The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to launch the India-UK year of Culture on February 27, 2017. The Queen extended an invitation to Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, for this Reception. Prime Minister nominated a delegation led by Hon’ble Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley to represent him at the reception. The delegation was composed of Mr. Suresh Gopi, MP, Mr. Swapan Dasgupta, MP, eminent actor Mr. Kamal Hassan and Mr. Simanchala Dash, Private Secretary to Finance Minister. This Reception provided a unique opportunity of renewing and revitalising our inextricable threads of cultural heritage and to enhance our engagement at a people to people level.
The reception was attended by High Commissioner, Mr. Y.K. Sinha, Mrs. Girija Sinha and close to 200 eminent persons from the cultural arena including sports, theatre, dance, films, art, design, food etc. The Earl of Wessex, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and Princess Eugenie also attended the reception.
Upon arrival, guests were treated to Indian-themed performances and a special Indian menu of canapés made by Royal chefs working alongside chefs from Royal chefs working alongside chefs from Veeraswamy, the UK’s oldest Indian Restaurant.
A projection of Indian motifs in the form of India’s national bird, the peacock was projected on the facade of the Palace. This projection was done by the High Commission of India in the UK and British Council together, with the idea of creating an image to reflect the deep and intricate bonds of cultural heritage between the UK and India, on the occasion of the Reception. The idea was to create an image which would not only launch the Year of Culture, but also to surprise and intrigue people, encouraging them to follow the UK/India Year of Culture. The image needed to be about India of course, but in particular to emphasize the richness in the diversity of its cultural traditions. The image used dance and music to showcase the richness of dance forms from across India, including northeast, far north and far south, ranging from classical and folk to contemporary dance forms & movements, including Kathak, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Kashmiri folk dances, interspersed with instruments like veena, gatum, sarod, sitar and Indian drums.
During the Reception, a Royal Collection display also gave guests a chance to see items from Royal visits to India, as well as gifts and manuscripts from the Royal Library.
Earlier in the day the Band of Grenadier Guards displayed a selection of Indian themed music, including tracks from the film Slumdog Millionaire.
To celebrate the 2017 year of culture, a host of events and exhibitions will take place in both UK and India, in partnership with the British Council, the Indian High Commission in London, UK institutions and their Indian counterparts.
Photo Credits: James Gifford-Mead