Dear compatriots, Dear readers,
Our biannual cultural festival « Bonjour India » had a grand finale in Bombay with the quintet concert “Amarillis” with baroque music play by five young talented French ladies. Earlier they had also performed in Bhopal, chief tow of the neighbouring state of Madhya Pradesh where they also were a huge success. In Bombay only, the public, Indian in majority, showed an excellent welcome to the twelve cultural and artistic events which took place during the three months of the Festival. On evaluating, one can say that the efforts put forward by our Embassy in Delhi and its four Consulate Generals (Bangalore, Bombay, Calcutta, Pondicherry) in this event, finally paid off well, by judging the large press coverage which was given to it.
It was about the second edition of this Festival which is in the spirit of the close cooperation spread across all the domains which we maintain with our Indian partner and friend. “Namaste France” will take place in France next year.
I will soon be travelling to Gujarat to inaugurate the new building of the Alliance Française of Ahmedabad, which celebrates its thirty years of existence in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra. The French presence is visible in this state which is among the most dynamic states of India. One finds there several buildings at the time constructed by the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, the known photographer Henri Cartier Bresson had also stayed there several times. Several renowned French companies are present particularly on the axe which connects Ahmedabad, economic centre of Gujarat, and Baroda, its cultural centre: To cite a few - Alstom, Areva, Roquette, Schneider.
During a recent visit to Bhopal with the Ambassador Mr François Richier, we noted long French presence existence. In fact, we found there a descendant of the Bourbons, Mr Balthazar Napoléon de Bourbon. As far it goes, his ancestor named Jean de Bourbon was in service of the emperor Moghol Akbar in 1550. Later the lineage was I the service of the Begums of Bhopal.
This highlights the old Indo-French friendship and ties which we will be celebrating this year on several occasions!
I wish you Happy Easter and all our best wishes for the Indian new year : Gudi Padwa !
Jean-Raphaël Peytregnet Consul général de France à Bombay