New Delhi: Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday exhorted students from various parts of the country to "compete, but also co-operate" with each other and advised the youth to learn about different cultures to enhance their knowledge.
She was speaking at the inauguration of four-day 'Kala Utsav' here.
"You have come here from across the country with a competitive spirit. You have come with an e-book which compiles your journey until now. I insist you to share your journeys with each other."
"You have come here with a competitive spirit and should return with a co-operative spirit and patriotism," Irani told students.
She also appreciated team of students from Tamil Nadu for turning up at the 'Utsav' notwithstanding torrential rains affecting life in the southern state.
The Union minister also suggested the students to make friendship and try to learn about languages and culture of other states to enhance their knowledge.
"I am happy children from parts of the country are coming together (through the event)," Irani added.
The minister also took photographs with the participating children at "selfie corners" created at the 'Bal Bhawan' where the festival is taking place.
She also thanked President Pranab Mukherjee, Vice- President Mohammad Hamid Ansari and Lok Sabha speaker Sumitra Mahajan for interacting with the children.
Nearly 1,400 school children from across the country will present a melange of Indian culture through dance, music, theatre and visual art performances as part of the festival.
The theme of these performances will be 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' initiative launched by the Centre, officials said.
The competitions will be held on the first three days and will conclude with a ceremony at the Siri Fort Auditorium on December 11.
Irani said that Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, eminent classical dancer Sonal Mansingh and renowned author Ruskin Bond will be among those who will attend the final-day celebrations.
The initiative was born out of the need for promoting appreciation of aesthetics and arts among students, the organisers said.
144 online projects - one for each of the four art forms from each of the 36 states and Union Territories - have already been submitted by the competing teams.
Around 144 teams from various government schools which had won the state-level competitions, now converge in Delhi for this national-level event, which would now be held every year, the official added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier inaugurated the 'Kala Utsav' website on Teacher's Day.