“Sinology” or “Sin-Indology” – shared heritage of China and India

Though the word “Sinology” originated in the West, Chinese culture has been aesthetically embellished with Indian art motives and music. Viewing the Chinese traditional culture through the Western kaleidoscope or denying the Indian influence on Chinese culture is absolutely preposterous. It is irrefutable that stories from India—enriched the entire corpus of Chinese folktales. Indian epics influenced and enriched the folk literature of the non-Han minorities of China. On the other hand, the scientific and technical innovations that the early Chinese initiated, brought forth material affluence in the whole Indo-China region. Therefore, the entire material and spiritual civilization should be renamed as “Sindology” or “Sin-Indology”—a fusion of China and India. Contemporary interpretation of the traditional Chinese culture cannot negate the synthesizing elements from other cultures, especially the neighboring oriental cultures that have contributed to the overall development of Sinology.

China’s foreign contacts began with the Sino-Indian cultural exchanges. That was China’s first step in cross-cultural communications. That was the period of genuine globalization with people going abroad without a passport or a visa. Thus, Sinology in itself is a cross-cultural composite academic discipline. The Chinese sinologists have no way to ignore the influence of Indian culture on China..But truly speaking, how can there be Sinology without the Chinese language, Chinese characters and their history? In fact, there can be no Sinology detached from the language, script and history.

Hence the need for a new discipline called “Sin-Indology” where the world views of China and India converge.