Address by Prof. I. N. Choudhari, Academic Director of IGNCA, at the Opening Ceremony of photographic exhibition 'Rediscover China'
(By Chinese Embassy in India)
2005/05/10

H.E. Mr. Rajasekharan, Minister of State for Planning,

H.E. Mr. Zheng Qingdian, Charge d'Affaire of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China,

Mr.Yang Linhai, Culture Counsellor,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

  We, in IGNCA, are happy to associate ourselves with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in mounting the exhibition on "Rediscover China". The rediscovery is not only of the scenic beauty of China, its landscape, the wide land, lofty mountains, vast ocean and windy rivers but also of its cultural environment, the great wall, the forbidden city of Beijing, the Mausoleums of Emperor Qin, the Suzhou Gardens and many other things which give a distinctive uniqueness to China's great heritage. This exhibition also shows the remarkable blend of its ancient traditions and modern culture, technology and science.

 

  It is good that this exhibition "rediscover China" is being held in the capital of India which has a long intercourse with China for more than 2000 years. During these long centuries of contact, these two civilizations contributed to each other's fund of goodwill and knowledge in various fields. Cultural interaction between these great countries form a fascinating study. From a holistic perspective, we see the interface of India and China, and the visible and invisible linkages that have conditioned the growth of both the civilizations. One important linkage was the birth of Buddhism in India which created a very favorable environment for the India-China interface.

 

  Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in his essay on "India and China" in 1940 that there were "thousands of golden links" binding the two countries. He must have counted hundreds of the Indian ideas that were carried to China by Buddhism as hundreds of such links and vice versa.

   

  Ravindranath Tagore, the Indian Cultural Ambassador to China in modern history has left behind a profound observation about the aspect of India-China Interface:
 

  "The most memorable fact of human history is that of a path-opening, not for the clearance of a passage for machines or machine guns, but for helping the realization by races of their affinity of minds, their mutual obligation of a common humanity. Such a rare event did happen and the path was built between our people and the Chinese in an age when physical obstruction needed heroic personality to overcome it. The two leading races of that age met, not as rivals on the battlefield each claiming the right to be the sole tyrant on earth but as noble friends enriching each other with the exchange of gifts of culture. "

 

  Tagore's poetic words are a befitting compliment for the cultural interflow between India and China in historical time. The recent visits of the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also reiterated the noble ideas of Tagore who built the Cheena Bhavan in Santinikitan for the study of Chinese language and literature.

 

  I strongly feel if the 19th century has been described as the century of Europe, and the 20th as the century of America, it is possible that the 21st century can rightly be described as the century of Asia, in which China and India will inevitably be major players. A creative interaction between the Indic and Sinic civilization will be a major factor in this process.

 

  I sincerely wish that there are many more such events in future to bring both the countries and there culture come close to each other leading us to civilizational interface as well.
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