Indian culture attracts more people across Russia and Ukraine
Relations with Russia and Ukraine are a key pillar of India's foreign policy, as Russia and Ukraine have been longstanding time-tested partners of India in Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation. There are more than 30,000 Indian people in Russia and about 20,000 in Ukraine. That is why it is no wonder that Ukrainian and Russian people are well-acquainted with Indian culture, its traditions and customs.
The most widely celebrated Indian holiday across Russia and Ukraine is festival of colours Holi. In the first warm days of spring, citizens of Ukraine and Russia of all nationalities try to spend more time outdoors, and, of course, enjoy the opportunity to take part in an interesting and bright event in the open air. Hundreds of people visit the traditional festival of Indian culture Holi, which is celebrated in honour of the incoming spring. It is celebrated during 2 days (usually in the end of March – at the beginning of April) at the full moon. This holiday is one of the favourite holidays among citizens of Kiev, Poltava, Sumy, Odessa, Moscow, St.Petesburg, Novosibirsk, Rostov-na-Donu, Tomsk, Irkutsk etc.
Holi is not the only Indian function, which is popular among Ukrainians and Russians. Every year an Indian Film Festival is held in Ufa.Deligent people like Mr. Shamil Abdrakov, Deputy Minister of Culture of Bashkortostan and Mr. Shankar Agarwal, Deputy Minister of Labour and Employment of India show their presence . Popular Indian movies are screened during the festival, which are well appreciated by the audience.
A very famous festival of Indian Culture in Russia “Namaste Russia” is held every year in the month of November in Moscow.Last year on the occasion, Mrs. Mangla Bhatt, a renowned artist, led 25-member group from Bharat Folk Art Academy from Telangana, dressed in colourful attires and with accompaniment of live music presented a 90-minute captivating folk and tribal dances from different parts of India. During the festival enthralling Bollywood, classical & contemporary dances and Blues music were presented to the Russian audiences by artists .Under the festival every year, many performing arts groups travel from India and participate in various events organized in different regions of Russian Federation during May – November.
A 3-day festival of Indian culture is also conducted in Novosibirsk and Kolosovo (Novosibirsk region).The festival includes Indian dance, music, yoga, film and Ayurved. During the festival Indian films are screened, lectures on Ayurveda, music therapy, yoga, and master classes on Indian classical dance and music along with a cultural performance are organized. The festival culminates with holding of Vasant International Festival of Indian Dance Competition.
A Festival of Indian Culture in Tomsk city is held annually in the month of March. Last year the festival was organized by Embassy of India, Moscow along with the Department of International and Regional Relations of Tomsk Region and the Imperial Energy Company. The cultural performances were made by the artistes from Parampara Group and the Bharat Dances Group. Embassy of India also organizes classes on yoga, dance, music and Mehndi during the Festival every year. Popular contemporary Bollywood movies are screened as part of the festival. Local residents and visitors participate enthusiastically in various events organized under the framework of Festival which showcase Indian culture and heritage in the Tomsk region.
Every year international Day of Yoga is celebrated in Ukraine and Russia with immense enthusiasm. In Russia and Ukraine, International Day of Yoga events are held in about 90 Russian and Ukrainian Regions, 300 cities and 500 venues with an overall participation of 90 000 people. The events include Yoga demonstration (asana) based on the Common Yoga Protocol. All events are open to all members of the public free-of-charge. IDY events envisage organisation of a free Yoga session with an aim to highlight the importance of healthy living through Yoga, an ancient Indian tradition, which embodies unity of mind and body and provides a holistic approach to health and well-being. Yoga has gained popularity throughout the world and particularly in Russia and Ukraine as a natural solution for holistic health, physical and mental wellbeing.
A Festival of Indian Dance is annually held in Poltava in mid May at the premises of Center for Ukraine-India Friendship Shanti. India boasts of now eight classical dance forms like Bharatanatyam, Kathak, Manipuri, Kathakali, Odissi, Kuchipudi, Mohiniattam and the recently recognized dance form of Assam, viz., Sattriya. With such charming energy and grace, dancing to the filmy tunes, executing mixed steps of Bharatanatyam and Kathak, offering pranam, salutations with the anjali hasta mudra, all participants dance like seasoned dancers and steal the show. Mr. Manoj K. Bharti, Ambassador of India to Ukraine, is a constant guest at this festival.
Every year in April a week of Indian Culture is held at the National Library for Children in Kiev, Ukraine. In this festival various famous Indian stories are narrated to the children, which make young generation aware and well flourished with Indian heritage and culture.
Such events in increasing frequency are held in different cities of two countries and show the interest of Ukrainian and Russian people in the cultures of the other countries, as well as their hospitability and tolerance.
Ukrainian and Russian people take an active interest in the Indian culture, they are glad to meet guests from India and celebrate amity and togetherness of all people, and to enrich their culture in such a way.