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United colours of India in Brussels

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 14:47 IST
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The Belgian capital will throb with Indian music, dance, poetry and philosophy during a four-month-long India Festival beginning October 7.

The festival, organised by Belgium's Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar) in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, will run till January 21, 2007.

Paul Dujardin, director-general of Bozar, told newspersons here: "There is one aspect of India, in my view a fundamental one, that remains relatively neglected and receives less media exposure: Indian culture.

"One of the key priorities of the artistic policy of Bozar is to open up to Europe. But this India Festival reminds us of an indispensable corollary to that priority: opening Europe up to the world.

"It is from this perspective that the Centre for Fine Arts decided to initiate this India Festival."

The India festival has developed into an ambitious project comprising a total of 106 events - music, dance, film, literature, talks, debates, the visual arts, and educational initiatives - are all included in this wide range of activities.

"The example of India shows us how it is possible to preserve those elements of a country's origins and traditions - intellectual, spiritual, and artistic - that go to make up a civilisation, while still being alive to today's world and the future," said Dujardin.

Members of Belgium's royal family and Karan Singh, chairman of ICCR, will inaugurate the festival on Oct 7, according to INEP agency.

Noting the importance that India attached to this project, Dujardin said the exhibition will welcome Sonia Gandhi, Congress party president, and Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt on Nov 11.

He pointed out that it is not by chance that the festival was being launched just a few days before the 7th EU-India summit in Helsinki on Oct 13. During the festival, Nobel Prize-winner V.S. Naipaul will speak as a conscientious observer of his grandparents' country.

Prominent Indian artistes to perform during the festival include Asha Bhonsle, Ustad Hussain Sayueedudin Dagar, Zakir Hussein, Hariprasad Chaurasia and others.

Dujardin said: "Our societies of the future - and that future has already crossed our threshold - will be like India: with a multiplicity of ethnic origins and of cultures, and of mixtures and hybrids.

"How we respond to these socio-cultural challenges will to a great extent determine the human and social success of the European project. In this respect, and in our own cultural and artistic context, India must serve as an example."

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