The first Chinese version of a book on Mahatma Gandhi's thoughts was launched in Beijing on Monday, marking the debut of Gandhian philosophy in a country intensely dominated by the ideology of 'Chairman' Mao Zedong.
'Gandhi's Outstanding Leadership', written by former Indian diplomat-turned-Gandhian Pascal Alan Nazareth, was released at the Peking University's Centre for India Studies in the presence of Indian Ambassador to China S Jaishankar.
Prof Shang Quanyu, a history professor with the South China Normal University, translated the book into Madarin. He described the book as a "trail blazer".
Indian officials said in many ways the book was an "official debut" of Gandhian thoughts in Mao's China as the revolutionary leader, a contemporary of Gandhi dominated the Chinese thought like a colossus for over six decades until the country began loosening its the grip over his ideology in recent years.
Officials said this was the first time a book in Chinese was launched with official permission with world wide rights in Chinese language though 'Gandhi a Memoir' by American journalist William L Shirer hit the book stores here last year.
Launching the book, Nazareth, who retired from Indian Foreign Service in 1994, said Gandhi's thoughts are more relevant to the world, especially to China.
He also spoke about how Mahatma opposed Japanese attack against China during the 2nd World War in an open letter to Japanese people calling how he "intensely disliked it", criticising the move "you have descended to imperial ambition".
Gandhian philosophy is relevant to China as it is experiencing too much of consumerism after a rapid economic growth bringing in deleterious social effects, Nazareth said.
"It is everyone's interest to know what might be antidote for this. You can have very shining smart cities but if you have distress in the countryside," he said, highlighting the problems faced by India in dealing with Naxal attacks.
"In China's context, most well established regimes are brought down by peasant uprisings. So therefore to keep track the deleterious impact of the rapid economic growth, this is where Gandhi's philosophy is relevant," he said.
Also Gandhi emphasized truth which is missing in all the countries today with "spin-masters at work, to make untruth the truth", he said.
"All the countries are suffering as dishonesty has become rampant. I do not know about China. Gandhi is the only modern leader who has spoken about the importance of sticking to the truth," he said.
In a meeting attended by a number of students specialising in Indian studies, Nazareth also dealt with the contradictions between Mao's power flows through the gun philosophy and that of Gandhi's non-violence.
The forces of the soul are much more powerful than what comes out of the barrel of the gun. The world history in the last 50 years has shown that," he said.
"The enemy is not from foreign state but few suicidal terrorists" he said adding that Gandhi is the first 20th century leader to fight against racism, colonialism communalism, casteism while fashioning an effective strategy to fight them.
Also the Gandhian outlook also could help to improve India-China relations bringing about "transformation of the relationship".
He also appealed to India and China to set up an institute of Gandhian studies in China.
"Because the more progress we make, we need Gandhian perspective as economic progress have deleterious effects on society and on nature. I believe Gandhi is the only one among the modern leaders who have taken an all inclusive view of this," he said.