Kolkata: The 80-year-old ‘Cheena Bhavana’, the department of Chinese language & Culture in Visva-Bharati University, will initiate more scholar and student exchange programmes in coming years with support from China, its head Abhijit Banerjee said. Visva-Bharati has signed four MoUs in recent times under which scholars were sent to China and students from Chinese universities came to the Cheena Bhavana on short term exchange programmes, he said.
“However, we are planning to bring more Chinese scholars from Yunan and Sanghai universities and other institutes in China. The people of China and their government are exchanging all kind of help in this regard,” he said.
He was talking to PTI on the sidelines of a programme to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the department which was set up in 1937.
Tracing the journey of the institute, Mr. Banerjee said, “Gurudeb (Tagore) had thought about people to people interaction and we have not moved away from that path.”
“We are also bringing in other areas such as business, politics and education in research work,” he said.
Tagore had visited China in 1924 when he met Prof Tan Yun Shan and invited him to come to Visva-Bharati and set up the department where Chinese and Indian scholars may undertake studies on philosophy and culture of the two nations.
This year also marks the 90th anniversary of Tan Yun Shan who had devoted his life to promote the language and culture of China at the Cheena Bhavana, Mr. Banerjee said.
Stating that wall paintings of the Cheena Bhavana had been jointly done by Indian and Chinese students reflecting the synergy of art of the two countries, he said.
Tagore family descendant and a Cheena Bhavana alumnus, 95-year-old Amitendranath Tagore said, Prof Tan Yun Shan had personally supervised the work when the department was coming up in 1937 and brought distinguished Chinese scholars here.
To make Indian soldiers conversant with the Chinese language, the Cheena Bhavana started a certificate-level course earlier this year and the classes were being taken at the military base at Panagarh military base in neighbouring Burdwan West district.
To a question, acting Vice Chancellor Swapan Dutta said, “Indian students can get a lot of exposure by learning Chinese from the academic and professional point of view.”
Mr. Banerjee said presently 160 students are enrolled at the Cheena Bhavana and among the faculty members, one is from China.