Address by Governor at the Inauguration of New Regional Office Premises of Indian Council of Cultural Relations in Pune
Address by Shri CH Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra at the Inauguration of New Regional Office Premises of Indian Council of Cultural Relations in the Campus of the Savitribai Phule University of Pune at 1100 hrs on Monday 9th April 2018
Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President, Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and Hon’ble Member of Rajya Sabha, Dr Nitin R Karmalkar, Vice Chancellor, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Shri Syed Mehmood Akhter, Programme Director, ICCR, International Students’ Advisor, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Heads of Departments, Heads of Educational institutions, Principals of affiliated colleges, Heads of Cultural Institutions, distinguished invitees, media representatives, students, ladies and gentlemen,
I rejoice with you all on the joyous occasion of the opening of the New Regional Office of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations in the premises of Savitribai Phule Pune University.
I congratulate ICCR and the Savitribai Phule Pune University for entering in this wonderful agreement which will prove beneficial for both the organizations, and particularly for the international student community.
Since taking charge as President of ICCR less than four months ago, Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe has brought an element of dynamism to the functioning of the national cultural body.
His appointment as President of ICCR is not only an honour for him, but also an honour for the State of Maharashtra.
While the ICCR was founded by India’s first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, it was led by such great stalwarts as Justice M C Chagla, Sardar Swaran Singh, Yashwantrao Chavan, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and P V Narasimha Rao and three former presidents R Ventakaraman, Dr Shanker Dayal Sharma and K R Narayanan.
I congratulate Dr Sahasrabuddhe on his appointment as President of ICCR and also convey my appreciation to ICCR on the opening of its regional office premises in Pune.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Only last week, the Human Resource Development ministry declared the National Institute Ranking Framework for universities in India, and I was extremely pleased to note that the Savitribai Phule Pune University was ranked 9th best University in the entire country. That makes the University the number one University in Maharashtra.
I congratulate the University on this glorious achievement, and I would like to convey my appreciation to Vice Chancellor Dr Nitin Karmalkar, Heads of various Department, members of faculty, staff and students of the University.
Ladies and gentlemen,
When ICCR was founded in the year 1950, its objective was, and remains, to foster, revive and strengthen cultural relations between India and other countries.
The objective is valid even today and I believe that ICCR has been playing the most significant role in establishing cultural relations with various countries while also promoting student and cultural exchange.
As Governor of Maharashtra, I often receive Presidents and Prime Ministers of various countries visiting Maharashtra. I also receive parliamentary delegations and provincial Governors from different countries. Most of these countries are keen to have student exchange and cultural exchange programme with India. I do feel that ICCR, as an institute of cultural diplomacy, can reach out to maximum nations of the world through the charm of our cultural heritage.
When we think of India’s cultural relations with different nations of the world, we have to be immensely grateful to our ancestors and previous generations who have already done great job in extending the reach of India’s culture to all corners of the world.
I often cite the example of Hu Shih of China. Mr Hu Shih was China’s Ambassador to the United States between 1938 and 1942. He also served as the Vice Chancellor of the Peking University. Hu Shih was an Indologist having deep study of India’s cultural past. In his book he wrote, and I quote:
“India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries, (means 2000 years) without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.”(Unquote)
That was India’s vast cultural sweep over nations of the world. Even today, you will find the strong impact of India’s culture in Cambodia, in Thailand, Indonesia, Japan and many other countries.
I wish and hope that during his tenure as Head of ICCR, Dr Vinay Sahasrabuddhe Ji will undertake a study to identify and bring to light every single place associated with Indian culture in the world. This will help us to clearly define the ‘Indian Cultural Circuit’. Tourism follows where there is culture. Today lakhs of Indians are keen to explore the world. They will be only happy to visit the ‘Indian Cultural Circuit’. Apart from promoting tourism, such venture will create pride about India’s culture in the minds of our people.
ICCR has magnificent scholarship programme under which more than 759 international students from over 49 countries are studying. Interestingly, many of the students receiving ICCR scholarships are studying in Pune.
Many countries want the quota of ICCR scholarships to increase. I do feel that the ICCR must give serious consideration to this request and increase the number of scholarships substantially.
Every foreign student pursuing his studies and career in India, is going to be India’s cultural ambassador to his home country. Scholarship will help us win over the goodwill of students and their nations.
One of the important mandated activities of the Council is to provide platform to young artists in the field of Art, Music and dance. I do feel that ICCR must launch an annual Global Cultural Festival in Pune with participation from maximum friendly countries. I am sure such an event will become unique in the world. It will attract thousands of tourists to India and enhance the appreciation of Indian culture in the hearts of people.
With these words, I congratulate ICCR on the launch of its New Office Premises and wish the Council success in its future endeavor. I would request Vice-Chancellor of the university Prof Karmalkar to extend maximum cooperation to ICCR in its noble work.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra