A Fugue with Fourteen Cantos Across Four Movements
TCA Ranganathan
BEYOND PAN-ASIANISM: CONNECTING CHINA AND INDIA, 1840S-1960S by Tansen Sen and Brian Tsui Oxford University Press (Oxford Series on India-China Studies), 2021, 466 pp., 1495.00
September 2021, volume 45, No 9

Pan-Asianism is a general term used to describe a wide range of ideas and movements that called for the solidarity of Asian peoples to counter western influences in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The concept of Pan-Asianism first emerged in Japan sometime in the late 19th century. The movement gained wider acceptance following the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905).  Poets and philosophers like Rabindranath Tagore and Sri Aurobindo, as also the Chinese politician Sun Yat-sen and subsequently, Lee Kuan Yew and Mahathir Mohamad,  were some of its notable adherents. Subsequently, in the post-war years, after the Indian Independence and the Chinese Revolution, and perhaps also as a result of or in order to recover from, the blinding impact of the India-China border conflict of 1962, more nuanced and differentiated scholarly approaches also started emerging.

The book under review aims to develop an interdisciplinary corpus of research on historical and contemporary relations as well as comparative studies of the two nations and thus go beyond the obsession with strategic, geo-political, economic and environmental issues. It purports to build instead a more holistic understanding of the relationship between the two nations.

Continue reading this review