Russian culture makes its mark in India

The Russian Center of Science and Culture in New Delhi celebrated its 45th anniversary recently by organizing a gala event. A dance troupe from Siberia performed their folk dances in front of a cheering audience.

The Russian Center was set up in New Delhi in 1965 to promote cultural exchanges between the two countries and to encourage the study of Russian language and culture. Since then, four more centers have been set up in other cities in India.

Fyodor Rozovsky, Director of Russian Centre of Science and Culture, says that “There are totally five Russian Centers across India, the most in any country. This shows the importance India has for the Russian people.”

The popularity of Russian language in India has accelerated with the growing trade ties between the two BRIC Countries. With bilateral trade set to hit $10 billion in 2010, many young Indians are choosing to study Russian over other foreign languages.

“It’s booming these days,” enthuses student Dheeraj Dhingra. “Russian language is in. I could have learnt German, French, Russian or Chinese. I quit those languages, because French and German are very common these days, and Chinese is too tough. That’s why I went for Russian.”

Russian culture too is in demand. An exhibition of Russian art in the 19th and 20th Centuries is currently on at the Russian Center in New Delhi. Entitled “Russian Winter”, the exhibition will be shown in some 70 countries, with India being the first.

“It means a lot to me, because I’ve been studying here for more than one and a half years, “ says Rashmi Rajput, another student of Russian. “We are learning the Russian language, as well as we are getting an introduction to Russian culture. These paintings have been brought from St. Petersburg’s museum. We are very lucky we are seeing them here in Delhi.”

The exhibition was inaugurated to coincide with Prime Minister Putin’s recent visit to India, where several agreements were signed in defense supplies and nuclear technology. These areas are the centerpiece of the growing strategic partnership between the two countries.