Five Faces of India in China
Two decades ago, there were no Indians in China. Except Janaki Ballabh. He has been in Beijing off and on since 1956, when he was invited to China by a publishing house owned by the Ministry of Culture. He had been working in Delhi as language advisor to the magazine China Pictorial. When they decided to expand operations, Ballabh headed north.
It wasn’t exactly north. The first leg was Delhi to Kolkata by train. Then by ship to Hong Kong. Another train to Canton (“then an insignificant fishing village”). And a train yet again to Beijing. “It took me more than a week,” Ballabh told us. (Incidentally, Chairman Mao was there at the station to meet Indonesian president Sukarno.)
There were 15-20 Indians in China in those days; the earlier ‘no Indians’ was an exaggeration... There are about 4,000 Indians today in Shanghai—the business city. There
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