China presents country’s highest literary award to Indian professor
September 7, 2011

China has conferred its highest literary award on Prof. B R Deepak for his book, which is a translation of 88 classical Chinese poems into Hindi.

Prof. Deepak, who is from Centre of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, JNU, and is currently visiting professor of Chinese and Dean of the School of Languages, Doon University, Dehradun, Uttrakhand was the first Indian to receive the “Special Book Award” for his contribution to Chinese studies, translation, publication of Chinese books and cultural exchange. The award was presented by the State Counsellor, Liu Yandong, at an investiture held in National Theatre of Performing Arts in Beijing.

In 2008, India presented the country’s highest civilian award, The Padma Bhushan, across the Himalaya’s, conferring it upon Indiologist Ji Xianlin, marking the first time the award given for exemplary work, by the President of India had been awarded to a Chinese.

Prof. Deepak’s book is a first-of-its-kind translation of 88 classical poems that have been selected from various periods of Chinese history (from 11th to 14th Century BC) starting from Shijing of pre Qin to Xixiangji of the Yuan dynasty. The book provides a kaleidoscopic view of the poetic tradition and genres such as Chu Ci, Han Yuefu, Tang Shi and Song Ci to the readers, along with the original Chinese text. The collection also incorporates the poetry of great patriot poet Qu Yuan, folk songs from northern and southern dynasties, and some lyrics from Yuan dramas.

It is perhaps for the first time that Indian readers, especially the vast majority of the Hindi speaking population, have been exposed to the glorious poetic tradition and culture of ancient China.

Prof. Deepak has also authored India and China 1904-2004: A Century of Peace and Conflict (2005), India-China Relations in first half of the Twentieth Century (2001), History of Chinese Literature with selected Texts (2001), Chinese-Hindi Dictionary (2003), China: Agriculture, Countryside and Peasants (2011), and My Life With Kotnis (2006), a translation of Wo yu Ke Dihua narrated by Kotnis’ wife Guo Qinglan and compiled by Xu Baohong.

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