Beijing: Over 20 cultural centres at India’s missions across the world will be named after Swami Vivekananda, the ICCR has said.
As part of the project, the Indian Cultural Centre at Indian embassy in Beijing on the eve of the Independence Day was renamed as the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre (SVCC).
Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe along with Indian Ambassador to China Gautam Bambawale unveiled a special plank renaming the centre last night.
The centre conducts free classes of Yoga, Indian classical music and dance. Speaking on the occasion, Sahasrabuddhe said Swami Vivekananda rightly represented all that goes with the identity of India.
In that sense, he becomes the symbol of the idea of India and hence naming this cultural centre after him is an appropriate step towards enhancing an enlightened understanding of India, society and India’s worldview today.”
“India has always stood for not just a receptive and accommodative approach towards all belief systems but also been a votary of deeply respecting every other faith as equally legitimate and recognised,” he said.
It was not for no reason that a monk who represented India and Hinduism started his speech with brothers and sisters.
These powerful words manifested India’s approach of rejecting monopolistic and hegemonist approach,” he said. Bambawale said it is significant that Swami Vivekananda’s teachings continue to reverberate in every sphere of India’s social, cultural and political life to this day.
“Therefore, we are delighted that the Swami Vivekananda Cultural Centre will become an important part of India’s outreach to China,” he said.
Later, talking to Indian media, Sahasrabuddhe said the Indian cultural centres abroad which have not been named so far will be named after Swami Vivekananda.
He, however, said there will be no change in the names of the centres which are already named after other Indian leaders. Close to 20 to 25 centres out of 37 across the world that do not have any name will be renamed as SVCC, he said.
He said the ICCR is contemplating understanding India programme in the missions abroad to demystify India. He said cultural relations form important part of India’s diplomatic relations.
“Goodwill is very welcome, but it alone is not enough for any stronger diplomatic, strategic and economic relations,” he said.
“I believe that centrality of cultural relationship needs to be underscored. Cultural relationship paves the way for all other three relationships,” he said.
“Therefore, the emphasis is going to be on more people-to-people interaction and exchange programmes even in staying in local families for that matter,” he said.
The ICCR has also requested the heads of the Indian missions during the recent conference that they should come out with a three-year plan for cultural relationship enhancement that should be country specific.