by – Bikash Kali Das
On March 23, 2023, Huáng Bǎoshēng, a renowned scholar in Indology and Buddhism, passed away at the age of 80 in Beijing, China. Mr. Huang was a member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and a researcher at the Institute of Foreign Literature of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He was a pioneer in the study of Indian literature and culture in China and made significant contributions to the field.
Huang Baosheng was born in Shanghai on July 25, 1942. He studied Sanskrit and Pali at Peking University under the supervision of Mr. Ji Xianlin and Mr. Jin Kemu from 1960 to 1965. After graduating, he joined the Institute of Foreign Literature at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which later became the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He served as the director of the Sanskrit Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the former president of the Chinese Society of Foreign Literature, the president of the Indian Literature Research Association, the executive director of the Translators Association of China, and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese Writers Association.
Huang Baosheng was a prolific writer and translator, having authored and translated more than 40 books. His work covered Indian literary works, literary theory, philosophical and religious classics, and more. He presided over the translation of the Indian epic “Mahabharata,” which was awarded the first Chinese book publishing government award. He translated and published over 20 Sanskrit classic literature works and wrote “Ancient Indian Literature.” He made remarkable achievements in the study of Indian classical poetics, publishing “Compilation of Sanskrit Poetics,” “Indian Classical Poetics,” and “Comparison of Sanskrit and Chinese Poetics.” He also compiled Sanskrit and Pakistani teaching materials, including the “Sanskrit Literature Reader,” “Sanskrit Buddhist Sutra Reader,” “Rahu Lineage,” and “Pali Reader.”
Huang Baosheng was the first Chinese scholar to receive the Indian President’s Award and the Padma Vibhushan in 2012 and 2015, respectively, for his outstanding contributions to the field of Indology.
Mr Huang believed that Chinese culture is a collection of five thousand years of culture and also a product of the fusion of various civilizations and cultures. Huang Baosheng’s emphasis on translation was not only from an academic perspective but also his insistence as a Chinese scholar-based on China and caring for his homeland. His translation of Indian works was a confident master inviting condensed India to China to serve Chinese culture. Huang Baosheng believed that incorporating Indian literature into Chinese literature provided richer inspiration for the creation of Chinese writers and scholars. He conducted in-depth research on Indian literature, Sanskrit poetics, Buddhism, philosophy, comparative literature, comparative poetics, and other fields.
Huang Baosheng’s contributions to the study of Indian literature and culture in China have been significant. His work has opened up a dialogue between Chinese and Indian literature and has enriched Chinese academics. His legacy will continue to inspire scholars in the field of Indology and Buddhism in China and beyond.