Cul­tural bond­ing be­tween China and In­dia

Global Times – Metro Beijing - - TWOCENTS - By Alok Joshi

One peak-hour evening, as I waited in a long queue for some driver from Didi to ac­cept my re­quest to take me home, I spot­ted an old driver of a yel­low and green Bei­jing taxi, smok­ing and wait­ing for a pas­sen­ger.

For some un­known rea­son I changed my mind and can­celled my Didi re­quest and hopped into his taxi.

But I soon re­gret­ted my de­ci­sion to leave a po­ten­tial lux­ury ex­press Didi car.

On top of it, his at­tire and body lan­guage seemed a bit strange to me.

He asked me some­thing in Chi­nese but I pre­tended to be busy with my mo­bile.

Af­ter a while he again asked me, “Where are you from?”

“In­dia” (one of the few sen­tences I know how to say in Chi­nese).

He sud­denly left the steer­ing wheel and clapped.

While I won­dered why he clapped, this fel­low said some­thing I had not heard from most peo­ple in Bei­jing for years

“China and In­dia are friends,” he an­nounced.

I just smiled.

Then he started playing with his mo­bile and a fa­mil­iar song on his mo­bile woke me up.

Most of the older Chi­nese gen­er­a­tion is fa­mil­iar with this Raj Kapoor’s 1951 pop­u­lar In­dian song called “Awaara hoon” (a wan­derer but still happy even though no­body is wait­ing for me).

He started hum­ming the song and I couldn’t re­strain my­self from pro­vid­ing the lyrics.

I can’t be­lieve I was do­ing some­thing like that. Mu­sic has no bound­aries. We were re­ally friends, from two dif­fer­ent na­tions, maybe just mu­si­cal friends on a short road jour­ney.

He kept en­ter­tain­ing me with dif­fer­ent old In­dian songs and brought the singer in me to life.

Back home I re­searched and found that In­dian songs were very pop­u­lar once upon a time.

The new Chi­nese gen­er­a­tion may not be aware of this.

The sec­ond pop­u­lar song is “Jimmy Jimmy” from a 1982 Bol­ly­wood mu­si­cal drama film, which is of­ten per­formed in some re­cent Chi­nese re­al­ity shows. By a strange co­in­ci­dence, last week in a San­l­i­tun bar, the bar­tender started chat­ting with me and singing an­other pop­u­lar In­dian song, “Aankhen khuli ho ya ho band” (whether eyes are open or closed, I just see her whom I love)from an In­dian movie re­leased in 2000.

There may be a few more In­dian songs known bet­ter to Chi­nese mu­sic lovers. Well, the Chi­nese love singing and In­di­ans love both singing and danc­ing. No won­der, one can watch Chi­nese artists danc­ing to Bol­ly­wood songs quite of­ten on Chi­nese tal­ent shows. I al­ways thought un­til now that only Aamir Khan Bol­ly­wood movies like Dan­gal (2016) are tremen­dously pop­u­lar in China but it was a rev­e­la­tion that In­dia mu­sic pre­ceded this.

In­dian cinema res­onates with the Chi­nese au­di­ence be­cause they con­nect emo­tion­ally with the com­mon themes and char­ac­ters in daily life.

Art, in any form, can in­deed be a great uni­fy­ing fac­tor be­tween the two neigh­bor­ing na­tions that both share around 5,000 years of cul­tural his­tory. Hope­fully the two great na­tions can lever­age the power of mu­sic, cinema and dance to boost their re­la­tions.

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