Universities in US & China are getting lessons on human values from the great epic – Ramayana

published on November 7, 2012

To learn Hindi, Chinese turn to Ramayana


AHMEDABAD: Students at universities in China are getting lessons on human values from the great Hindu epic – Ramayana.

Wise sayings from Valmiki’s text are being adapted by the universities teaching Hindi in China and are being made relevant to the current world situations. At least six leading universities in China including the prestigious Peking University, the Beijing Foreign Studies University as well as colleges in different parts of China are teaching Hindi, which has become a popular foreign language in China.

“We are taught verses from Ramayana as part of literature classes at the university,” said Eric Huidram, a student-turned Chinese translator and interpreter from Manipur.

Several universities in the US have included reading the Ramayana as part of comparative humanities and literature sessions on Asia.

It was through the efforts of Chinese indologist Ji Xianlin that many Chinese learnt the language of Sanskrit and the epic Ramayana. Ji, who founded the Department of Eastern Languages at Peking University, translated Ramayana from the original Sanskrit to Chinese in poetry form. Ji’s translated work of Ramayana and Mahabharata will be displayed at the culture park being planned at Kailash Mansarovar by India China Economic and Cultural Council (ICEC).

“The Chinese version of Ramayana will be kept in a library at the park for visitors and researchers to read. We will also run it in the in-house television at the culture park,” said Jagat Shah, convenor, Kailash Mansarovar Cultural Park and chairman, ICEC-Gujarat. The project is being handled by Shah from his office in Ahmedabad.

Besides a library, the cultural park will have a museum, a research lab for studying the geographic impacts and the changes that have occurred in Kailash Mansarovar over a period of time, a language centre to learn about and share different cultures and religions and an information centre.

At a recent summit to discuss about logistics of the park, ICEC also invited people who have already visited Kailash Mansarovar to understand the journey from the pilgrims’ point of view.

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