“Kem cho? Saru Che.” The proverbial Gujarati lines meaning how are you? Everythings fine, recognized by many on India’s North Western front will now also be standard lines taught to Chinese officials – both central and provincial.
The expanding trade with China, 10 percent of the expected US$100 billion in bilateral trade by 2015, is expected to flow between China and Gujarat, the only state on India’s North Western sea front that boasts ferocious traders and has already created a substantial buzz in the middle kingdom. Having learnt bits of the emperor’s tongue, and foretelling millions in trade, the Chinese are now learning Gujarati, or the native language of the state of Gujarat.
While Beijing University’s language and culture department is expected to roll out an extensive curriculum covering various aspects of the language in conjunction with Gujarat University, it is also probably one of the first times China is teaching a local Indian language. Sanskrit, in which ancient Indian texts are written as well as Hindi, the national language of India are both taught across China now and scholars who study Indian texts of Indian trade for business, know the language that bites them best, however learning and teaching Gujarati will add a while new dimension to India-China relations.
With the Gujarat government strategically pushing trade with the Middle Kingdom, edging those thinking of moving further inland China, to Western India, business is only expected to boom and language currently being a major hinderance to trade will enable both sides to bridge the gap and take advantage of the flourishing trade route.
The interest is two-fold, while there are a bevy of Chinese companies that are bowled over by Gujarat’s infrastructure and stable government the Narendra Modi led state government is also rising in prominence even as India’s center state weakens. This brings to the limelight, not only the power of the state government in attracting investments into Gujarat, a model China understands and follows but also a system of work getting done – a system thats un-bureaucratic and un- hiccuped by red-tapism and a lackadaisical attitude that seems to permeate across India. The result is a win-win situation for both Gujarat and China, where they will fully understand each other, be able to speak the same language and connect on mutual grounds of profit.