Sinitic Influence in India: Perspectives and Future Prospects
Keywords:Cultural interactions, Sinitic, Sino-Indian
It is a well-established fact that during the ancient period Indian culture exercised a considerable influence on China, mainly through the spread of Buddhism. Later, with the passage of time, Sinitic culture spread to regions that are now known as Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, etc. on almost the same lines. Since it is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss the spread of Sinitic civilization all over the world, I shall confine myself to the spread of Sinitic civilization and culture in India. It is interesting to see how these two ancient civilizations, India and China have interacted and spread their cultural influence on each other, quietly and unobtrusively, unlike the western culture, which spread through the force of colonialism, often accompanied with violence and bloodshed.
Even a cursory study of Sino-Indian interactions since ancient times will reveal the exhaustive spread of Indian thoughts and ideas on Buddhism, Ayurveda, astronomical axioms of Aryabhatta, Indian numerals including “0”, and martial art techniques of Bodhidharma etc. in China. Also, Sino-Indian trade and cultural interactions on the Silk Route, visits of Chinese scholar –pilgrims like Xuanzang and Fa Hien to India, establishment of Tamil merchant guilds in medieval South China etc. are historical facts which cannot be denied. However, one wonders, when all these were happening, what was the state of Sinitic influence on India? Was the process only one way, i.e. Indian influence on China and not vice versa? If Chinese culture and civilization influenced India, then how did they spread and to what extent? Lastly, and most importantly, what is the future and significance of Sinitic cultural influence in India? This paper attempts to answer these questions.
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