Kong Xianhua, Consul General Of China, Mumbai, Pays Heartfelt Tribute To Dr. Kotnis

Kong Xianhua, Consul General Of China, Mumbai, Pays Heartfelt Tribute To Dr. Kotnis

Dr Kotnis died at the age of 32, 81 years ago in China

Kong XianhuaUpdated: Tuesday, December 12, 2023, 01:59 PM IST
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Eighty-one years ago, on December 9, Dr. Dwarkanath Kotnis left us forever. Last year, on December 9 we held an event to commemorate this special day. This is the first year after the 80-year Samsara. Here, I’m paying a tribute in my own words.

Eighty-five years ago, Dr. Kotnis, along with four other Indian doctors, formed the Indian Medical Mission Team and went to China to support the just cause of the Chinese people. During his time in China, Dr. Kotnis worked on the front line. He saved countless lives with his superb medical skills and trained a group of talented Chinese medical staff, making significant contributions to the victory of the war against Japanese aggression and Chinese national liberalisation.

Kong Xianhua

Kong Xianhua |

Dr. Kotnis became severely ill after a long period of work in a harsh environment. On this day in 1942, he passed away at the age of 32.

The Chinese people were deeply saddened by the loss of Dr. Kotnis. The Commander-in-Chief of the Eighth Route Army Zhu De wrote in the memorial essay that “fearless of danger and difficulties, Dr. Kotnis bore Indian people’s wishes in mind and worked decisively in the most dangerous battlefields behind the enemy lines. His spirit of internationalism and dedication is a great example of Indian national spirit”. I believe this spirit is still running in the blood of both Chinese and Indian people to make us emotionally closer.

We are comrades in the struggle for national liberalisation. When Dr. Kotnis came to China, the Japanese invaders were trampling Chinese soil. India was also under the colonial rule of the British. Dr. Kotnis witnessed the cruelty of colonialism and imperialism and understood the heavy responsibility of national liberalisation. Thus, he resolutely stood with the Chinese people and fought for the cause of national liberalisation. Chinese people will also never forget how Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore provided moral support during the war against Japanese aggression.

India’s independence movement was widely reported in China and roused strong support. We sympathised and supported each other, and fought like brothers. We are comrades in bringing about an awakening in Asia.

We are companions on the road of development. China and India both embarked on the journey of development after liberalisation and

independence. The establishment of diplomatic ties in 1950 opened a new chapter in our bilateral relations. India was among the first group of countries to recognise the new China and to call for the restoration of China’s lawful seat in the United Nations. For the past 70 years, we worked together and cooperated.

We are companions in lifting our countries to the biggest developing countries and major players in the multi-polar world. We are partners in heralding a new future. Now,

China is advancing the rejuvenation of the nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernisation. India is also on its way to becoming a developed country by 2047.

I would like to share a Chinese saying — “The man of virtue, while establishing himself and pursuing success, also works to establish others and enable them to succeed as well.”

In pursuing development, China sincerely hopes to see a prosperous and strong India. The Chinese people will always progress together with the Indian people on their path of development and revitalisation. I believe that’s also what Dr. Kotnis dreamed about.

Gratitude is the traditional virtue of Chinese people. Last year, on

the commemorative event of Dr. Kotnis’ 80th death anniversary, I announced that we would sponsor a local school in Solapur and rename it Dr. Kotnis Friendship School. With the efforts of our Consulate General and Chinese companies, we have improved the education infrastructure in Solapur by installing the drinking water system, installing CCTV, providing sports facilities, and renovating the entrance gate and walls in the cooperative school.

Besides, the Consulate General and Dr. Kotnis Memorial Committee will collectively donate a bronze statue of Dr. Kotnis to the school to make the young generation aware of his work and the strong friendship tested by war. Once the seeds of friendship are sown in their hearts, the young people will continue to carry on the spirits of Dr. Kotnis for generations.

A Chinese saying goes — “Amity between the people holds the key to state-to-state relations.”

Over the last 81 years, Dr. Kotnis’ spirit has been inspiring Chinese and Indian people, and our friendship has been solid and firm. Today, his spirit is enriched by the new era. No matter how the global landscape evolves, the similarities of our cultures will not change. The tradition of helping each other will not change. The expectations for our cooperation and exchanges will not change. Let’s hold high the banner of Dr. Kotnis’ spirit in the new era, galvanise the Chinese and Indian people into a strong force to renew China-India friendship, and work together for national rejuvenation and a new century of Asia.

(Kong Xianhua is Consul General of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Mumbai)

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