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Rediscovering India...


THE INVISIBLE magnetism drawing East to West and West towards the East has been recognised for centuries, Rudyard Kipling notwithstanding. From Columbus' accidental discovery of America, setting off forever the `Indian' confusion, to the computer wizards and class toppers in academic bastions across the world, Indians have not only reciprocated the journeys of westerners to Indian shores by settling in large numbers in the U.S., U.K., Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, but also demolished stereotypes and showed their adventurous spirit to the extent of breaking into the ranks of legislators and politicians in their adopted countries. Paying tribute to this global phenomenon, the Indian Government's Ministry of External Affairs teams up with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to celebrate Pravasi Bharatiya Divas - a three-day Indian Diaspora festival that begins today.

Among the events are special film screenings at Siri Fort auditorium. The films include Barry Alexander Brown's "Lonely in America", Prakash Belwadi's "Stumble" and "Green Card Fever" directed by Bala Rajasekharuni. Hindi movies like "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" and "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham" have already been screened as part of this festival. There is also a special exhibition at the National Science Centre, `Our Science and Technology Heritage'. On the art front, the National Gallery of Modern Art is hosting an exhibition, `Pictorial Transformation', described as a comprehensive representation of developments in Indian art since the 1850s. The National Museum is putting up `Prakriti and Purusa: Eternal Images of Indian Art'

Eminent non-resident Indians and people of Indian origin are expected to take part in the festival.

Not surprisingly, the U.K. High Commision has taken particular interest in the project. Among the famous personalities of Asian origin expected from Britain are Lord Dholakia, Liberal Democrat peer, along with his wife. Other Asian Britons the U.K. High Commission is proud to include are Lord Swraj Paul, chairman of the Caparo Group - the largest family-owned business in the U.K. - and Karan Bilimoria, who received the United Kingdom Asian of the Year Award in 2002 and is founder-CEO of Cobra Beer.

Extravaganzas by Indian film stars as well as a gala concert by Pandit Ravi Shankar and Bismillah Khan on sitar and shehnai are slated for the festival which will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

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