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Mahatma Gandhi through the eyes of his grandson
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By Li Shen

As a preeminent political and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi is worshiped and loved by people all around the world. Chinese readers still look for his wisdom and charisma through books, films and other materials, even sixty-one years after his death. Now they can learn about Gandhi's life through the eyes of his grandson, as the Chinese version of the book The Good Boatman: A Portrait of Gandhi, was released in Beijing on Tuesday.

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Written by Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, one of Gandhi's grandsons, the 495-page book serves not only as a biography of Gandhi's life, but even more so as an explanation of his views toward non-violence, religion, race, caste, the Partition of India, etc. It was originally published in 1995.

"To this event, Chinese public now have an access to an authoritative biography of the Mahatma," said Mr. Jaideep Mazumdar, Charge d' Affaires of the Indian Embassy at the release ceremony, which was held at the Indian Cultural Office.

Prof. Deng Junbing (L), the co-translator for the book gave the Chinese edition of The Good Boatman: A Portrait of Gandhi to Mr. Jaideep Mazumdar, Charge d'Affaires of the Indian Embassy as a gift at the book release ceremony on August 4, 2009. [Li Shen/China.org.cn]

"It was very worthwhile for me to spend three years translating this book into Chinese," said Deng Junbing, co-translator for the book and wife of China's former ambassador to India, Zhou Gang.

Deng received the book as a gift from Gandhi's granddaughter, the author's sister, in 2000.

After Deng's return to China in 2001, she decided to introduce this book to Chinese readers. "If we want to know a big country with ancient civilization and newly emerging economy like India, the first key and a shortcut is to understand its father of nation better," Deng explained.

"Mahatma Gandhi's personality had several dimensions. He was a statesman, a politician, a philosopher, a crusader, a social worker and a teacher," wrote former Indian Ambassador to China Nalin Surie in the forward of the book.

"As a friend of China, the Mahatma once declared, 'I long for the day when a free India and a free China will cooperate together in friendship and brotherhood for their own good and for the good of Asia and world.' I believe inspired by this desire of the Mahatma, both the Indian and Chinese people will join hands to work more closely together to create a better tomorrow for their own good as well as for the good of the global village. Therefore I hope more Chinese readers will enjoy reading this book's Chinese edition to understand better Mahatma Gandhi."

Former Ambassador Zhou Gang delivered a speech at the book release ceremony on August 4, 2009. [Li Shen/China.org.cn]

Former Ambassador Zhou expressed his wish for a long-term friendship between India and China at the ceremony, speaking in Hindi. "India is China's immediate neighbor and we share a long border. The friendship and cooperation between China and India is of great importance, including beyond this region. It has a great impact on the world, both in the future development of the world economy and in international relations."

Scholars on Sino-Indian relations, former ambassadors, officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Indian Embassy attended the ceremony.

Prof. Deng signed books for Chinese readers at the release ceremony on August 4, 2009. [Li Shen/China.org.cn]

Along with the book release ceremony, the Embassy of India will also hold several other cultural events at the Cultural Office to promote bilateral cultural exchanges this month, including a Sitar performance, a photo exhibition, film and documentary shows. For more information please contact the Cultural Office at 010-65683218.

(China.org.cn August 5, 2009)


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