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  • 24 August, 2019

  • Min Read

Letting the pearl on the Silk Road shine brighter

GS-I: Letting the pearl on the Silk Road shine brighter


The Dunhuang city has been witness to multiple interactions and mutual learning between China and India. Recently, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang city of China to inspect cultural relics protection and research work.

About Dunhuang

  • The city of Dunhuang, in north-west China, is situated at a point of vital strategic and logistical importance, on a crossroads of two major trade routes within the Silk Road network.
  • Lying in an oasis at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, Dunhuang was one of the first trading cities encountered by merchants arriving in China from the west.
  • It was also an ancient site of Buddhist religious activity, and was a popular destination for pilgrims, as well as acting as a garrison town protecting the region.
  • These works of art are exquisitely crafted, with unique craftsmanship, vivid charm, and combination of form and spirit. Like an amazing and colourful movement, they tell a beautiful and touching legend of magic charm lasting thousand years.
  • Dunhuang is a witness to interactions and mutual learning between China and India, two ancient civilisations. The Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang remind me of Ajanta Caves and Elora Caves in India.
  • All being world-famous, the murals and Buddha figures in these caves tell the historical and cultural ties between Chinese and Indian civilisations, and witness the light of inter-civilisational exchanges and mutual learning.

Dunhuang as an important hub city:

  • Dunhuang is known as the “Pearl on the Silk Road”.
  • For thousands of years, envoys and officials, merchants and caravans, monks and scholars, capital and technology, integrated and communicated through this silk road, nourishing the development and prosperity of countries along the route.
  • China and India have also developed close economic, trade and cultural exchanges along the ancient Silk Road of both land and sea.
  • China’s paper making, silk, porcelain and tea were introduced to India, while Indian singing and dancing, astronomy, architecture and spices were introduced to China, which became the historical witness of the mutual exchanges between the two sides.
  • Zhang Qian was sent on a diplomatic mission to the Western Regions. Zheng He sailed to the Western Ocean seven times and visited India six times.

Road of friendship-India and China

  • The Silk Road is not only a road of trade but also a road of friendship and mutual learning among civilisations.
  • It will certainly further promote the deep inter-connectivity and cultural exchanges between countries along the route.
  • The Silk Road spirit is about openness, exchanges and inclusiveness. It reveals the truth that there will be no progress without openness, no development without exchanges and no strength without inclusiveness.

Way Forward

In the long course of history, China and India, two ancient oriental civilisations, have engaged in exchanges and mutual learning, created two vigorous and charming civilisations, and made great contributions to the development of human civilisation. In the new era, China and India should also adhere to inclusiveness and resolve differences through building common ground. We should transcend civilisation barriers through exchanges, rise above “civilisation conflicts” by mutual learning, and overcome the sense of superiority by promoting the coexistence of civilisations.

Source: The Hindu

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