The festival 'Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities' began with 'Infinite Rhythms,' an open-air concert featuring India's Sivamani and Germany's premier solo percussionist Christoph Haberer.
An open-air concert launched 15 months of Indo-German celebrations in Delhi
This year, Germany and India celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations. The two have had a strategic partnership since the year 2000. Over the next 15 months, this festival will showcase the entire spectrum of the Indo-German strategic partnership in the spheres of politics, business, culture, education, science and research.
With a thematic focus on 'StadtRaume - CitySpaces,' the series of events staged across India will reflect on the implications of rapid urbanisation and challenges posed by the fast changes in cities of both countries today. Peter Loscher, Chairman of APA and president and CEO of Siemens AG said, "The words 'infinite opportunities' that aptly carry the motto of our project say a great deal about why this year is so meaningful for so many of us. Our goal is that the15 month celebration will help to enhance and further develop strategic partnerships between our countries, strengthening business ties, cultural links and personal connections."
Indian Dancers pose for photographers with elephant Tanja in the Zoo in Berlin
Technology, mobility, energy, development and more
The centerpiece of the project is the 'Mobile Space,' a set of cutting-edge multi-purpose pavilions, designed especially for the year of Germany in India by renowned German artist Markus Heinsdorff. The pavillions combine state-of-the-art steel and textile technologies from both countries. Not only that, issues like mobility, energy, sustainable city development, architecture, urban art and education will be prominently featured. Culture will also be a major component of the celebrations and German artists will be performing at over a dozen venues in India.
Taking the mutual cultural relations forward, Germany has granted 96 lakhs rupees (9.6 million euros) for the restoration and conservation of Chausath Khamba, a 16th century Mughal-era monument in Nizamuddin in Delhi.
Breathing life into the strategic partnership
The German Ambassador to India Thomas Matussek says, "With the year of Germany in India, we want to breathe life into our strategic partnership. We are setting up an exchange of ideas: people to people, Indians and Germans. German high-tech and Indian brains will find solutions to the challenges posed by rapid urbanisation. With the mobile space, a cluster of high-tech pavilions, we will create a buzz in seven of India's megacities, with a highly attractive program directed primarily at the young, urban, youth." Matussek adds "There is a debate going on back home regarding multiculturalism. We can not build islands of isolation with other communities. We need to interact with them and know their religion."
Strengthening the Indo-German friendship: Angela Merkel and Manmohan Singh
Besides, "India is an example for us as the majority of Hindus live in peace and harmony with minorities here. Different religions have co-existed peacefully here for centuries," says Matussek.
Germany year in India has been inaugurated simultaneously across seven Indian cities - Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad and Kolkata with various concerts and events. The project was initiated by the German Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institute, the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project is managed by the Goethe-Institute / Max Mueller Bhavan New Delhi. And amongst the corporate partners of the project are companies such as Bajaj Allianz, BASF, Bosch, Deutsche Bank and Siemens.
Autor: Debarati Guha
Editor: Grahame Lucas