Journal : Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Date : Author : NA Page No. : NA

A detailed report on the international seminar held in Pondicherry to commemorate the Chinese Indologist, Prof. Xu Fancheng. Prof. Xu was a philosopher and translator. He worked at Aurobindo Ashram,Pondicherry and also taught at Santiniketan, during his stay in India from 1945 to 1978.

Full translation underway. Excerpts:

In his keynote address, Ambassador Luo said that there are three famous celebrities in Indian modern history: Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, and Aurobindo. The Chinese people are familiar with the first two. Prof. Xu made the Chinese begin to systematically learn about Aurobindo by translating Arobindo’s famous works The Divine Life and Comprehensive Yoga. Prof. Xu also translated Indian philosophical classics such as The Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita. In addition, he also wrote in English, “The Essentials of Elementary School”, “The Ancient Study of Confucianism”, “Zhou Zitong” and “Paradox”, and introduced the essence of ancient Chinese scholarship to India and the world.

Second, he is a bridge between the people of China and India. Professor Xu is one of the longest-living Chinese scholars in India. He truly understood India, loved India, and spread Indian culture. Looking back at history, Xuan Zang, Fa Xian, Bodhidharma, and other well known monks …….. traveled between China and India, leaving us with a rich heritage. Modern pioneers such as Tagore, Tan Yunshan, and Xu Fancheng have been tireless in promoting Sino-Indian cultural exchanges. Now standing on the shoulders of these predecessors, we should do better than our ancestors in promoting cultural exchanges.

Third, we should also commemorate him in order to let the outside world know more about Pondicherry. This is a former French colony where Indian culture and French culture interact and complement each other. In the past, you opened your arms and welcomed and embraced many foreigners like Xu Fancheng. Today, with its economic development and cultural prosperity, the Aurobindo Retreat Room and the “Dawn Village” are world-famous.  They attract a large number of tourists and are a window to display India’s multiculturalism. Not long ago, (officials of) Dali Prefecture of China’s Yunnan Province came to India to promote tourism ….. Dali Prefecture is discussing the conclusion of a friendship city MOU with Pondicherry. Yesterday when I met the Minister of State and the Chief Minister, I discussed strengthening of cooperation between the two sides in tourism, culture, education, and trade.

Fourth, to commemorate him is to carry forward the valuable spiritual legacy of promoting China-India friendship. The people of his time did what they should do. Professor Xu was a legend throughout his life and made outstanding contributions to Sino-Indian friendship. Until later years, he was still guiding the research of Chinese graduate students on Aurobindo. Tagore visited China twice and set off an upsurge in Chinese ideological and literary circles. During World War II, Mahatma Gandhi promoted the despatch of a medical team to China. Many scholars in China today still devote themselves to studying Hindu religion, philosophy, and Sanskrit literature. As far as I know, Professor Huang Xinchuan, who is here today is the leading exponent of Chinese studies on Indian philosophy. He and Professor Huang Xiaian committed two generations of students to research in India and spread the story.

Ambassador Luo said that China-India relations are currently in a critical period of stabilizing and improving. It is hoped that academic circles of the two countries will give full play to their advantages, be active, and make greater contributions to promoting friendship between China and India.

Chief Minister Narayanasamy stated that the two giants, China and India, are both big developing countries and should work closely together to create an Asian century. Cultural exchanges play an important role in the development of bilateral relations. Professor Xu Fancheng has made important contributions to the promotion of cultural exchanges between the two countries and the promotion of friendship at the popular (non-governmental) level. We should inherit and carry forward the legacy of Xu Fancheng, promote cultural exchanges between China and India, and deepen friendship between the two countries. The Pondicherry Government is willing to deepen cooperation with Dali and other places in China.

Prof. Huang Xinchuan, a 90-year-old professor, spoke about her relationship with Xu Fancheng in his speech and considered him a worthy Ambassador of China-India cultural exchanges. Professor Huang Xiaian introduced the important contributions of Xu Fancheng in translating Indian classics and disseminating Indian philosophy, yoga, and studying Nietzsche’s philosophy.

Prasad, Secretary-General of the Indian Aurobindo Seminary, told the story of Xu Fancheng’s personal experiences with tears. He believed that culture transcends national boundaries. A part of Professor Xu’s life is forever left in India.

The seminar scene was warm and moving. Many speakers spoke of whispering apathetic language and shed tears, reflecting Xu Fancheng’s personality charm and influence transcending time and space, as well as the strong expectations for the development of human relations and comprehensive relations between India and China. Chinese and foreign media reported on the seminar.

Before the seminar, Ambassador Luo and his team attended the opening ceremony of the Xu Fancheng Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition in the Aurobindo Study Room. Xu Fancheng had a deep interest in traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy. He has left more than 300 paintings and calligraphy works for the Silent Room. Some of the works were exhibited this time. Everyone spent a lot of time admiring the paintings and calligraphies, cherishing memories of the artistic treasures and spirit that a generation of masters left for later generations.

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