Although India, and China share ancient and a long history of cultural and intellectual exchange, history of instruction of Chinese (Mandarin) as a foreign language in India is not that old. The formal instruction of Chinese (Mandarin) language was first started in the year 1918 at Calcutta University at Kolkata. Later in 1937, it was with the cumulative efforts of Rabindranath Tagore and Chinese language scholar Professor Tan Yun-shan, the first formal institute (aptly named Cheena Bhavan चीन भवन ) for the study of Chinese language and literature was established in Visva-Bharati University at Santiniketan (WB, India). By 1960s, Chinese language departments were set up first at Delhi University and then in School of languages at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi). By 1990s, in the era of globalization, liberalization and privatization, learning of foreign languages including Chinese picked momentum in India. In the 21st century, Chinese is taught at several universities and institutions spread across India.
Chinese language textbooks printed in India are few, and most which are available use English as a medium of instruction. This creates further challenges for Indian learners in terms of speaking and listening skills in Chinese. By the inspiration of Indian social reformer Acharya Vinoba Bhave, a Chinese language primer through Hindi medium (हिन्दी-चीनी प्राइमर) was prepared by Dr. Har Prasad Ray of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). And In 1975, this हिन्दी चीनी प्राइमर (देवनागरी लिपि में) hindī cīnī prāimara (dēvanāgarī lipi mēṁ) was published by Gandhi Smaarak Nidhi, New Delhi.
Dr. Ray modeled this unique language primer on the famous textbook ‘Speak Chinese’ (1948) written by M. Gardner Tewksbury and published by Far Eastern Publications, Yale University (USA). This Hindi-Chinese primer has 20 chapters, all written in Devanagari script and explained through Hindi medium. In these chapters, basic speaking and listening skills from beginners to intermediate level is covered, along with various grammatical points of Chinese language. At the end pages of the book, a useful Chinese- Hindi glossary (with page numbers inside the books) is also provided. You can read / Download the book from here. Keep learning!