Lhasa, the city in Tibet still forbidden to many and Urumqi the capital of the volatile and remote Xinjiang region are among the list of a dozen cities in China where India hopes to present a panorama of its culture and history through a series of programmes in 2014.
Titled “Glimpses of India”, the festival is being organised to mark this year as the India-China Year of Friendly Exchanges. Diplomats are hopeful about getting the green signal on all requested cities but whether Beijing allows India to hold cultural events in Lhasa remains to be seen.
Nepal is the only country to have an embassy there; India’s request is long pending. And, diplomats and journalists need permission to visit the Tibetan Autonomous Region which has seen dozens of suicide protests by Buddhist monks and Tibetan civilians against Beijing’s hardline rule. Urumqi too could be scratched out by authorities here as the region has seen a wave of ethnic violence.
The events are staggered through the year with the first set of events slated to begin late April in Beijing, Chengdu and Hong Kong. Indian officials are in talks with top Indian authors to be part of the year-long calendar of events; at least one of them has written on China in his novels of historical fiction.
At least dozen Indian movies, predominantly from Bollyhood, will be screened in different cities. An exhibition of modern Indian art organised by the National Gallery of Modern Art is part of the planned events.
The 12 Chinese cities that will witness activities associated with the festival are Beijing, Chongqing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Dali, Kunming, Shanghai, Urumqi, Lhasa, and Qingdao.