The second year in a row, the Indian embassy in Cairo commemorates the famous Indian philosopher, poet, and Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore, by organising a one week cultural festival under his name as a celebration of his 156th birthday.
The five-day festival starts on 8 May with a drama dance based on Tagore’s work, called “Chitrangada”, presented by the Dancers’ Guild.
The festival will also screen the movie “Kabuliwala”, directed by Hemen Gupta. The film is based on a novel written by Tagore about an immigrant from Kabul who forms a bond with a young girl in India who reminds him of his daughter in Afghanistan.
The celebrations furthermore feature several cultural events, including art, literature, music, and novels. The Tagore Festival is being organised in cooperation with the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, the Cairo Opera House, the Cultural Production Sector, the Dancers’ Guild, and the Indian Community Association in Egypt.
The festival comes right after the end of the “India by the Nile” festival, the biggest foreign culture festival in Egypt, organised by the Indian embassy in Cairo as well.
“Through India by the Nile this year we wanted to reach out to youth and different audiences all over Egypt. To a large extent, that has been very successful. We created new audiences with the classical performance that we had,” said Ranu Bhattacharyya, the spouse of the Indian ambassador to Egypt, Sanjay Bhattacharyya. “We interacted with children of different generations through street ar, and football teams—and this event in the hospital is another one of those venues through which we are trying to bring a little bit of India to our friends in Egypt.”
Tagore has played a very strong historical role in both Indian and Egyptian heritage. The festival commemorates him as the person who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 and was the first Indian artist to receive this honour. His close friendship with Gandhi, as well as his many trips around the world, sharpened his talent. Tagore was able to introduce Indian culture to the rest of the world in an accessible, interesting way, as well as introducing various European and African cultures to Indians in a new way.
As for his relations with Egypt’s most prominent authors, Tagore had a close friendship with Egyptian writer Ahmed Shawki and even wrote Shawki’s eulogy in 1932. Tagore was impressed by the strong literary trends in Egypt and found great resonance in the intellectual movement here. He wrote about the beautiful relationship between the Nile and the flourishing Egyptian civilisation.