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 travelled to China on the historic “silk route”. KashyapaMatanga 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, BajrangiBhaijan, Hindi Medium, Toilet – EkPrem 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. This year marking the full membership of India at SCO, a Yoga event was organized at the SCO Headquarters in Beijing.
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.
Indian Council for Cultural Relations and China Federation for Literary and Art Circles signed an MoU on Cultural Exchanges in August, 2016. Under this MoU ‘Colors of India Festival’ was organized in Beijing and Nanjing from 15-26 May, 2017. As part of the celebrations, a photo exhibition, a Bollywood film festival, and a gala performance were organized. Similarly, “China Today Art Week” was organized in India in February 2018.
Other Activities of Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre, Embassy of India, Beijing
To promote Indian art and culture, the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centreof 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. This year more than 1000 Chinese nationals participated. Events included: First International Day of Yoga event at SCO Headquarters, Yoga event at Longfu Temple, a Buddhist Temple in nearby province of Hebei, Main Yoga event at India House, Special Yoga Workshops at Embassy as well as at local Yoga institutes. Our Yoga teacher is closely involved in conducting these events. From time to time thematic yoga workshops are organized by the Culture Centre.
During the Visit of External Affairs Minister SmtSushma 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) Prof. N.C. Lohani, Hindi Chair at Shanghai International Studies University, b) Ms. Kiran Walia, Hindi Teacher at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, c) Dr. Geeta Sharma, Hindi Chair at Shenzhen University, d) Prof. SanojRanjan, 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.
The Centre also organizes various events from time to time. An evening music and dance performances held at the Cultural Centre to welcome the festival of Holi. Music performance by Pt. RajanSajanMisrawas held at National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Beijing in March 2018. An Award presentation ceremony at the Culture Centre for Ms Vivian Qu, Winner of Best Director Award at the 48th International Film Festival of India was organised on 31 March 2018. An Indian film festival was organized at Langfang, Hebei in February 2018, in collaboration with CPAFFC and Hebei FAO. A Piano Concert by Mr. Nikhil Sardanawas held at the SCO Headquarters in Beijing in May 2018.This year ‘Indian Culture Day’ events were organized in two Chinese Universities in Beijing, namely: Jiaotong University and Renmin University.