Indian colours and flavours in Argentina

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Indian films, food, dances and handicrafts will deck up Argentina this November, with the Festival of India set to be held not only in Buenos Aires but also in other cities of the Latin American country.

“Encouraged by the success and the enthusiastic response to the festival last year, we are going to celebrate the second edition of the festival showcasing the flavours of India,” Indian Ambassador to Argentina R. Viswanathan said in an e-mail message. The event will be held from during November 5-15. “Dance performances by Indian troupes, cinema and food festivals will be extended this year to Montevideo, Asuncion and Ciudad de Leste, unlike last year when it was held in the capital.”

The Indian embassy in Argentina will also raffle five air-tickets to India with the help of Air France, South African Airways and British Airways as part of a tourism awareness and cultural exchange initiative, said Viswanathan, who is also the Indian ambassador to Uruguay and Paraguay. The festival will feature exhibitions by 30 Indian companies and live demonstrations of handicrafts.

“It will open with a handicrafts exhibition at the Centro Cultural Borges followed by bharatanatyam, kuchipudi and dandiya recitals Nov 6,” Viswanathan said.

The dance performances will be followed by two festivals of Indian films and a seminar on ‘Victoria Ocampo and India’ at Villa Ocampo, golf tournaments, a festival of ayurvedic food and cooking and a sitar concert, the envoy said. Argentina, one of the most culturally advanced Latin American nations, shares historical and literary links with India.

Feminist-writer-editor and publisher Victoria Ocampo is one of them. The firebrand intellectual hosted Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore at her home overlooking the Plata river for two months when he visited Argentina in 1924.

The Indian poet was so smitten by the Latin American beauty that he composed a cache of poems, called ‘Purabi’, in her honour, where he referred to her as Purabi.

Ocampo, whose life underwent major upheavals after Tagore left Argentina, was later conferred an honorary doctorate degree by Vishwa Bharati University in Santiniketan. Translations of Argentine literature, films and dances are popular in India.

As Latin American expert Robin King of the Centre for Study of Science, Technology, Policy (CSTEP), Bangalore, and Georgetown University, Washington DC, says: “As one of the fastest growing economies in the world, India presents both challenges and opportunities to Latin American nations.”

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