Abu Dhabi: President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday
said a "cultural osmosis" over centuries had enriched both the
Indian and Arab civilisations as she opened the Indian Islamic
Centre here, 28 years after its foundation stone was laid by
the then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
The construction of the building has been marked by an
inordinate delay and Patil thanked the UAE government for
their "generous assistance" to the realisation of the project.
Inaugurating the institution during her five-day
official visit to the UAE, Patil said it is a tribute to the
collective efforts of community leaders and would prove to be
a valuable cultural bridge between the UAE and India.
"It is, indeed, a reflection of the strength of
character of the Indian Diaspora, in nurturing its links with
the mother country, while successfully adapting to the local
conditions in the host countries," she said.
Extolling the centuries of exchanges between India and
the Arab world, the President said there was a process of
"cultural osmosis" between the two civilisations.
"It is not an exaggeration to say that there is part
of both the cultures in all of us, whether Arab or Indian,"
she said speaking after inaugurating the building.
She said the Islamic heritage of India is an integral
part of Indian culture and that the "sustained interface" of
its culture since the 8th century "had a profound impact in
all spheres of life in India".
"The Centre has an illustrious history. Its foundation
stone was laid in 1982 by the then Prime Minister of India Smt
Indira Gandhi, who strengthened the secular fabric of India,
that we are privileged to witness today," she said.
Dwelling upon the richness the Arab and Indian
civilisations brought to each other, Patil pointed out that
the immense contribution of the Arab world is evident in
India`s monuments, its literature and its arts and culture.
"There was a process of cultural osmosis," she said.
She also lauded the Indian community`s hard work and
dedication that has contributed "very positively to the
development of the UAE".
"India and the UAE have much in common in their
promotion of religious harmony and tolerance towards different
shades of thoughts and beliefs. The rulers of this country
have adopted benevolent policies, and provided generous
support to Indian community organisations belonging to all
religions," she said.