Egyptians enjoy a slice of India
Cairo: For the Egyptian nation weary of a never-ending political turmoil that started three years ago, a slice of India in the form of a cultural festival came as a breath of fresh air.
`India by the Nile`, the second edition of the annual cultural festival in Egypt, concluded with events held across three weeks in Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Hurghada.
Organised by the Indian embassy in Cairo in partnership with Egypt`s ministries of culture and tourism and the Cairo Opera House, this year`s event held April 1-19 was managed by Teamworks Arts, according to an Indian embassy statement issued Wednesday.
This year`s fest had a grand opening with the staging of musical `Bollywood Love Story` at the Cairo Opera House, which had over 35 Indian dancers performing to the much loved music of Indian cinema. The musical also travelled to Alexandria, Hurghada and Luxor.
Through the three weeks of the festival, the multi-hued range and variety of India’s diverse cultural ethos was on display.
Noted classical dancer Marami Medhi performed Kathak in Cairo and Alexandria, while an exhibition of saris, the traditional Indian dress for women, showcased the beauty of India’s textile traditions, with some free lessons in sari draping thrown in.
Shabana Azmi, the distinguished Indian actor, was seen in conversation with Samir Farid and other Egyptian women achievers at a reception held at India House, the residence of the Indian ambassador in Egypt, while Urvashi Butalia, noted Indian writer and woman activist was in dialogue with Saher al Mougy.
All these elements celebrated the success of `Women of Substance`, a major theme of the festival, and recognised the challenges faced by and similarities of women both in India and Egypt.
The festival also showcased Indian music and arts with an Indian folk music troupe, Rajasthani Josh, performing both in Cairo and Alexandria.
Acclaimed Indian lyricist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar shared the ethos of songs in Indian cinema.
Political cartoonist Sudhir Tailang displayed 50 of his works, reflecting daily life in India, at the Egyptian Art Museum in Cairo.
Literary figures of both India and Egypt interacted in a session ttiled `Words on Water` in Cairo.
According to the Indian embassy, India by the Nile 2014 was the biggest foreign cultural festival in this north African country since the January 2011 revolution.