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Delhi cultural fest kicks off in Moscow

Moscow's Mayor has vowed to carry forward the mission of peace and democracy in the world with Delhi.

india Updated: May 30, 2006 10:35 IST

A three-day Delhi cultural festival opened in Moscow with a gala evening of Indian vocal and instrumental music.

The inaugural speeches of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dixit and Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov on Monday night at the prestigious International House of Music, a new "gem" of post-communist Russian capital's glittering attire, reminded of the bonhomie, which existed in days of Hindi-Roosi Bhai-Bhai.

Mayor Luzhkov recalled the days when as a young boy he used to take keen interest in India's fight for independence and how he along with millions of Soviet people rejoiced when India became free.

Recalling the Russia visits of great Indian leaders Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, Mayor Luzhkov vowed to carry forward the mission of peace and democracy in the world with Delhi.

Agreeing with Moscow mayor that Indo-Russian relations go back to the India voyage of Russian merchant Afanasy Nikitin over five centuries ago Sheila Dixit noted that great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy's influence on Mahatma Gandhi has "become part of the Indian history".

The guests were amply rewarded by the vocal performance of Kalapini Komkali and Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his son Ayan Ali Khan.

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan started his performance with the most popular tune "Moscow Nights", which he learnt during his Russia visit 20 years ago.

He was given a standing ovation by the Russian audience including Mayor Luzhkov when he completed his performance with the most loved song of war days "Katyusha".

Mayor Luzhkov, a Russian political heavyweight, was so impressed by Komkali and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan that he took liberty to invite them to sit next to him at the high table at a dinner hosted by Dixit.

During the three-day festival, the Muscovites would be able to seen Indian fashion show and folk dances.

A gathering of poets and writers from Delhi and Moscow has also been organised.