As cultural ties continue to bind us together like thin yet strong silk threads, 17 Chinese publishing houses displayed their books at the recently held 16th Delhi Book Fair. Exchanging literature and materials on China’s progress and development over the past few decades, the Chinese publishers were the only foreign representatives at the book fair which saw 40,000 visitors at Delhi’s sprawling Pragati Maidan.
The Chinese publishers were led by China Publishing Group Corporation vice-president Wang Tao, who received a catalogue of the Indian books available for translation rights from their Indian counterparts. “We are interested in translating Chinese books into English and are exploring the option of translating them into our regional languages, Federation of Indian Publishers (FIP) general secretary Shakti Malik said. The two sides are currently negotiating translation rights.
The exchange of literature between the two ancient civilizations is sparse if almost non-existent. While Indian poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore, is read in English by a small elite minority in China, Chinese literature beyond Sun Tzu’s epic The Art of War, is unheard of in India.
Besides learning Mandarin and eating Chinese food, the exchange of literature is vital in understanding each other cultures and attitudes and dissolving misnomers. In fact, India and China are also working jointly on an encyclopedia of their common culture, an idea that was picked by an alert Indian official from a casual remark dropped by Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo.