India and Lithuania celebrate their ‘personal bond’

New Delhi, April 18, 2017.

The Lithuanian Embassy in New Delhi, in collaboration with the India International Centre (IIC), released a book “India and Lithuania: A Personal Bond” on Wednesday, April 5.Lithuanian Ambassador Laimonas Talat-Kelpša and other dignitaries attended the event at the IIC premises in New Delhi.

The book has been produced by the Embassy and is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Indo-Lithuanian diplomatic relations.

“Twenty-five years is a significant period of time. But with this publication we wanted to show that contacts between India and Lithuania started much earlier and there is a time-honored legacy to lean on,” said the ambassador at the book launch.

The book featuring Gandhi and three Lithuanians, Poška, Vydūnas and Kallenbach on its cover, contains several articles on the historical personalities who contributed to the forging of the special connect between two geographically distant nations.

For example, few people in India know that Hermann Kallenbach, Gandhiji’s closest associate during his South African times and his ‘soulmate,’ comes from a small Western Lithuanian town of Rusnė. The book provides a detailed account of how Kallenbach contributed to Gandhiji’s political and spiritual development.

Meanwhile, another Lithuanian, Antanas Poška, traveled from Lithuania to India on a motorbike in 1931, a journey that to this day would be hard to accomplish. Poška’s legacy served as a source of inspiration to generations of Lithuanians. The University of Calcutta also honored him with a posthumous D.Litt in 2014.

The screening of a documentary ‘Lithuanian Columbuses in India’ complemented the book launch at IIC on Wednesday. Released on the waves of the Lithuanian Public Broadcaster only a few weeks ago, the documentary covers the stories of those prominent Lithuanians who have left a footprint in India since their first arrival in 1625.

“I am happy to be part of this celebration and contribute my share to the promoting of public awareness about Lithuania in India,” said Lithuania’s eminent journalist and documentarist Ms. Edita Mildažytė, who has also come to the event.

Last year, Mildažytė spent a few weeks in India shooting in various locations historically connected with Lithuania. Thus, she unearthed a story of the first Lithuanian to arrive in India. This was a Jesuit missionary Andrius Rudamina who landed in Goa on 22 August 1625.

She also interviewed people in Varapuzha near Kochi, where a Lithuanian priest, Nicolaus Szostak, served as a bishop of Malabar in 1751-73.

The event in IIC is already the fourth for the Embassy to be held together with New Delhi’s iconic establishment.

In 2014, the Embassy and IIC organized a seminar to mark the 300th birth anniversary of Lithuania’s classical writer Kristijonas Donelaitis.

In 2015, a joint Indo-Lithuanian arts exhibition was organized at the IIC premises.

And in 2016, the Embassy and IIC invited Delhi’s art lovers to an unusual virtual exhibition ‘without paintings,’ featuring digital reproductions in 3D format of the works of Lithuania’s most celebrated painter Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis.

India and Lithuania established their diplomatic relations on 27 April 1992.

Inputs & Photo: Embassy of Lithuania