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The bridge of Chinese language builds closer ties between China, India

By Kong Qi, He Zhuoyan, Fu Yaning (People's Daily Online)    15:48, August 16, 2019

With the increasingly frequent communication between China and India in terms of politics, economy, culture and education, a wave of “Chinese heat” has emerged in India. Since 2005, more than 160 Chinese teachers and volunteers have been dispatched to India by the Confucius Institute Headquarters. Additionally, two Confucius Institutes, three China Centers, and two Confucius Classes have been established in India. At the same time, more Indian students come to China to study, laying a solid foundation for closer ties between China and India.

Here are the stories of three Indian people who have had a close relationship with China and the Chinese language.

Learning Chinese gives her the courage to pursue her dreams

Shikha Pandey, a beautiful young lady from India, is now a Chinese teacher at the Confucius Institute under the University of Mumbai, India.

Since graduating from Tianjin Normal University as a Master of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages (MTCSL) in 2015, Shikha has been teaching Chinese to all grades at the University of Mumbai.

In December 2018, she attended the 13th Confucius Institute Congress as the only representative of the Confucius Institute of University of Mumbai. She is now applying to Peking University for her Ph.D. degree.

“Can you imagine that I was learning computer science in university,” Shikha asked. “The first time I came across the Chinese language in 2012, I was fascinated by its beauty even though I didn’t know why. It’s just so different from the language we use," she added.

Despite her passion for learning Chinese, Shikha still came up against many challenges, not only from learning Chinese itself, but also from her family.

Shikha pursued her Chinese dreams against the will of her parents, who wanted her to settle down and get married. “My parents are quite traditional, just like most parents in India. By then, I had a decent job, and my parents didn’t understand why I wanted to give it all up to go to China and learn Chinese.”

Against her family’s will, Shikha traveled China to pursue her dreams. Both diligent and talented, she received the Confucius Institute Scholarship at university.

“I’m thrilled to see that more and more Indian students learning Chinese,” Shikha said. “Although there are still some challenges, everything is getting better!”

Learning Chinese creates opportunities

During a symposium on cultural and educational exchanges between China and India, guests were impressed by the host’s fluent and accurate Chinese.

The host, Pandey Aditya Kumar, is a doctoral student in Chinese language at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Pandey has been learning Chinese since 2010, and first visited China in 2013 while participating in the “Chinese Bridge Competition.” It was during this visit that his impression of China completely changed.

Before he came to China, he knew little about the country and its culture. In 2014, he went to the Beijing Language and Culture University to study Chinese, and that allowed him to explore China and experience life here.

“When I was studying Chinese in Beijing, life was already very convenient. I didn’t need my wallet because I could use my cellphone to pay for everything,” Pandey said, adding that e-commerce has brought so many changes to his day-to-day life.

Graduating from Beijing Language and Culture University, he later continued his study at the Renmin University of China in the major of international relations.

When asked about the current situation of Chinese-learning in India, he explained that the number of students learning Chinese in Jawaharlal Nehru University has double in the past 10 years.

“This indicates the rise of China, and the rise of Asia,” he said.

As two countries with a long history and abundant civilizations, there have been various cultural exchanges between China and India since ancient times.

“Through the popularization of Chinese language, more and more Indian people will have a better understanding of China and Chinese culture,” Pandey said.

Cultural exchanges and educational cooperation promote greater understanding

Y. S. R Murthy, a senior administrator of O. P. Jindal Global University in India, said that to prepare their students for the globalized world, many of its schools require students to learn a foreign language, and Chinese is one of the most popular languages chosen.

Currently, about 200 students are learning Chinese at Jindal Global University. The establishment of the Chinese learning center, according to Murthy, has increased the number of Chinese teachers and provided students with better Chinese learning resources.

“We hope the exchange will promote greater mutual understanding and economic cooperation between the university and Chinese partners,” said Murthy.

Murthy also expressed his best wishes for the upcoming 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. “The 70th anniversary is a crucial milestone. I hope the celebration will lead to greater cooperation and understanding between China and India,” he said. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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