India, sanctions-free Iran plan to revive cultural ties

By: | Published: May 21, 2016 12:38 PM

Prime Minister Modi will attend the inaugural session of the conference on May 23 which would be followed by a sitar concert. He will also release a manuscript called 'Kalileh wa Dimneh' - an old translation into Persian of Panchatantra and Jataka.

Narendra ModiOn the margins of the PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Iran, ICCR and its Iranian counterpart will also sign a MoU which provides the framework for cultural exchanges including supporting reciprocally each other’s cultural festivals. (PTI)

India and Iran plan to revive their age old friendship by jointly organising a series of programmes to promote bilateral cultural ties during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Tehran from tomorrow.
Western sanctions in recent years had put a brake on bilateral cultural ties.

“Now that Iran is coming out of the Western sanctions, here is an opportunity to revive our age old friendship and partnership which is mutually beneficial,” said C Rajasekhar, Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations.

He said the ICCR and Embassy of India in Tehran in collaboration with Iran’s Farhangistan and Sadi foundation will organise a three-day long cultural festival in conjunction with the Prime Minister’s historic visit.

“This includes a major international conference titled ‘India and Iran, two great civilisation – Retrospect and Prospects’ focusing on the journey of Persian literature, history and arts and culture in both the countries,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi will attend the inaugural session of the conference on May 23 which would be followed by a sitar concert. He will also release a manuscript called ‘Kalileh wa Dimneh’ – an old translation into Persian of Panchatantra and Jataka.

The manuscript is perhaps the only ever-lasting and perpetual bridge which first connected Indo-Iranian community.

“This facsimile edition of the Kalileh wa Dimneh is a tribute to the cultural interflow between India and Iran over millennia, attested by the nexus of the Rigvedic hymns and Gathas of Zarathushtra,” said Lokesh Chandra, President, ICCR.

Also, there will be an exhibition of digital manuscripts, Sitar and Tar recital and a session of Persian poetry recitation where Indian and Iranian poets will come together to celebrate the glorious poetry tradition.

In the end, Indian sitarist and an Iranian tarist will perform together.

India and Iran have always been friends. There has been a constant inter-flow and exchange of ideas, people, goods and services between our two societies so much so that we have greatly enriched each other’s culture, literature, language, art, architecture and cinema among others,” Rajasekhar said.

“We will display some rare manuscripts and miniatures. If you look around today we have perhaps far more manuscripts, rare and Persian manuscripts in our possession – in both public and private collections. We keep publishing them through our National Manuscripts Mission,” he added.

On the margins of the Prime Minister’s visit to Iran, ICCR and its Iranian counterpart will also sign a MoU which provides the framework for cultural exchanges including supporting reciprocally each other’s cultural festivals.

“We are planning about a month long ‘Festival of Iran in India’ and also ‘Festival of India in Iran’. Also we will take it to cities outside the capital,” he added.

Noting that Iran has been removed from Prior Approval category, he said that now people can travel with ease.

“The sanctions have the effect of subduing the whole environment. Now we can rejoice that it’s all happily behind us and here is an opportunity. All these elements – cultural, economic, political – they go generally together and the fact that sanctions are behind and India-Iran can once again revive happily the past partnership,” the former diplomat said.

“There is now renewed interest in Iran,” he added.

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