Report : India and Central Asia Conference
International Research Division of India International Centre in collaboration with Institute of Indo Persian Studies organized International Conference: India and Central Asia on 3-4 December 2018 at IIC, New Delhi. Thirty five participants from Central Asian countries, Iran and different parts of India discussed various aspects of language, literature, culture, art, geo-politics, etc. of Central Asia and India in the conference. Ambassador Ashok Sajjanhar delivered a warm welcome address and thanked the distinguished audience present in Kamladevi Complex at the inaugural session of the conference. He expressed his appreciation for the genuine interest of Dr Kapila Vatsyayan to conceptualize the meaningful themes of the conference and the graceful presence of Shri. N.N. Vohra, President IIC to chair the session. He has rightly said that Central Asia is a pivotal point and critical area of the world and is an extended neighborhood of India. Yet, very little is known about this region in our country. Professor Syed Akhtar Husain spoke at length about the concept of the conference. It was conceptualized under the meticulous guidance of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan , Ambs. IP Khosla, Yogendra Kumar, Sham Saran, Nalin Suri, Ashok Sajjanhar and Raghunath. He also acknowledged the volume Culture, Society and Politics in Central Asia and India edited by N.N Vohra twenty years back which still shed light for those who would tread the way from India to Central Asia.
Shri. N.N. Vohra, President IIC appreciated the theme of the seminar and acknowledged the fact that India’s relation with Central Asia existed two thousand years ago and study of the past and present culture is essential to carry forward our shared legacy with Central Asia. He thanked Dr. KapilaVatsyayan for asking him to chair the inaugural session of the conference. He spoke in details on India’s engagement with Central Asian region during and after the Soviet rule. He recollected one of his visits to one of the Central Asian countries where he found people were in a beautiful mosque but they did not know how to offer their prayers. However, he appreciated the efforts of International Research Division of IIC to promote amity and understanding and knowledge and discourses among peoples. He lauded the efforts of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan to collaborate with IIPS in the past and presently to host conference on India and Central Asia at IIC. Air Marshal Naresh Verma, Director, IIC thanked the dignitaries on the stage and learned audience for participating in the inaugural session.
Eight academic sessions were held in the conference. On day one, the speakers discussed history, religion, language, literature, linguistics affinity, geography, art and architecture of India and Central Asia. The contemporary issues pertaining to politics, geo-strategy, connectivity and measures to strengthen the cultural ties between India and Central Asian countries were deliberated by eminent speakers from India and abroad on day two.
Shri M. Hamid Ansari graced the valedictory session of the seminar as a speaker and Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan kindly chaired the session. She said that India had not done enough to connect itself to Central Asia. It is a very important region that connects different cultures and civilizations. She heard all speakers with rapt attention and with all her humility she said that she had learnt a lot from them and thanked them for making the conference meaningful.
Prof. Syed Akhtar Husain read a comprehensive report of the conference and called upon Dr. Laura Yarekesheva and Prof. Sanjay Kumar Pandey to express their frank remarks on the conference. Dr, Yarekesheva deeply appreciated the presence of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan from morning till evening in all the session of the two day conference. She admired her as a source of inspiration for the scholars from India and abroad. She praised the publications of 6 books by IIC International Research Division under the chairmanship of Dr. Karan Singh and 13 books under chairpersonship of Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan and looked forward for 4 forthcoming publications. She appreciated the torch of knowledge being lit by Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan in IIC and wished the same to be handed over to Central Asia in future. Dr Sanjay Kumar Pandey noted a paradox in the deliberations in the conference. The past showed intense interactions between India and Central Asia and the present presented India not as a significant player in the region. Connectivity is a big impediment between the two important regions. Both the speakers lauded the efforts of the organizers to host the conference fruitfully in their remarks.
Hon’ble Dr Hamid Ansari while delivering the valedictory address recollected that a similar event was organized by IIC twenty years back. He appreciated the continuous efforts of IIC and IIPS to host conferences in which the cultural, religious and civilizational relations between India and Central Asia being discussed. He has noted that there has been a physical proximity of India to Central Asia. Buddhism percolated from India into Central Asia. The famous Central Asian scholar Alberuni wrote about India in his encyclopedic work Ma’al Hind which remained a classic till date. But the British rule in India and the imperial Russian expansion in Central Asia disrupted the process of human and commercial contacts for centuries between the two regions. At the end, he expressed that the present conclave of scholars surely added to the compendium of human knowledge that would promote connectivity, freer movements of goods and services and mutually beneficial co-operations between South and Central Asia.
Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan graciously presented a muffler as souvenir to Shri. Hamid Ansari, foreign participants and the organizers of the conference. Dr. Md. Arshadul Qadri thanked Hon’ble Hamid Ansari for delivering the valedictory address and expressed deep gratitude to Dr. Kapila Vatsyayan in an Urdu couplet : Ruke to barq, chale to, hawaoo jaisa hain Wo shakhash dhup me dhekho to chhauon jaisa hain
He thanked all the ambassadors who have chaired the academic sessions of the conference and the speakers, participants and organizers of IIC- International Research Division and IIPS for making the conference fruitful and meaningful.