In a first of its kind initiative, an encyclopedia of Indian classical music in Chinese language was unveiled here on Wednesday. The book titled "The Musical Culture of India", which traces back the origins of various Indian music forms, was authored by noted Chinese musician and scholar Prof Chen Ziming.
The book was launched at the Indian Embassy here by the Deputy Ambassador of India, Dr Acquino Vimal, and renowned Bharatnatyam exponent Leela Samson. Launching the book, Vimal said the growing popularity of Indian music in China shows that is a powerful means to bring people of the two countries closer.
Praising Chen's contribution towards popularising Indian music in China, he said, "His book has great significance. It has systematic exposition of musical culture in India." Vimal also underlined the importance being given by India to promote people to people exchanges between the two countries. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will preside over the 2nd meeting of the People to People Exchange Mechanism along with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during his scheduled visit to Beijing between August 11 and August 13.
Chen, 86, is a famous violinist and is associated with China Conservatory of Music, a leading institution for the study of traditional Chinese music and musical instruments, had spent decades in India studying Indian music. "The book is a first monograph on music in India written in Chinese which can fill the void in the field," said Chen, who was closely associated with sitar maestro Pandit Ravi Shankar and Samson.
The book has 13 chapters of content, including on cultural background, origin, history, types of Indian music, basic theory, ragas, talas, musical instruments, music genre and folk music. A lover of India and its music, Chen first visited India in 1989 as a foreign scholar to study Indian music. He visited several Indian music institutions and developed long friendships with various top musicians and cultural personalities.
The Chinese scholar encouraged his juniors to study Indian music and dance forms. One of his students is the noted Chinese Bharatnatyam dancer, Jin Shan Shan, who runs a dance school in China to popularise Bharatnatyam.
Chen dedicated his book to Ravi Shankar and Samson for their encouragement to carry on with his study. Releasing the book, Samson narrated the trials and tribulations experienced by Chen and other foreign scholars who had to endure periodic bouts of ill-health due to food and water contamination.
Terming the book as the most import document on Indian music, Samson said Chen and other foreign scholars had to spend long time in India getting associated with the nuances of Indian culture, festivals and numerous languages to understand the background of Indian classical music and dance forms. "Prof Chen's life is an example of kindness and fortitude. His love for India and its music is exemplary. He made great contribution in bringing the two countries together," she said.
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