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IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF XUANZANG: TAN YUN-SHAN AND INDIA

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Acknowledgements 

 

I am greatly indebted to a number of scholars and friends who have made valuable contributions to this commemorative volume. Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan, Academic Director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). has so graciously included the publication of this volume in the annual action plan to enable this literary project to exist. I have enjoyed for more than a decade sharing her affection for a junior friend and colleague, sharing her dedications to the Indian and world cultural heritage, to what Gurudeva Rabindranath Tagore and other Indian savants had stood for. It was this sharing that has enabled this volume to be produced to commemorate the birth centenary of my father, Prof. Tan Yun-shan. 

            Many friends have written for the commemorative volume, some in Chinese, some in English. These contributions have enabled us to bring out two different versions of this literary commemoration of Tan Yun-shanís centenary -- its Chinese version by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and this volume by IGNCA. Our earlier intention of translating every article so that they all appear in both the volumes cannot be materialized because of want of human and temporal resources. While thanking all the contributors for their English and Chinese writings, this thanksgiving is also a sincere apology for what is being left out, depriving our readers opportunities to have a fuller view of all the intellectual properties lying in our files, all in various ways providing an insight into the life of Tan Yun-shan and Sino-Indian interface and synergy.

            Prof. Bhudeb Chaudhuri was particularly kind for taking troubles in the cold winter to get an article written, typed by a helper, and checked personally while he had cold. Prof. Kalyan Kumar Sarkar and Mrs. Juthika Sarkar were very prompt in sending their short and sweet articles across the Pacific Ocean. Prof. B.K. Roy Burman and Dr. (Mrs.) Bina Roy Burman were very obliging too. Ambassadors K.P.S. Menon and C.V. Ranganathan were equally kind, prompt, and obliging as all the above scholars. Prof. Karuna Kusalasaya sacrificed his time of rest in retirement, and sent his piece from Bangkok. So did Lama Chimpa from Kalimpong. So did my old colleague and friend Dr. Haraprasad Ray from Calcutta. To Prof. Prasenjit Duara and Prof. Manoranjan Mohanty I am equally indebted. In fact, not only they never say ìnoî to my request, but always give the ìyesî in deed more than in word. Mr. Simpson Shen was generous and kind to let a part of his half-a-century-old Ph.D. thesis to be reproduced. Prof. W. Pachow who knows my father more than I know in many ways, is like an elderbrother in our interactions. He, like many others among those I have mentioned above, has sent me not just the kind words, but a sea of sentiments for the departed soul. I am forever grateful to all of them.

            So many friends from China have obliged me by sending their pieces quite early, and these pieces have enriched the Chinese version of the commemoration which has now been brought out in Hong Kong. I wish to thank all of them here. Thank you, Prof. Ji Xianlin, Prof. Huang Xinchuan, Prof. Jin Dinghan, Prof. Wang Hongwei, Prof. Wu Baihui, Prof. Geng Yinzeng, Prof. Lin Chengjie, Prof. Wang Bangwei, and Prof. Zhang Minqiu (all from Beijing), and Prof. Li Chih-fu (from Taipei).

            I want to add my special thanks for Prof. Ji Xianlin, doyen of all contemporary Indologists and India experts in China, and Life Professor of Beijing University. His generous words are enshrined in his ìPrefaceî which we have used for both the Chinese and English versions, which will forever be remembered by the descendants of Tan Yun-shan. Apart from this, I am profoundly indebted to him for all the kindness he has showered on me in the last two decades. I feel sorry for my inability to translate Prof. Jan Yun-huaís very learned article on Chinese Buddhism (which is abridged in the Chinese volume due to space) which would have been a special jewel in this volume. He and Prof. W. Pachow are the proudest products of my father and Visva-Bharati Cheena-Bhavana. In fact, Tan Yun-shan had such enormous affection and regards for them that made his children envy.

            To the President of India, Honourable Mr. K.R. Narayanan, I shall not be able to express adequately my indebtedness and gratitude. Being a great President of a great country, his judicious safeguarding of the democratic values and political justice has become a household word. Yet from that lofty height and heavy responsibility in leading the Parliamentary democracy of India to a healthy development, the President still so graciously spare time and energy to make the birth centenary for Tan Yun-shan -- just an ordinary associate and follower of Gurudeva Tagore -- an event of significance in the annals of Sino-Indian intercourse. My gratitude is also due to the Vice-President of India, Honourable Mr. Krishan Kant whose message for the commemorative volume had arrived long before the contributions did.

            When I express my gratitude for all the above mentioned dignitaries and scholars I do it on behalf of not only IGNCA, but also the departed soul and all his descendants. My brother, Tan Lee, has taken a special interest in helping the centenary activities. Instead of thanking him (which is not a tradition in both India and China), I put this on record. Mention should also be made about my late lamented sister, Tan Wen, of whose name President Narayanan has made special mention in his ìMessageî courtesy of late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. She put her emotions and memories together in a beautiful article in Bengali when she was suffering great pains of the body. Tan Lee has rendered it into readable English.

            The Gyan Publishers are very cooperative in putting extra resources and energy to make this volume ready for Rashtrapati Narayanan to release at Santiniketan on November 7, 1998. I express my sincere thanks to them on behalf of IGNCA, and on behalf of the Tan family.

            Seeing that I was in straits, fighting with datelines, my former students but now teachers of universities, Mr. Yukteshwar Kumar and Dr. Sabaree Mitra have come to my rescue by sharing my work of proof-reading. Helping me proof-reading is also Mr. Bijoy Das. Shalini kumar has been of help on the computer, and Geeta Manchanda for miscellaneous services. To them I express my thanks. I should also thank Prof. M.C. Joshi, Member Secretary and Pandit Satkali Mokhopadhaya, Co-ordinator of Kala Kosa of IGNCA for helping provide the fund for the book.  

October 15, 1998                                                                                                           

TC

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