All the dignitaries’ present and dear student friends,
This is a moment of great happiness for me as I am going to be a part of that pious job which will instill a sense of pride for centuries to come. There might be a few leaders in the world that would have an opportunity to interact with the students of two universities in such a short span of three days while visiting other countries as a guest. Very few people might be as fortunate as I am and I am grateful to you for this.
The basics of India is philosophy and it is also mentioned in the Vedas that the light of knowledge should flow free from all directions. Our philosophy enunciates “Gyan Bhadro”. Thoughts and knowledge knows no boundaries, neither east or west. They are eternal and knowledge from any part of the world can be useful for the development of human culture.
Just now, two Chinese students quoted different Slokas from the ancient Indian texts. They said and I quote “Nainam Chindanti Shastrani Nainam Dahti Pavakaha”. They presented their views in a manner which can act as a storehouse of knowledge for the world. The soul is never born, the soul never dies. The soul cannot be destroyed nor can it ever be burnt. I understand that the Chinese students here summed up the ancient Indian philosophy before you. They mentioned “The Gita” too which states “ma faleshu kadachina” meaning to do ones duty wholeheartedly without seeking anything in return. It requires intent to study about Mahatma Gandhi or India. And if India and China were to scan the history of their rich cultural heritage, we will discover that both were nations of ardent learners, they were courageous to gain new knowledge and were ready to take pains for it. Huen Tsang came to India some 1400 years ago and similarly academic Indians must have travelled to China and all for the sake of knowledge. Such boldness was displayed to acquire knowledge, to learn about different cultures and traditions. It is easy to open the doors for trade and economic reasons. It is easy to invite tourists from all over the world. But opening the doors for knowledge requires immense courage. If one is not strong internally then one is scared of being engulfed by the ideas of others. Will those ideas overpower us? When a person is strong within, he is open to the views and ideas of others. And so China today after the age of Buddha is keen to learn about the great cultural heritage through the life of Gandhi, I think this in itself is a big and important event.
Those relations that are borne out of economic considerations are profit and loss centric. But the relations that are fostered through knowledge, work on the principle of welfare of the future generations. Mahatma Gandhi, though born in a corner of India was a global figure, he was an icon and the various crises that the world is struggling with, can his ideologies show a way out? The world today is facing two major crises – one is global warming and the other is terrorism. Gandhi’s ideologies have solution to both these problems, which means the students of this university through Gandhian Study can outline the relevance of Gandhi in today’s age through mankind not just for China but for the world. A Chinese person Mr. Zen Centi, admired Gandhi and came to live in Sabarmati Ashram in 1925. He stayed there as Gandhiji’s disciple. The Ashram inmates could not pronounce his name correctly for it was a Chinese name. So Mahatma Gandhi wrote his name as Shanti Jain.
Similarly a Chinese scholar Tang Yung – Shan was close to Rabindra Nath Tagore. He has written that when he met Mahatma Gandhi, Gandhiji was full of praise for China.
Zen Centi after staying with Mahatma Gandhi returned to China and started a newspaper by the name Penang. In 1930 Gandhiji was fighting a big battle for India’s independence. He was lodged in Yerwada jail in Pune and was on a fast unto death in the jail. When Zen Centi learned about it, he immediately came to India and requested to meet Gandhiji. Gandhiji had refused to meet anyone inside the jail during his fast. But such was his love for Zen Centi that Gandhiji met him in the jail. Such was his love for a Chinese citizen.
21st Century belongs to Asia. China and India together make for a third of the world’s population. If this one third population is benefitted and is free of problems, then a third of the world will be freed of crises. So India and China should together scale new heights, with humanitarian approach, with humanity, based on Buddhist ideology and Gandhian experiments, so that we can inspire the world to lead a life which is committed to the welfare of the world.
My heartfelt congratulations to Fudan University towards their efforts to start this new segment. I believe that our thoughts will enhance and strengthen the Indo Chinese relations in the times to come for the coming generations. With this belief my best wishes to all of you once again.
Thank you very much.