Address by Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Honourable Vice President of India at the inauguration of the 1st International Kala Mela, organized by the Lalit Kala Akademi, in New Delhi on February 4, 2018.

New Delhi | February 4, 2018

“I am extremely happy to be amidst you to inaugurate the first International Kala Mela, which will showcase and celebrate various art and cultural forms from across India and abroad by providing a platform to artists from different genres. This indeed is a major international event of its kind and I must congratulate the organizers for holding it.

Sisters and brothers,

I recall what Mahatma Gandhi, who is reverentially called the Father of our nation, said about culture:

“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people”.

In essence, it is like the heartbeat of a civilization. It is an expression of its world view. It is a symbol of its value system. It represents the hopes and aspirations of its people. It chronicles the saga of their lives. It springs from the depths of their hearts and touches the inner core of humanity. It is truly the barometer of the quality of life.

Each country in the world has its own distinct culture. There is a unique richness in each of these cultures. Since we live in an interconnected world, there has been an intermingling of cultures. Our world is richer because of this diversity in cultures.

Gandhi ji had also said:

“No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive.”

We must collectively promote, through events like the one we are having today, a greater understanding and appreciation of the cultural diversity around the world.

Friends from different countries around the world!

Let me welcome you to India, a country that had believed that the entire world is like one large family. It is also a country that believed that we should treat our guests with reverence ‘Atithi Devobhava’.

India is one of the oldest civilizations with an unmatched richness in culture and heritage which are manifested in different art forms. Indeed, India is a cultural melting pot in which people from different religions, languages and ethnicities co-exist reflecting their unity in diversity. The spirit of tolerance and accommodation is an Indian way of life and best encapsulated by the principle of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (the entire universe is one family).

The cultural diversity of India from cuisine to various performing arts is represented by the distinct flavor of each region. Various musical genres, dance forms, plays, dramas, folk theatre, paintings, architecture and songs are as diverse as different flowers in a bouquet.

Culture and creativity manifest themselves in almost all economic, social and other activities. It can be a positive force that gives meaning to human life.

Dear Sisters and brothers,

We are inheritors of a rich intangible cultural heritage consisting of songs, music, dance, theatre, folk traditions, performing arts, rites and rituals, paintings and writings.

As the world is becoming increasingly globalized, we should preserve and propagate the best facets of our individual cultures. We should bring out the best traditions, noble ideals and the finest expressions of human excellence in all art forms. We have a unique opportunity today through technology to learn from each other, appreciate the subtle nuances of artistic expressions and enrich our collective cultural capital.

I urge all of you to continue your artistic pursuits and create a world of literature, music, dance, paintings, sculpture, architecture and other art forms.

I congratulate the Lalit Kala Akademi for fostering cultural contacts within the country and also with other countries, through art exhibition and such Art Festivals.

Sisters and brothers,

Let me mention to you that in the grand Indian tradition, there are 64 “kala”s or fine arts. We believe that goddess Lalitha is an embodiment of these fine arts. She is called “chatus-shasti- kalaamayi”. She is also “kalyani”, an embodiment of well being and happiness. It is this unique blend of “kala” with “kalyana” that we should aspire for. Let us strive for a world where art unites hearts. Let us avoid distracting cacophony and, together, create a symphony that makes our lives more livable.

As the Upanishadic sages in India said centuries ago: “Let us hear all that is pleasant, let us see all that is beautiful and with strong bodies and sound minds, dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of common good”.

Thank you. Jai Hind.”