated in our Yoga events to mark the International Day of Yoga.
During the Visit of External Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj to China in April 2018, a major Hindi Conference was organized in Beijing. The Conference was well attended by teachers and students from different Universities of China where Hindi language is taught. Culture Centre also organizes Hindi Pakhwada event every year to promote study of Hindi language. Various activities like Essay writing, Poetry recitation, Speech competition are held to engage the Chinese youth in knowing the Hindi language. Presently, the ICCR is administering following Chairs in China: a) Hindi Chair at Shanghai International Studies University, b) Hindi Teacher at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, c) Hindi Chair at Shenzhen University, d) ICCR Chair of Indian Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Every Wednesday of the last week of a month, the Culture Centre organizes screening of an Indian movie. In recent years, the Chinese audience has hugely appreciated Indian movies. The Movie of the Month programme has been successful in bringing together movie enthusiasts among Chinese public to appreciate different genres of Indian cinema.
While COVID-19 pandemic affected the regular activities of the Cultural Centre, SVCC also utilized tides of the time and organized online Concerts of Indian classical dance, musical instrument etc., Yoga demos and classes began on online platform. In the later half of 2020, SVCC has restarted in-person Yoga and Hindi classes.
Last Updated: 29 Dec 2020