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Tan Yun-Shan (1898-1983) 

A native of Hunan province, Tan Yun-Shan was spiritually a Buddhist and intellectually a Confucian. He was a college mate and personal friend of Mao Tse-Tung, the founder of New China and he was held in high esteem by all parties and peoples in China. 

Tan Yun-Shan was associated with Visva-Bharati for over half a century. Ever since his meeting with Rabindranath in 1927 in Malayasia, he felt an irresistible urge to visit Santiniketan which he did the next year. Inspired by Rabindranath' s message of world peace through inter-civilisational cooperation he visited China in 1931 to acquaint his countrymen with the ideals of the Visva-Bharati and appealed to them to support the movement of Sino-Indian cultural cooperation. He initiated the Sino-Indian Cultural Society in Nanking in 1933 and he returned to Santiniketan in 1934 and collaborated with the Poet to found the Department of Sino-Indian Studies. Cheena Bhavana, with its imposing building and library, came into existence in 1937. 

With his remarkably civilised disposition this modest, meticulous and dedicated scholar was universally respected for the tireless and silent contribution in giving shape to Rabindranath's ideal of Visva-Bharati. Tan Yun-Shan will be remembered by the world for his pioneering efforts in re-building the ancient cultural relationship between the civilisations of China and India in modem times. Till the end, Tan Yun-Shan was active in the cause of international Buddhism and was the guiding spirit of the academic centre at Bodh Gaya.