Tagore’s long-lasting legacy continues to inspire young generations
Published: Jun 02, 2024 10:34 PM
China India Photo:CFP

China India Photo:CFP

As the world commemorates the 100th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore's first visit to China, we, as Indian businesspeople in China, are reflecting on the profound impact of this eminent poet, philosopher, and cultural ambassador. 

Tagore's journey to China in 1924 not only marked a significant moment in China-India relations but also served as a catalyst for cultural exchanges and understanding between our two great civilizations.

In the early 20th century, when India was under colonial rule and Chinese society then was undergoing great changes, Tagore's visit to China offered a ray of hope amid a backdrop of political and social turbulences. His message of cultural synthesis and human values echoed deeply with Chinese scholars, inspiring a renewed appreciation for the richness of Asian heritage and the importance of mutual respect and understanding.

During his stay in China, Tagore engaged in spirited dialogues with Chinese scholars and thinkers, challenging prevailing notions of modernity and advocating for a more nuanced approach to cultural exchanges. His insights were met with an enthusiastic welcome, and his influence extended far beyond his visit, leaving an long-lasting imprint on Chinese society and culture.

One of the remarkable encounters during Tagore's visit was with Tan Yunshan, a Chinese scholar and friend of Tagore, who later visited Shantiniketan, Tagore's home village in Kolkata, India, at Tagore's invitation. Tan, a disciple of Mahatma Gandhi, played a pivotal role in fostering China-India cultural relations, contributing to the deepening friendship between the nations.

Noble laureate Tagore's legacy in China has only grown stronger over the decades. His works are widely taught in Chinese schools, and his ideas continue to inspire a new generation of Chinese scholars and thinkers. Tagore's emphasis on the importance of moral progress and spiritual unity has resonated deeply with the Chinese people, offering a timeless message of hope and inspiration in today's world.

We are also deeply inspired by the legacy of Tagore and are committed to spreading love and harmony through cross-cultural activities, and initiatives like language learning forums for Chinese and Indian students. We strive to promote cultural understanding and dialogue, fostering friendships that go beyond borders and cultures.
Looking ahead, we will establish Tagore centers for cultural understanding and civilizational dialogue, in line with Tagore's vision of promoting genuine human love and mutual respect between nations. As we commemorate the 100th anniversary of Tagore's visit to China, let us honor his legacy by reaffirming our commitment to building bridges of friendship and cooperation between our two great civilizations. 

During this year's international conference titled "Commemorating the centenary of Rabindranath Tagore's visit to China"  held at the Cheena Bhavana of Visva-Bharati University, established by Tagore in Santiniketan,  Ma Jia, chargé d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in India,quoted Tagore during his visit to China as saying, "India has been one of China's extremely close relatives, and China and India have been enjoying a time-honored and affectionate brotherhood."  

Tagore awakened the national consciousness of Eastern countries to resist Western colonialism, called for justice and peace, and supported the Chinese people in the struggle against foreign aggression. During his visit to China, Tagore said, "I shall consider myself fortunate if, through this visit, China comes nearer to India." We are proud to be on a similar path of fostering the brotherhood and fraternity of the two nations following Tagore's vision.

In conclusion, the 100th anniversary of Tagore's first visit to China serves as a reminder of the enduring friendship between our two nations and the transformative power of cultural exchanges. Let us seize this opportunity to celebrate our shared heritage and reaffirm our commitment to a future of peace, prosperity, and mutual understanding.

The author is an Indian actor and entrepreneur based in China.