India samples slice of Persian cultureMay 1st, 2008 - 1:54 am ICT by admin
New Delhi, May 01 (IANS) Cultural diplomacy between India and Iran, with shared past spanning more than 1,000 years, took a giant leap with the inauguration of “Days of Iranian Culture in India” at the National Museum here Wednesday. The three-day Iranian cultural showcase, inaugurated a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was here for a six-hour stopover visit, is the first of its kind in the country to promote the “historic land” as a vibrant tourist destination.
It was inaugurated jointly by Iranian Vice President Esfantiar Rahim Mashaei and Karan Singh, president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, which along with the Embassy of Iran and the National Museum is hosting the showcase.
The colours of ancient Persia and its evolution into a modern Islamic republic came alive at the inaugural function which began with a prayer service and a stirring speech by Mashaei calling for “collaboration in the spheres of peace, progress and humanity between the two nations with their rich reserves of mysticism, heritage and culture”.
“The claimants or the ruling powers who stake claim to management of the world with their superior weapons have proved that they don’t have the efficiency to manage human beings. The two great nations, India and Iran, with their mysticism, logic and wisdom can give to the world love, peace and the spirit of humanity,” Mashaei said.
Mashaei’s call for “new peace initiatives” was reciprocated by Singh, who stressed India’s cultural, social and cultural affinity with Iran. “We have strong political links, but its culture that holds the two nations together.”
Speeches over, the performers took over the stage. A santoor recital in the Iranian Sufi tradition was followed by a small mime-play.
The cast, all male as the clergy prohibits women from performing in public and in the company of men, used strong body language, traditional dance forms and an exotic mix of background chants and folk music to narrate the Iran story. The play received a standing ovation from the packed house.
Altogether 60 artistes, mostly musicians and dancers, performed an array of folk dances representing the culture and the music of the different provinces in a small courtyard inside the museum as a band of tea-makers poured the traditional Iranian boiled fava tea from ornate brass pots into delicate porcelain and glass tumblers.
An exhibition of Iranian arts and crafts is the highlight of the culture week, along with a tourism counter promoting Iran. The culture showcase ends May 3.