Students from more than a dozen top Chinese universities where Hindi is taught have taken part in the first competition of its kind in the country to dub dialogues from a Bollywood movie of their choice.
In an initiative by the prestigious Beijing International Studies University’s (BISU) School of Asian Studies, 80 videos in Hindi from 14 Chinese universities across the country have been submitted.
Titled “Hindi Oral Competition”, the online event was hosted by the Chinese Association for South Asian Language Studies.
The students were given a choice of five Hindi movies from which they could pick the dialogues: Mohabbatein, Bajrangi Bhaijan, 3 Idiots, Secret Superstar and Dangal.
Many of the students who have submitted videos are enrolled in some of China’s leading educational institutions including Peking University, Communication University of China, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Guangdong University of Foreign studies, and Yunnan Nationalities University.
“The rules were these: Each student had a time limit of three to five minutes in which they had to dub their favourite dialogue – in Hindi – from one of the five movies. That part of the movie will play in the background,” explained Zhang Yaneng, Hindi lecturer at BISU’s Hindi department, adding that the planning took about two months.
“We set up standards for assessment,” she said.
The students of Hindi will be tested on their pronunciation, intonation and the quality of the video and the techniques they used to record it, said Zhang, who is known as Soumya among her peers.
Some of the top names associated with Hindi in China are part of this competition and will be judging the participants.
It includes Jiang Jinkui, head of the Centre for South Asian Studies and the Hindi department at Beijing’s Peking University, who is a consultant for the competition.
Hindi experts from several universities including Shanghai Foreign Language University and Xi’an International Studies University are associated with the competition.
There are eight judges and an Indian consultant, Prof Rakesh Vats, who will declare the winners in December, Zhang added.
Initially, BISU’s Hindi department professors and students had planned to hold the competition among themselves.
Subsequently, it was decided to expand its scope and involve Hindi departments of universities across China.
“Earlier, similar competitions had been held in Beijing or Tianjin (a city about 100 km from Beijing). This is the first time it is being held nationally,” Zhang told HT.
The history of Hindi in China dates back at least to 1942, seven years before the People’s Republic of China under the Communist party was formed.
In 1942, under Chiang Kai-shek, the then Chinese government established the National Institute of Eastern languages in Yunnan and officially initiated the teaching of modern Indian languages including Hindi in China.
The seeds were sown during the visits of former PM, then Indian National Congress leader, Jawaharlal Nehru to China in 1939, followed by Chiang’s India visit in 1942.
The language continued to be taught in China even during the tumultuous decade (1966-76) of the Cultural Revolution.
This year’s competition has taken on added importance despite the chill in ties because of the border friction – 2020 marks the 70th year of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between the two neighbours.
“Our inspiration was the 70 years of Sino-India relationship. The competition is our tribute to the ties between the two countries,” Zhang said.
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