Hindi Day celebrated in Stockholm

Saturday, September 25, 2010

STOCKHOLM - Hindi Day was celebrated with joy, enthusiasm and fervour at a well-attended function at the Ethnographic Museum here to promote cooperation and understanding between the people of India and Sweden about their common bonds of culture and language.

Speaking on the occasion earlier this week, Indian Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar said Hindi Day was being celebrated in Sweden for the first time not only because of the rapid expansion and growth of the Indian economy and industry over the last few years and the increasing profile and importance of India as an increasingly important international political and economic player, but equally importantly, on account of the dynamically expanding and strengthening relations between the two countries.

Sajjanhar recalled that notwithstanding the impact of the international economic and financial crisis on most countries of the world over the last two years, the commercial and economic partnership between India and Sweden had continued to grow during this period.

He said the current bilateral trade of $2.5 billion was considerably below the potential that exists for this relationship. He identified several sectors including clean technology, green energy, automobiles, tourism, life sciences, healthcare, and education as presenting immense opportunities for further growth and expansion.

Speaking on the growing international popularity of Hindi, Sajjanhar said that the world had become increasingly interested in India and Indian culture, philosophy, dance and music over the last several years.

The Indian film industry had also played a significant role in popularizing the language worldwide.

Noting that Hindi is the second most widely spoken language in the world, the ambassador said it was not only a link between Indians living in different parts of the country and the world, but it was also widely used as a language of unity by Mahatma Gandhi to galvanize the common people in the country to rise as one against the colonial might of the British empire.

Among the guests on the occasion was Anna Kinberg Batra, a member of the Swedish parliament, whose party registered a significant victory in the Sep 19 elections. Batra is chairperson of the India-Swedish Friendship Group in the Swedish parliament and has worked tirelessly to strengthen relations and cooperation between the two countries, an Indian embassy statement said.

Sajjanhar expressed strong determination to work closely with the India-Swedish Friendship Group in the coming years to further deepen and diversify the expanding engagement between the two countries in all spheres.

Speaking on the occasion, Batra conveyed her deep appreciation and happiness at the rapid pace at which relations between India and Sweden have been developing and growing.

She said that considerable further potential exists to expand bilateral ties, not only in the spheres of politics, economics and commercial exchanges, but equally importantly, in the area of cultural and social interactions.

She pointed that the Swedish word “samband” means “relationship” or “connection” as it does in Hindi. This link between India and Sweden is ancient and historical and both countries need to work together to provide a contemporary meaning and content to this.

The official part of the event was followed by an interesting and diverse cultural programme including songs in Hindi by a group from the Shipra Nandi Music Academy, recitation of a Hindi poem by a student of the Stockholm University, rendition of Raga Malkaus by Anurag Choudhary on the flute and a fusion dance performance by an ensemble from the Saraswati Kala Kendra, run by Usha Balasundaram in the suburbs of Stockholm.

“The cultural programme was enjoyed and highly appreciated by the audience,” the embassy statement said.

While thanking the artistes for their performances and the guests for their presence, Sajjanhar said a three-month-long Indian Cultural Festival is being organized by the Kulturhuset (Cultural House) in Stockholm from Oct 1. He also said an India Forum will take place in Stockholm Oct 1-2 at which around 70 international scholars, political leaders, experts and academics will participate to discuss the opportunities for the world from India’s growth and expansion.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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