Chinese love learning Tamil, just like ancient times

Tamilians’ connection with China was first established during Pallava and later Chola periods, according to experts. Image - Prathap Ravishankar

At a time when the Tamil film industry was bringing big budget Hollywood action films starring Chinese actors to the screens in the state, the most sought after Tamil film director then, AR Murugadoss came up with a film titled '7 aam Arivu' (Seventh Sense) in 2011.

It is a well-known fact that China had established a Silk Route and had trade relationship with Tamil Nadu in the ancient times. It is also known that Bodhi Dharma, a saint from Kancheepuram, a city famous for silk, went to China and spread Chan (Zen) Buddhism and Kung fu. The Sangam literature talks about the relationship between the two countries, which existed in a 'cordial' and non-hostile manner.

Though the film brought out some of these details to the Tamil masses, it portrayed the Chinese in a wrongful sense. The film portrayed 'Nokku varma', which is said to be an art of hypnotising, once used by both Tamils and Chinese, comically. Portraying the Chinese as a villain, the film deepened the animosity Tamils had towards over Chinese.

It could be that the seed of the hate could have been sowed in 1963, just after the Sino-Indian war, through the film 'Raththa Thilagam' starring Shivaji Ganesan. The film spoke about the war and till climax, it portrayed the heroine (Savithri) as an aide of China.

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