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India as China’s Mentor

By Chris Devonshire-Ellis

Sept. 16 – The concept of India as China’s intellectual mentor goes back 2,000 years, with a strong foundation in China’s history. Two thousand years ago, while world history was being shaped around the Mediterranean, China was shut off in the far eastern corner of Asia. With warring and invasive Mongols to the north, no sign of culture in the Americas, and warring tribes to the west, China was largely cut off from civilization. Culture that came to China at that time came from one source, China’s southwest. While India was well advanced, nature had not been kind to the intercourse between the two great countries: a vast desert and a huge mountain range separated the two, just as they continue to do so today. So when did India and China begin to communicate with each other?

According to Indian records, King Asoka sent a number of Buddhist monks to China. Chinese records themselves recognize this, the Chinese Emperor Qin (whose tomb in Xi’an is inhabited by the Terracotta Army) imprisoned and executed ten Indian monks in what is now Xi’an. In later years, records on both sides show increasing numbers of traveling monks, with 24 Hindu scholars traveling to China in the year 67, and some 187 Chinese scholars making the trip to India in the year 265. Some of these have become famous, the Indian scholars known as Tamosola, Chen Ti and Chu Shien, and the Chinese scholars and monks Fa Hien, Yuan Chuang and I Tsing have all passed down in the annals of history. Later, Xuanzang’s Journey to the West – the account of the Chinese monk’s travels to India to collect sutras – became one of the great classics of Chinese literature.

India and China lived, as is commonly described, as “affectionate brothers” for close to 800 years, with mutual respect for each other’s cultures. Mentoring China was no easy task, yet Buddhism took root and is still the dominant religion in China today. Moreover, the intellectual gifts that India bestowed on China can also be counted. These can be categorized as follows:

India taught China the concept of embracing absolute freedom, the fundamental freedom of the mind, which enables the Chinese to shake off the shackles of tradition and habits, and ancient customs, and that spiritual freedom casts off the enslaving forces of material existence. It is through the emancipation of the self through which men attain great liberation, great ease and great fearlessness.

India taught China the idea of absolute love, pure love for all livings things. This eliminates all obsessions of jealousy, anger, impatience and disgust, which themselves express pity and sympathy for the foolish, the wicked and the sinful. The Ta Tsang Jen, a Buddhist classic, writes of “the equality of friend and enemy,” and “the oneness of all things.” It summarizes love as “cultivating sympathy and intellect, in order to attain absolute freedom through wisdom and absolute love through joy.”

India provided China with invaluable assistance in the fields of literature and art. Initially, Indian literature came to China via the sage Si Yu, then directly from the Indian sages who came directly to China seeking audiences with the Emperor. Chinese scholars returning home from India also brought with them a great number of valuable manuscripts, many are still to be found in temples and monasteries throughout China and Tibet today. One of the most important is the biography of Tuan Chuang.

The Indian influence on Chinese classical music came indirectly through Si Yu. Much is lost of ancient Chinese music, after the demise of China’s Southern and Northern Dynasties, much of it degenerated and was lost. The roots of Chinese classical music today come from Xinjiang and Gansu Province, however these were heavily influenced by India at the time (part of both were then Tibetan lands). Curiously much of this ancient music is now preserved within the Japanese royal household. The history of the Tang dynasty is littered with references to the role that Indian classical music had in shaping the nature and sounds of Chinese instruments and music today.

The Indian influence on China in architectural terms is well documented, with the now lost Cha Lam Temple in Louyang, in addition to the beauty and grandeur of the temples of Yung Pin (perpetual peace) and Tsze (material grace). The Chinese pagoda is also in fact Indian in origin. In Beijing, the city’s oldest standing architecture is the pagoda in front of the Temple of Heavenly Peace, built in the sixth century.

That Indian heavily influenced Chinese art is beyond doubt. Ancient Chinese artists such as Kuo Tan Wei and Kou Hu To both borrowed heavily from Indian influences and styles, and in particular in paintings related to the Buddha and Buddhism. One only has to visit temples and monasteries in China to see the influences continuing today. The art of the Kakemono (scroll paintings) originated in India. The inventory of the Chinese monk Yuen Tsang reveals a number of Kakemono bought back to China by him from India.

Chinese three dimensional sculptures did not exist in the country until the influence of Indian masons began to penetrate China. From the Book of Famous Monks we learn that the Indian monk Tai An Tao was also a sculptor, he and his brother worked upon a large image of the Buddha which was famous in its day. Unfortunately, much early influential pieces were destroyed both by several Chinese civil wars (and later the Cultural Revolution). However, the rock sculptures at Lo Yang and Lung Men still exist. Interestingly, much of the styles were said to have come from Afghanistan, the Gandhara style, which in itself was a meeting of Indian and Greek culture.

At this juncture I should point out that the above claims are not of my own initiative, but were researched and openly recognized by the great Chinese scholar Liang Qichao, in his opening remarks to welcome the Indian Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore to Beijing in 1924. Tagore had won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for his collection of 103 poems, known as the Gitanjali, and was invited by Liang to provide a lecture to the Beijing Lecture Association.

Liang was born in Guangdong Province in 1873, and carved out a career as a journalist, scholar, philosopher and reformist during a period of great upheaval for China. He was also a monarchist, and yearned for the return of the Emperor system after the abdication of Pu Yi in 1912. Both this, and his urging for media freedom in China, made him an unpopular figure both with Dr. Sat Yun Sen and the emerging Communist Party. However, notable scholars of the day much admired him, including Lin Yutang, who called Liang “the greatest personality in the history of Chinese journalism,” and Joseph Levenson who described him as “a brilliant scholar, journalist, and political figure.”


Liang Qichao, circa 1912

What is striking compared to modern China is the openness, honesty and recognition that Chinese scholars of the time had in their feelings towards their nation’s relationship with India. Of the “gifts” that Liang writes India as having presented to China, some now have been superseded. India has long considered Freedom of paramount importance, and in quoting Liang’s statement of a “fundamental freedom of the mind” and acknowledging that “spiritual freedom casts off the enslaving forces of material existence” indicate just how much China has lost in the years since his speech. Latter day Indians regard Chinese as having given up their freedom, and are openly disdainful of the concept of the one party state, despite the political problems that has plagued India in the evolution of the democratic process over the past few decades.

The love, respect, and admiration that Liang had for Tagore, and for India, shines through in his comments as a beacon. It is too simple to compare those days of yesteryear with contemporary China, but should one wish to indulge the exercise, it is apparent something crucial has been lost. Tagore’s visit and lectures in China were highly controversial, and somewhat tempestuous. I shall discuss his lectures, and the reactions to them in China next week. But for now it is enough to absorb Liang’s introductory words and dwell on what once was, and the work that needs to be put in to recover such lost ground between the two nations.

Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the founding partner of Dezan Shira & Associates and lived in China for 21 years. He is now based in Mumbai.

His PowerPoint presentation on the ancient China-India trade routes can be downloaded here.

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20 Responses to India as China’s Mentor

  1. John Chen says:

    I’d like to remind the knowledgable author that the revered Master Teacher Confucius, roughly the contemporary of Buddha, was born more than 500 years before Jesus Christ and Confucianism became the real dominating teaching that Chinese followed a few centuries after. Buddhism came to influence China much later. Buddhism did not stagnate in China; it persevered, evolved and blossomed and was further transmitted afar, in contrast to its decline in India and Nepal. I have read Buddhist teachings on occasions and found expositions of Buddhism are often based on precepts in Confucianism and Taosim. Together with Taoism, these three teachings are called Lu, Si and Tao. If we were not to expose things in their actual historic contexts and only selected dismembered facts, misunderstandings and fantasies would ensue.

  2. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Thanks John. I’d pass your comments onto the knowledgeable author (Liang Qichao), unfortunately he died in Beijing in 1929.

  3. yaohua xiong says:

    Very funny.

    But I must say through all the history of China India has no significant influence except buddhism. And religions has little influence on Chinese society.

  4. Giri Velamore says:

    Hi Chris
    I’m an Indian national living in the US. I’m a History enthusiast. I think John Chen has a point. If I understand him corretly, what he says is that China had developed its own indegenous philosophy by Kong Fu Zi (popularly called, Confucius). And it is also a fact that Buddhism declined in its land of origin whereas it evolved and blossomed in China and other countries like Japan. But I agree with the broad theme of your article that India and China had a very good symbiotic relationship in their growths and if we go by the existing and accepted History, India had positively contributed to China’s growth in Philisophy, arts and culture.

  5. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Hi Giri;

    Yes, I’d agree with your synopsis. It does also appear that India influenced China in other matters such as arts and architecture. That shouldn’t really be a surprise, they are neighboring countries. Later I will examine the influence China has had on India. However, to deny the influences other nations such as India have undoubtedly had on China – which seems to be the modern way of thinking – seems to me to be somewhat revisionist not to mention rather churlish. Individuals such as Liang Qichao (who was acknowledged in his day as a leading Chinese scholar) appear to demonstrate rather more grace in their appraisal of cultural history than his contemporaries do. I find that rather sad.

  6. Saeed says:

    Money. There’s Sanskrit even on todays Chinese banknotes.

  7. The_Observer says:

    As a aside there is a hypothesis that some schools of martial arts in China may have their origins from Buddhist monks that came over from India in ancient times. And before that, the Indians of the sub-continent may have learnt it from the Greeks who went about conquering different peoples as part of Alexander the Great’s empire building over 2 millenia ago. Globalization and cultural dispersion/interaction is not a new phenomena. It’s just that now it occurs more quickly and on a larger scale.

  8. yaohua xiong says:

    No people could deny the influence of Indian on China, but it’s not appropriate to over emphasize it. My point is Indian’s major influence on China is Buddhism and that can be seen even in this article.

    Apart from the “Love” and “Freedom” that are too abstract to confirm, this article declare Indian has important influence on China in “Literature”, “Music”, “Architecture”, “Painting”, “Sculpting”. Let’s analyse what are them and how important they are.

    “Chinese scholars returning home from India also brought with them a great number of valuable manuscripts, many are still to be found in temples and monasteries throughout China and Tibet today.”

    “many are still to be found in temples and monasteries throughout China and Tibet today”. So what is it? Of course Buddhism scripts in Buddhism temples and monasteries.

    “The roots of Chinese classical music today come from Xinjiang and Gansu Province, however these were heavily influenced by India at the time (part of both were then Tibetan lands).”

    I am not quite familiar with Chinese classical music but I’m doubting that “The *roots* of Chinese classical music today come from Xinjiang and Gansu Province” because Xinjiang and Gansu never be the major habit land for Han Chinese even today. Chinese developed their music style 1000BC in Shang Dynasty and survive to modern age, there is no point to “root” somewhere else. By the way I’m sure there were some influence from Xinjiang and Gansu like the musical instrument “Pipa” but I think they came from central asia, I’m not sure.

    “with the now lost Cha Lam Temple in Louyang, in addition to the beauty and grandeur of the temples of Yung Pin (perpetual peace) and Tsze (material grace). The Chinese pagoda is also in fact Indian in origin”

    So, “Temple” and “Pagoda”. Buddhism Temple and Pagoda, more specifically.

    “One only has to visit temples and monasteries in China to see the influences continuing today”

    And only in Buddhism temple and monasteries you can see the influences. Because the Colorful Buddhism painting is an anti-style to ordinary Chinese painting which use very few colors other than black and white.

    “Chinese three dimensional sculptures did not exist in the country until the influence of Indian masons began to penetrate China.”

    I don’t know where the author get this idea. Not to mention the terracotta army which the author apparently know it’s existence, you can find many sculptures made before China has contact with Indian like bronze sculptures in Tree-stars pillar about 1500BC.

    After all we can conclude that Buddhism is the major influence Indian has on China. Now, the question is how important it is the Buddhism is to Chinese people.

    In general religions never became a major factor in Chinese society, no matter it’s Taoism, Buddhism, Christian, Islam. Chinese are very pragmatic and have little interest in “after life” or “other worldly” which is the base for most religions. Chinese believe that “People die like Fire burn out” and the native religion Taoism pursuit immortality other than Happiness in after life–the idea the Buddhism bring in.

    So Chinese people, specifically the Han Chinese People has a very liberal idea of any religions. They can show respect to any religious ideas and worship any gods but will devote to none of them. It’s not a uncommon practice to worship Taoism, Buddhism God and their ancestor at the same time. If they are devote to one religion they will not thought to be Han Chinese. For example the Hui Chinese has identical ethnic lineage with Han Chinese, but they adopt Islamic religion. And now Han Chinese comprise the 92% of the Chinese population, it’s easy to figure out how religion is important to Chinese.

  9. yaohua xiong says:

    By the way there are some factual flaws in the introductory paragraph.

    1. “2000 years ago … China was shut off in the far eastern corner of Asia. With warring and invasive Mongols to the north”

    There is no Mongols at that time. Chinese constantly has war with the northern nomad tribes, but 2000 years ago That’s Xiongnu not Mongols. Xiongnu was finally defeated by Han Dynasty(Where the name of “Han Chinese” came from), the northern part of Xiongnu was driven to the west and thought to become the ancestors of Hun people, the southern part of Xiongnu was slowly absorbed into Han Chinese.

    2.”China was shut off in the far eastern corner of Asia. …Culture that came to China at that time came from one source, China’s southwest. ”

    As the author said China and India are separated by “a vast desert and a huge mountain range” so travel between China and India must through the central asia which is threatened by northern nomad Xiongnu. Only after Xiongnu’s defeat by Han Dynasty and the establishment of the so called “silk road” from China through central Asia to Europe there is a regular communication between China and India.

    That happens about 50AD, about 2000 years ago and the author is right about this point. But does that mean “China was shut off in the far eastern corner of Asia” and “Culture that came to China at that time came from one source” like author said and live in a barbarian state?

    Absolutely not!Chinese ancestors(who themselves are nomad tribes) started their settled civilization about 5000 years ago. By the time “silk road” was established
    there are already 5 major dynasties:
    Xia(mysterious, only some record on turtle shells are left, even Chinese know little about it except legend),
    Shang(Famous for it’s bronze forge, and start of Chinese written history),
    Zhou(blossom of various Chinese philosophy thoughts including Confucius which dominate Chinese thinking in latter 2000 years ),
    Qin(Reunification of China, standardize language, road width, government form, armor model, famous for standardize every thing and large engineering project like Terracotta Army and Greatwall),
    Han(Maturity of national identification, language; mighty in Military power )

    And many cultural and technical achievement originated in China. I don’t want to debate which civilization is more “advanced” but definitely Chinese civilization did it well without “mentoring”

    As to “Culture that came to China at that time came from *one* source, China’s southwest”, I must say no matter good or bad the northern nomad tribes like Xiongnu and Mongols had more influence on China before the silk road and through all the history.

    These tribes constantly wage wars agains China, Central Asia, Near East,Eastern European Civilizations and among themselves and through wars, captured slaves, absorbed populations many culture and technique are passed from east to west and from west to east. For example Chinese learned wheels, horse archery and and better army uniform from Xiongnu;Xiongnu learned crossbow and better stirrup, armory from Chinese and then introduce them to Arabians and Europeans all through wars.

    After the establishment of silk road, China has direct contact with central Asia, India, Arabians, Europeans. No matter how, southwest can not be the “one” source for Chine.

  10. Eric Jackson says:

    I’m sorry to say that Chris know nothing about China.
    Buddish in China, Korea, Japan and Vietnam is a definately different style with its origion since it’s introduce from India. It’s strange that Buddish is still not a dominent religion in India, which now is occupied by Islam. In Chinese history, India was never a fantastic nation to Chinese people, Korean, Japanese and other east nations. The deep hurts of forced opium trade done by Britian colonied India finally wakened China. It’s true that Chinese think of India, to some extents, the teacher of China. But, it’s lucky that China was never occupied by those western robbers and drug fixers for hundreds of years!

    The westerners like India because it is easy to control, and their systems is similiar. Honestly, India is a great nation with great civalization, however, it has been nearly wiped out by the western conquerers. On the contrary, China has it’s continous civilization of thousands of years, it always a superpower in its history except some separating era. The traditional social and political systems and even launguage system are quiet different with the west, which makes them feared.

    So what can china learn from India? To be poor like them? Frankly, Chinese are always willing to learn from advanced civilizations and it’s own history. India is only a negative teacher.

    I’m not sure Indian are enjoying their democracy in name and mouth or not. While most china are now enjoying their Communist in name and mouth, execpt criminals such as drug fixers and robbers.

  11. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Actually please bear in mind I was paraphrasing the Chinese scholar Liang Qichao. The words in describing both Chinese and Indian history are his, not mine, and if you read the piece carefully you’ll see they were part of his speech in welcoming the nobel prize winning Indian poet Rabindranth Tagore to Beijing in 1924.

    Liang Qichao wasn’t exactly an academic slouch either. He had passed the Juren, was a renowned scholar of Confuscianism, but was also a reformist, suggesting China needed more Western style influences in it’s thinking at the time.

    You have to take his comments in the context of the day, and I personally find his words somewhat overdone, but rather more genteel than the rhetoric we find from modern China towards India today.

    It was the latter point that was the issue I was trying to point out. The relationship and mutual respect between China and India has gone backwards by quite a way since those heady days.

  12. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Guys, thanks for your comments. @Eric, in response to your comment “So what can china learn from India? To be poor like them? Frankly, Chinese are always willing to learn from advanced civilizations and it’s own history. India is only a negative teacher.”

    Well I don’t agree very much with what you’ve said, however dealing with just the wealth aspect, there are many ways to measure that. But in looking at just one – the IMF and World Bank figures for 2008 as per capita GDP, China averages out at USD5,827, and India at USD2,867. But just ten years ago, China’s per capita income was only USD864. China has only improved its per capita wealth in the last decade, fuelled mainly by its construction and infrastructure boom – which is exactly what India is about to go through.

    When developing countries with populations in excess of a billion each, it’s really a matter of handling one at a time. I suspect that GDP per capita gap will close over the next decade. As for super rich – three of the worlds top fifteen richest people are Indian. None are Chinese. So measuring wealth is always a moving target, and is not a constant.

  13. Saeed says:

    Hey Eric, India’s population averages 24 years old, China’s averages 35 now. Another reason why your GDP per capita is more as older people need more money. But you’ll lose your cheap manufacturing – to us. Then what will you do?

  14. Eric Jackson says:

    Hi, Guys. I’m sorry to be somekind of offensive words. It’s actually not my usual way to comment. It’s actually true that India & China have great influences on the counterparts in lots of areas. I appoligize for that.

    India & China are different in many ways and they were both suffered by those western conquerors and this is the reason why the two countries are still poor today. So any kind of those superior comments on one is the the mentor of another is basically meaningless, this is my opinion.

    My mother is from China and I spent a lot of time in the country. I found Chinese nation is really open-minded and their government is crazy efficient. People are free to critisize the goverment on nearly every issue except the leadship position. And they are actually very rich now, things are changed extremely in the past decades.

    I know very little about Liang and I have no right to make a judgement. But my mother said that he was a great thinker and revolutionist, and respected by most Chinese.

    To Saed.

    There will be a great social problem when you get an uncontrolled explosion of population. Can you provide enough resources to educate those people, to have better welfare, and to create enough jobs? A small mistake will ruin the whole country. China’s One-Child policy are flexible, which means the next generation will have a chance to raise two kids. China are too croweded and I think that is also the case for India. You should know nowadays China has been experiencing a transfor from labor and capitalist condensed industry to high-tech industry. If you went to Shanghai and the Changjiang Delta you will find it. Japan is an “old” country and so be lots of western countries. But their economy seem to be not too bad. To be honest, India is now experiencing what China experienced 30 years ago, population explosion, and you have to maintain a very high economy increasing rate to provide jobs, which will not be an easy task.

    I read a lot of comments on the internet that Indian are pround of their democracy which Chinese haven’t. I should say they don’t know China. Singapore actually using a traditional Chinese way to manage the country. Chinese in their instinct are always follow a kind of patriarchim. People are free to do anything but rebelling. Chinese president is elected by the People’s Congress, similiar to the parliament of your country I believe, and the representitives of the people’s congress are elected by citizens directly. So every Chinese president have different family name, and only those qualified people can be the lucky man to manage the big country. Freedom or democracy is a comparative subject, there is no absolute freedom in this world, which is still the law of the jungle. If so, why don’t you want others to believe in Communist or to use a different political system they like or think to be appropriate? So, democracy is just a tool in it’s instinct to feed the national interest.

    I realy hate those tones using a democracy cloth to shutt other peoples’ mouth up.

    I’m very happy to share my ideas with you and practise my English. I think Chinese and India can together shape the world in the future, they should be brothers.


  15. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    In terms of “using democracy” to put forward the idea of free speech, being able to freely voice your opinion is upheld very strongly in India. Elsewhere it is considered a basic human right. However the disgraceful attempts by China to politicise the Frankfurt Book Fair – where they are guests of honor – and threatening to pull all 2,000 Chinese artists, writers and poets out of the event just because two dissidents are also speaking – in a country which permits free speech – is a reminder of how backward in this aspect China still is. It is unnecessary and counter-productive.

    That said, thank you once again for your insightful comments. – Chris

  16. Eric Jackson says:


    Please get to know the background of these two guys who attended the Frankfurt Book Fair first: Bei Ling and Dai Qing. Actually, I don’t know these two guys until you mentioned them. I searched the internet and found something. Bei Ling was finacially supported by National Endowment for Democracy in USA, which is the finacial supported by the US parliament. The Color-Revelotion in Georgia and Ukraine are finacial supported by this organization.So you can see the intention of the guy – to feed the national interest of the USA, not for Chinese democracy. Look at the chaos in these country. Once I learnt that, I can say that the Chinese part act correctly. Look at those western countries,including India, they finacially supported all kinds of people, peaceful or riot, to take China into parts. That’s the thing the western conquerors did and are still doing. Because China to some extent a real treat to them for its continuely increasing power sthrengrh. And after 150 years, China is still not united. Don’t forget, India is also a victim of the westerners. Somehow it’s just because India is not strong enough for them, and they didn’t do the same thing as they do to China at present.

    Dai Qing is a democratic fighter from 1989. Although lots of young students died in that year, the government have to do so to maintain the stable of the country. If not so, China will not be able to rocket its economy till now and seems far beyond ending. Look at Ruassia and other eastern-europe countries, what they suffered, war? chaos? poor? And is this the consequence of democracy? I should say, if the government didn’t take any actions, China will be separated since 1989. India will far better than China now. Just think of it, will Indian government allow chaos in the entire country for half a year and everything cannot be done? There are lots of examples in western countries to act nearly the same way as China in 1989. After these years, ordinary Chinese people understand the government now, and still have great sympathy to those young and intelligent guys, and they are too idealism. But they do influence China in many ways and the country is getting better and better in its political reforming.

    In traditional Chinese way, when the host invite they friends to visit they home, it’s a bad way to embarrass the guest, which actually is rude and if it is in China, the guest will leave without even a word. So, you will see there is a big gap between western and eastern culture (including China, Korea, Janan, Vietnam, Singapore, etc). But the western country didn’t wanna know (in their hearts, not mouths) what Chinese culture really are, if they think it’s right, then it’s right. They just don’t understand.


  17. Chris Devonshire-Ellis says:

    Thank you for your comments Eric. Concerning your statement “Dai Qing is a democratic fighter from 1989. Although lots of young students died in that year, the government have to do so to maintain the stable of the country.” while I agree the Government had to maintain stability, the reason a lot of young students died that year is because the Chinese military opened fire on them.

    However, I also accept your point over culture, but China must also remember it is in another country (Germany) and has to recognise local laws there concerning freedom of speech. If the Chinese didn’t feel able to honor their guests own laws, then they shouldn’t have accepted the honor of being guest nation. Regrettably, the inability of Chinese nationals – anywhere – to express an opinion different from that of their own government is a symbol both of mainland Chinese oppression and of political interference in the arts, neither of which I find particuarly palatable. I had hoped China would have found time to move beyond this in the 20+ years I have been there. It saddens me that it has not made the reforms in this manner I had hoped for and that it once showed signs of embracing.

  18. china-invest says:

    The Chinese civilization is one of the oldest and most complex on earth, and it’s still really fascinating.

  19. Cliff Edoo says:

    I think that subjectively, one can only conclude that India was the dominant civilization.If you look at the far reaching influence of India on it’s neighbors and even as far as Japan, that would be the only logical conclusion. Both societies were and is still incredible, however as far as influences go, are not the Spanish speaking countries of S. and C. America, heavily influenced by Spain as are the the Portuguese etc. The French colonies etc.
    America is very Anglicized because of England and it’s influence. Romans took from the Greeks as did other Asian countries from the Chinese etc..
    Logic implies that the superior culture infuses itself. Why carry something when it is possible to push it with wheels.
    India was obviously the superior culture back then and so influenced the others.

  20. Ananda says:

    @Eric Jackson

    “India is a great nation with great civalization, however, it has been nearly wiped out by the western conquerers.”

    I dont know where people get these kind of ideas from. I can recite 3000 year old poems (No, literature is not my profession/expertise). 90% of the educated people in my state probably do. Those old poems, apart from being formally preserved & studied, are part of the proverbs you would normally use in conversation. So, Indian culture is pretty much intact. Ironical that Chinese having their own culture totally wrecked during Cultural Revolution have to say this about others.

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