A five-day Indian cultural festival is running in Egypt to mark the 155th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, with the aim of building connections between the Egyptian and Indian peoples who already share strong cultural bonds. The Embassy of India in Cairo and Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture are hosting the festival which is organised by the Embassy of India in cooperation with the Egyptian Caricature Society.
India’s Ambassador to Cairo Sanjay Bhattacharyya opened the Tagore festival on 8 May with a painting exhibition showcasing works of artists from Egypt, India and other countries. The festival runs till 12 May.
“It is amazing that 90 years after Tagore visited Egypt, 100 plus years after he received his Nobel Prize and more than 70 years after he passed away, we are still celebrating Tagore and see how he continues to inspire us,” Bhattacharyya said.
The festival featured the Tagore dance drama Shapmochan’ (Breaking the Spell), performed on 9 May by famous classical dancer Dona Ganguly who comes from Kolkata (then Calcutta), the hometown of the great poet.
Tuesday 10 May saw the screening of the film Ghare Baire by legendary filmmaker Satyajit Ray, which is based on one of a Tagore novel. Popular Rabindra Sangeet singer Shreya Guhathakurta is today, Wednesday 11 May, presenting songs written and composed by Tagore.
The festival will conclude tomorrow 12 May with a Seminar on Indian and Egyptian Contemporary Literature, under the title “Tagore, Shawqy and Mahfouz”, which will feature Indian and Egyptians scholars and writers, and will be conducted by the Supreme Council of Culture.
Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for ‘Gitanjali’, is not unknown to Egypt; he visited Egypt as an adolescent in 1878 and later as a famous poet-philosopher in 1926, when he met King Fouad and interacted with scholars in Alexandria and Cairo.
His friendship with Egyptian poet Ahmed Shawqy is well known and he wrote a moving eulogy on his friend’s death in 1932. Tagore wrote about the beautiful relationship between the River Nile and the civilisation of the Egyptians.
11 May 2016