How the Indo-Afghan cultural festival is important for both countries

By Kiran Galani

The Indo-Afghan cultural festival was jointly organised by the Government and Embassy of Afghanistan, the Government of India and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Indian Minister of State for Culture Dr Mahesh Sharma and the Minister of Culture and Information of Afghanistan Professor Mohd. Rasool Bawari on 29th November.

Deep historical ties

India and Afghanistan have had strong cultural ties throughout history. India remains one of the largest regional donors to Afghanistan. Further, the two nations share deep economic and political ties in addition to the pre-existing cultural ties.

While addressing the gathering, Dr Mahesh Sharma talked about the significance of the age-old cultural and civilisational ties of the nations. He placed great importance on the “deep-rooted linkages in the fields of music, art, architecture, language and cuisine”. He stated that these linkages constituted an important bond of friendship between the people of the two countries.

Giving examples of this shared heritage, he explained that while exponents of Afghan classical music such as Ustad Sarahang were trained in the Patiala Gharana, the popular Indian music of Bollywood resonated in several Afghan homes. In addition, the central Bamyan province of Afghanistan was an epitome of the two nations’ shared Buddhist heritage. Further, Sharma stated that Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore’s “Kabuliwala had connected Indians with the large-hearted Afghans”.

Why is the festival important?

The three-day festival includes cultural performances, handicrafts, exhibitions, cuisine and cultural shows from both nations. It is a unique event that brings out the commonalities between the two countries through art, handicrafts, dance and music. India is economically and politically involved with Afghanistan. Hence, it is integral for the two nations to embrace each other’s cultures. Strong diplomatic ties with neighbouring countries serve to strengthen the country’s own position.

From the current socio-political climate between these two nations, it is certain that the ties will continue to be cherished. This event is a step forward in further celebrating the similarities between the two nations. 

Featured Image Credits: Pixabay