Bonding over Bangla in China

AKM Moinuddin from Beijing, China
Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Bangladesh media delegation members- Radio Dhol Director Silvia Parveen Lenny and UNB Special Correspondent AKM Moinuddin giving a gift to Prof at Peking University


Peking University promoting Bangla, Rabindranath as means of stronger ties


Bangla language and Asia’s first Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore have been holding a special place in Peking University (Beijing University) for decades showcasing stronger cultural ties between China and Bangla-speaking people in the region.


Chinese people still practise works of Rabindranath Tagore, the Indian literary giant, and do research on his creative works falling in love with his poems and his friendship with China.


“We’ll continue to promote Bangla and creative works of Rabindranath Tagore. Through this, our friendship will grow and research will see advancement,” Peking University Prof Wei Liming told Dhaka Courier.


Prof Wei at the Department of Asian and African Languages and Literatures, School of Foreign Language under the University said they have introduced Bangla Language and Rabindranath courses which will strengthen cultural ties between the two countries.


“Course related to Rabindranath is one of the most popular courses here,” she said adding that Rabindranath is being practised in China for 100 years.


She said the role of Peking University in the history of Rabindranath practice is very significant.


The professor mentioned that there are three statues of Rabindranath in China and the oldest one is in the Peking University.


Rabindranath Tagore visited China in 1924 and 1929 during which he spent time in Shanghai and several other cities. He widely interacted with top Chinese personalities of that time.


Rabindranath Tagore wrote this poem under the title ‘On My Birthday’ on 21st February, 1941, a few months before his death. It goes like ‘Once I went to the land of China, Those whom I had not met, Put the mark of friendship on my forehead, Calling me their own.”


Prof Dong Youchen is one of the persons who played an important role behind why still today Tagore remains very close to Chinese hearts.


Talking to UNB, Prof Youchen said he felt greatly about Rabindranath and his works while studying at the Rabindra-Bharati University (D. Litt).


Before that, he studied Bangla at a University in the then Soviet Union for few years.


“When I listen Bangla words, these sound like music. When I came to know Bangla is mother language of Rabindranath I felt I must have expertise in Bangla language,” Prof Youchen told UNB at the Peking University.


He said he translated many poems and prose of Rabindranath Tagore.


The complete works of Tagore have been translated directly from Bengali into Chinese in 2015 on the occasion of the 154th anniversary of the birth of Tagore under the aegis of Prof Dong Youchen, a professor at the Centre for South Asia Studies, Beijing Foreign Studies University.


“I even like works of Kazi Nazrul Islam,” said the Prof reciting powerful poem – Bidrohi.


Prof Wei Liming said the School of Foreign Languages, Peking University, was established in June 1999.


“We welcome applicants in and outside China. We also invite competent scholars in the field of foreign languages and literature from all over the world to join the faculty,” she said.


Officials said there is Department on South Asian Studies that offers courses in six languages, including Bangla.


Bangladesh-origin teacher Dr Kishore Kumar Biswas said there is a growing interest about Bangla among Chinese. “The number of students is growing,” he told UNB who arrived in China over a decade ago.


Earlier, a 12-member Bangladesh media delegation led by Director (News), Bangladesh Betar, Hosne Ara Talukder, visited the Peking University on Friday evening.


Hosne Ara appreciated practice of Bangla language in the University and said this will help deepen ties between the two countries.


Teachers and students of School of Foreign Languages took part in a cultural programme showcasing rich Bangladesh-China cultural heritage.


The media delegation comprises representatives from national newspapers, private television channels, a news agency and an FM radio station.

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