Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Yan at the Opening Ceremony of Photography Exhibition of Rabindranath Tagore in China
(22 July 2011, Azad Bhavan Art Gallery, New Delhi)

Mr. Suresh K. Goel, Director General of ICCR,

Mme. Gong Fang, Head of the Chinese Delegation and Deputy Director-General of Shanghai Municipal Archives Bureau,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my honour to attend this inauguration of the Photography Exhibition on Tagore in China. I commend the ICCR, Shanghai People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and Shanghai Municipal Archives Bureau for putting together this exhibition.

This year marks 150 years anniversary of Tagore's birth. To commemorate the occasion, a number of activities have been held in both China and India, which attested to the great influence of Rabindranath Tagore in both countries. The Nobel Laureate, who visited China three times and interacted extensively with Chinese writers and intellectuals, is remembered in China primarily as a great poet and philosopher who made a historic contribution to cultural dialogue between China and India.

The extraordinary collection of photos selected from the Shanghai Municipal Archives have never been displayed before in an individual exhibition. It provides special perspectives to Tagore's profound interests in the Chinese civilization and his friendly sentiment towards the Chinese people. As you know, he visited China in 1920s, when Chinese people fought for national independence, democracy and progress. During his visits, Tagore brought to China fresh ideas and a source of inspiration and he also shown deep sympathy for the struggle of Chinese people and supported them. His poetic style in particular influenced generations of Chinese writers. A bulk of his poetry has since been collected, translated and published in China. Over the years Tagore had been revered in China as a great son of India with oriental wisdom and a good friends of Chinese people. During her visit to China last year, President Patil unveiled a bust of Tagore in Shanghai Maoming Road, where he lived during two visits to the city in the 1920s. That is also the second bust of Tagore in China besides the one at the Peking University in Beijing.

This exhibition represents a joint effort of both countries to highlight and re-affirm the cultural ties and friendship between the people of China and India. Two countries have a long history and rich cultural traditions. Both attach great importance to cultural exchange which facilitates our mutual understanding and friendship. Last year the two countries successfully held the Festival of China in India and the Festival of India in China. This year is the Year of China-India Exchange announced by the two governments during the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao last December. We are happy to see that various cultural activities designed to further strengthen the bilateral cultural ties in the context of the steadily growing overall exchange and cooperation between our two countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I avail of this opportunity to express sincere appreciation for the longstanding endeavour of the ICCR to promote mutual understanding and friendship between our two countries through cultural exchange and cooperation. Such cooperation will surely bear stronger, closer and more mutually beneficial relations between the two countries.

I wish the exhibition a great success!



Photography Exhibition of Rabindranath Tagore in China is jointly held by Shanghai Municipal Archives Bureau and Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The exhibition shows 123 pictures within 23 panels of materials of Tagore's three historic visits to China during April to May 1924,March 1929 and June 1929. Exhibition will remain open from 23rd to 27th July, 2011 at Azad Bhavan Art Gallery, New Delhi between 11.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. and soon be displayed in other cities in India.

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