Veteran Hindi film actress Shabana Azmi, who was here to inaugurate a painting exhibition, says that South Asians will have to work together without losing their diversity if they want a place in the global arena.
"We, South Asians, have to work together if we intend to make our presence felt on the global stage. No, we're not talking about homogeneity. This is not a melting pot where individual identities get submerged. The subcontinent is a colourful mosaic and this diversity is our strength," she said while inaugurating the painting exhibition.
The actress was moved by the works of Bangladeshi artist Shahabuddin that depict the travails of the people during their liberation war against Pakistan in 1971. "Words cannot adequately express the overwhelming emotions surfacing when I saw his works," The Daily Star quoted her as saying.
The exhibition has been named "Jai Bangla", a slogan given by the country's founding father, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. It became the war cry during the freedom movement.
"I was looking at Shahabuddin's works, and I wasn't alone. This was not the best setting to fully appreciate art, but these images stopped me in my tracks. I was immersed in the world of his paintings.
"When you give even one viewer this feeling, as an artist you have earned your greatest honour," she said as her eyes glistened with tears, the newspaper reported.