Indonesian Ambassador Sidharto Suryodipuro on Bali Yatra and ties with India
The Embassy of Indonesia kicked off the Kolkata leg of The Pride and Glory of Bali-Yatra today. As a part of the Yatra, a pictorial exhibition, a Coffee-table book and a documentary film – all put together by writer, photographer and filmmaker Sudip Sen, got unveiled at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).
The pictorial exhibition will be held at ICCR till June 11. There will also be a Balinese food festival at a Hyatt Regency from June 9 to 11 to celebrate the cultural ties.
"I am an Indonesian by birth and nationality and I feel privileged to represent my country here in India - a country we believe much of our heritage and culture came from. I am happy to present this unique project that highlights Indian cultural influence in Indonesia - a name that literally means 'Indian Islands' - and will, naturally, interest Indians at large ", said Sidharto Suryodipuro, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia, while inaugurating the Kolkata leg of the celebrations at the ICCR.
“This is a very good initiative and will help to further strengthen the good old bonds between India and Indonesia,” said Goutam De, regional director, ICCR.
On the sidelines of the event, Suryodipuro spoke exclusively to Indulge on the cultural ties between Indonesia and India and his love for Indian food.
This celebration is all about the ties between Bali and Kalinga. Are you kicking off this celebration across India?
For Bali Yatra in particular, we have organised the event in three cities across India -- Delhi, Kolkata and Bhubaneswar, with which we have deep-rooted and historical cultural ties. We concluded the event in New Delhi back in February, and now, in Kolkata. Later, we plan to have another event in Bhubaneswar in November.
What are the other cultural tie-ups that you are planning to further strengthen the relationship?
Oh, we have many, in fact, this is only one aspect. We are working on others as well. Also, for many years now, we have been very actively promoting Ramayana troupes, which visit India and vice versa, to know and study our culture and common heritage and deepen the ties. This is very strongly propagated and we are proud of the increasing interest among people in both the countries about our mythologies, most of which are common.
What are the things about Bali and Indonesia that you want to highlight in India?
Culturally, we share the same heritage and yet there are variations. Like in Mahabharata there are many characters in the Indonesian version which don’t exist in India and vice versa. Same goes for the Ramayana. Also, we have many things in common in terms of arts, textiles and weaving patterns. There are a lot of similarities. Once I saw a beautifully patterned, woven textile and thought it to be an Indosenian product, but I was surprised to find out that it was actually an Odishi work of art. There is such a striking similarity between your and our style of weaving.
How long have you been in India and what are the things you like most about India?
It has almost been 11 months now and I find the people very warm and engaging here, just like my countrymen. There are also a lot of similarities between the cities of the two countries, dynamic traffic being the foremost of them.
Which Indian foods do you like the most?
I love the fish that you Bengalis prepare with mustard seed paste. It is just too good and I eat it often. I also like the prawn dishes. The food here is just lip smacking (Laughs).