外文标题：Why is India’s Dr Kotnis revered in China?…By Soutik Biswas in BBC News (India)
Every time a Chinese leader visits India, he usually meets the family of an Indian doctor who died while treating wounded Chinese soldiers in the conflict with Japan in the 1940s.
Dwarkanath S Kotnis was sent to China in 1938 as part of an Indian medical mission after China was invaded by Japan. He served on the frontline and saved the lives of many Chinese soldiers. After four years in China, he fell ill and died at the age of 32.
In China, Dr Kotnis fell in love and married a Chinese nurse who worked with him. Quo Qinglan, who remained in China, died last year in the city of Dalian. They had a son, who was studying to become a doctor but he died when he was 24.
“The army has lost of a helping hand, the nation a friend. Let us always bear in mind his international spirit,” China’s former communist leader and revolutionary hero Mao Zedong reportedly said in a tribute.
Following a long tradition, Premier Li Keqiang will visit the doctor’s family in Mumbai, where his 92-year-old sister will receive him. “We are overwhelmed that even after so many years, my brother is remembered and loved by the Chinese and that the premier is taking pains to meet us,” Manorama Kotnis, who has met three Chinese leaders, told the Indian Express.
At home, Dr Kotnis appears to be a little-known figure these days, although he was immortalised in a 1946 film and is still mentioned in text books.
In China, he is revered as a hero to this day: stamps bearing his picture have been printed and there is a memorial to him in Hebei province. Dr Kotnis was chosen as one of the “top 10 foreigners” in a 2009 internet poll of China’s foreign friends in a century. The doctor “continues to be revered by the Chinese people,” says China Daily.
What accounts for Dr Kotnis’s popularity in China and why have the country’s leaders felt the need to visit his family since 1950?
China experts like Srikanth Kondapalli say a visit to the Kotnis family by Chinese leaders is loaded with symbolism of a shared history of anti-imperial and colonial struggles long before border disputes led to a full-blown war in 1962 and soured ties between the two countries.
“By visiting the family, they are harking back to the solidarity between the two countries when both India and China were fighting colonialism and imperialism,” says Prof Kondapalli.
In 1924, India’s first Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore visited China and spoke about his admiration for “its world of beauty”, “wisdom” and “touch of the human”. He spoke about the need for “eternally revealing a joyous relationship unforeseen” between the two countries.
In 1940 – seven years before India’s independence and nine years before the Chinese revolution – Mao wrote to the man who would become independent India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and said that “our emancipation, the emancipation of the Indian people and the Chinese, will be the signal of the emancipation of all down-trodden and oppressed”.
And in 1942, Mahatma Gandhi wrote to late Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek saying that he had “always felt drawn towards you in your fight for freedom, and that contact and our conversation brought China and her problems still nearer to me”.
Prof Kondapalli says when Chinese leaders pay homage to Dr Kotnis they evoke the bonhomie of the high noon of Sino-Indian relations.
The world has changed since then.
China and Japan are two of the world’s three biggest economies, and India does business with both. Japan’s relations with China are repeatedly strained over a deadlocked territorial dispute and historical grievances. India’s relations with China come under strain over the ill-defined border they share.
Through all this the memory of Dr Kotnis endures.
Note: This article is written by Mr. Soutik Biswas and has appeared in BBC India news on the net. I have just reproduced it here to share with Sulekha bloggers. I have no rights over the article. Navneet
Everytime there is an interaction between India and China, Dr. Kotnis’s name gets reminded. Indeed he should be projected as the brand ambassador of india’s friendship to China. But neither Government seems to remember him. Thanks for the post.
Yes you are right Balachandran ji- Some people see the whole humanity as one big family. Their love, their call for duty to serve humanity is not effected by petty differences of colour, race, ethnicity, religion etc. that breed hatred among us.
Sailor Uncle, After a long time you have posted something. Dr. Kotnis ki amar kahani is not known to many, for the simple reason that very few Indians are appreciated and rewarded. A very strong sense of apathy.
I had seen the movie on Dr.Kotnis. I am sure many will find it interesting. I must say the Cinese leaders visiting sister of Dr. Kotnis is some thing we need to appreciate.We need to understand the spirit.
Thanks Datta jee. How many of us know about Dr. Kotnis. For that matter how many Indians know about Shyama Prasad Mukharjee or Udham Singh? Dr. Kotnis may be a long way down the list of great sons and daughters of India here people can’t even tell whether Sonia Gandhi is related to Mahatma Gandhi or not.
我们中能有多少人了解柯棣华大夫。就此而言，又有多少人知道Shyama Prasad Mukharjee或Udham Singh？在印度伟大儿女的榜单中，柯棣华大夫也许排在很后面。本站有多少人说得来索尼娅甘地和圣雄甘地是否有关系？
In fact, I learned Dr. Kotnis through our textbook, and he sure is one of the most well-known indians in China, maybe just after Ghadi and Tagore.
The communication between our 2 nations is lacking behind. Many Chinese still consider India as the country of Buddism and I have witnessed similar misunderstandings in your websites, times of india to be a perfect example. No doute Dr. Kotnis will be recalled each time
By the way, I have seen some episodes of Aamir Khan’s TV show ” only truth prevail.” It’s shocking.
Hello Uni- Seen you after a long time. In fact I myself have been absent from active blogging and altogether from coming on QQ. Yes you are right Indians know little about China. It’s true of me too that’s why my blogs are full of wonderment. What I saw of and in China was beyond my imagination. BTW I haven’t seen Amir Khan’s show. What is it about? Let me check now.
I remember Dr. Kotnis Medical Shop (1960’s and before) in my native place Ongole and that shop is not there now. Our boarder dispute with China should be settled once and for all.
Did that shop belong to Dr. Kotinis’es family? :). Yes you are right Shekhar Ji. We should sort out all disputes with China because a good relationship with China can be mutually beneficial to both the nations.
I know Dr Kotnis when I was a child from primary school textbooks, and there is a Kotnis School of Medicine at Sijiangzhuang, he and Bethune(from Canada) are two famous doctors in China
That is very interesting to not Tian. I am sure no Indians are aware of it. Frankly speaking I believe more Chinese know of Dr. Kotnis than the Indians.
At least there are three great Indians who made aname for the country and to innovation and liberation of mind and culture.Swamy Vivekanand, Srinivasa Ramanujam, Dr. Kdtnis. They are not only friends of human unity of thought, but leading lights that kindle the soul.
The common feature of the three great souls is that they died very early in thirties.
A nice touching blog.It was nice remembering Dr Kotnis.
How I wish both India and China live together in peace and with mutual respect.We have so much to gain if we work together, as both ours are the booming economies in the world.
We should put aside the mutual suspicion and animosity and make a new beginning.
This calls for statesmanship and I wonder if our leaders have it in them.
The new Chinese PM came with smiles all over- I hope this was not just a mask and lets hope that we make a new begining
I had heard of the movie ‘Dr Kotnis ki Amar kahani’ but I don’t remember if I have seen it. I probably saw it on TV in my childhood. Japan has always been a sensitive issue with China just like Pakistan is for India or maybe more sensitive than even pak-india as Japan’s war crimes are unparallel in their cruelty. Lately I have been seeing Chinese, Korean movies and got to know how much the hatred for Japan is in their psyche. So heroes like Dr Kotnis will be revered by them just like other heroes in the wars. Well all these symbolic gesture mean nothing if Chinese backstabbed during the Hindi-Chini bhai bhai rhetoric and attacked an ill-prepared India by surprise. No wonder Nehru suffered a heart attack after the loss, the war and the loss must have been unbelievably shocking for him when he was dreaming of neutral Asian unity against the two superpowers of that time.
at the age of 32
thanks for this