India to host first SAARC cultural festival
India is going to host the first cultural festival of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations later in 2007.delhi Updated: Jun 02, 2007 22:59 IST
India is going to host the first cultural festival of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations later this year.
Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday announced this to a group of artistes, painters and art lovers from all the eight SAARC nations during the inauguration of the first exhibition of paintings of artists from the countries held at Rabindra Bhawan in New Delhi.
India currently holds the rotational Saarc chair. Earlier this year, it hosted the 14th SAARC summit of the head of state and governments of the eight SAARC nations.
"Artistes from all the eight nations will be invited to participate in the festival," Mukherjee said.
The exhibition is the product of an effort of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), said ICCR president Karan Singh.
In January, ICCR invited 25 painters from the SAARC countries to a camp in the desert of Jaisalmer where they stayed, worked and painted together.
The artists included Tshewang Tenzin of Bhutan, Murtaja Baseer and Abdus Shakoor Shah (Bangaldesh), Abdul Shakoor Khasarwe and Yousef Asefi (Afghanistan), Anup Vega and Jagath Ravindran (Sri Lanka), noted painter Ali Raza, Waseem Ahmad, Saba Khan and Roohi Shafiq Ahmad (Pakistan), Afzal Hasan Shaafu (Maldives), Nagin Upadhyaya (Nepal) and Jatin Das, Shamshad Husain and Yogendra Tripathi from India.
"Apart from political diplomacy, the exclusive forte of external affairs ministry, and economic diplomacy, cultural diplomacy too has a major role to play in bringing together the peoples of SAARC nations," Singh said, adding "painting has proved to be one important area".
Mukherjee described the forthcoming festival as an example of the connectivity of minds and ideas of the people of SAARC countries. He also hoped that there would be no barriers against advancing ideas and "ideas would freely travel across the SAARC borders".
"Each SAARC country has its unique cultural significance and identity. Yet all of them have a common thread," said Mukherjee.
Besides India, the grouping comprises new entrant Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.