India and Mongolia - Shared Heritage
Author of more than 500 books, Vedic and Buddhist scholar Prof LOKESH CHANDRA, president, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, was recently conferred the Order of the North Star by the Mongolian government for his stellar contributions in fostering greater understanding between India and Mongolia. He spoke to NARAYANI GANESH
Culture is not just music and dance — culture is power….Now China is proud of its culture but we are not. In Mongolia they have Kalidasa’s Meghdoota in Mongolian. The Astangahridaya Samhita of Vagbhata is translated in Mongolian and they follow it. Most of the culture in Mongolia has gone from India.We don’t realise it but India is a cultural super power in Asia,” says Prof Lokesh Chandra.“ It is imperative for India to have a national culture policy.” Shiva’s trishul figured in the scepter of Emperor Chinggis Khan, the great Mongol conqueror, the symbol perhaps borrowed from Kanishka’s Kushan dynasty when they were in Central Asia.The name of the Mongolian president during the communist period was Shambu. Mongolia’s highest civilian award, the North Star, refers to Dhruva Tara or Sudarshan.