Once cagey about the Mahatma, China finally releases a book on him | books | Hindustan Times
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Once cagey about the Mahatma, China finally releases a book on him

books Updated: May 29, 2013 11:09 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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The first book on Mahatma Gandhi to be officially translated in Chinese was released at the prestigious Peking University on Monday indicating that India's iconic leader had belatedly begun to get rare government recognition in the country.

Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy have rarely been recognised in the academic circles of China because of the vast difference in his ideology and that of China's own iconic leader, Mao Zedong.

A solitary statue of Gandhi erected in Beijing in 2005 was the closest that the Chinese government had come to show as a mark of respect.

But the Mahatma seems to have finally got a toehold in China. The Chinese version of Ambassador (retd) Pascal Alan Nazareth's book "Gandhi: The Non Violent Revolutionary", was released at a function attended by a handful of Chinese academics, students of the University and Indian diplomats; the turnout by arms of the tightly controlled Chinese state media was a break from the past.

"There was not much interest in Gandhi because of the difference in ideology with Chairman Mao…Much is to be done," Professor Jiang Jingkui, director of the South-Asian Studies department at the influential Peking University said at the launch of the book.

Jiang added the difference in ideology impacted research on Gandhi in China.

Indian ambassador S Jaishankar said the book will elaborate on Gandhi's international impact and also feed China's growing interest in him.

The author, Nazareth, quoting from his book, recollected how Gandhi had reacted strongly against the Japanese invasion of China.