India and China are friends: This was the message “Grandpa Wen” had for India students during an interaction with them at Tagore International School in New Delhi.
A lesson in calligraphy, a discussion on Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore and the importance of language as a bridge between civilisations were part of the session.
“He is so cool... so kind,” was how a student who interacted with the genial and pleasant Chinese premier described him. Wen hit it off with the students when asked by a 12th grader if he could be called Grandpa Wen. He smiled and said “yes”.
Asked whether Chinese students knew about Tagore, Wen said, the “sage poet” was a household name in China. “The older generation of literary giants in China have been deeply influenced by him.”
Wen went on to enumerate many of Tagore’s works, including Gitanjali, and then quipped “so how do you grade me?” The students and teachers replied, “Ten on ten.”
The Chinese premier, both of whose parents were teachers, got up to teach the students four words in calligraphy. “India and China are friends,” he wrote.
Appreciating the CBSE for introducing Mandarin Chinese in the curriculum, he said, “I see it as a very important decision and it will help in strengthening the relations between the two countries.”