Forging Intercultural Dialogue in India’s home in Europe
Letter from the Honorary President Jacques Cloarec
“Depending on the perspective from which we look at a labyrinth,
we will see it as an insurmountable problem or we will see the first step to finding our way out”.
Dear Board Members, Friends and Collaborators,
The Harsharan Foundation, created by Alain Daniélou in 1969 and which became FIND – India Europe Foundation for New Dialogues in 2013, is a small institution involved in fostering exchange, dialogue and cultural relations between India and the West for almost half a century.
Alain Daniélou believed that India and its cultural heritage was a fundamental element in widening the horizons of Western ideas and concepts. This belief was born from his profound understanding of India—where he lived for almost twenty years, his international contacts and his unflinching conviction in the beliefs, culture and philosophy of the Indian sub-continent. Indeed, broadening the Western concept of society and religion has been the prime objective of the Foundation since its inception and we are pleased to say that FIND today still continues to follow in the footsteps first traced by Alain Daniélou many years ago.
Today’s Europe now shows signs of old age. This is even more evident when one travels in India or in Asia, something that I have done recently; hope and enthusiasm for the future are visible and pervade all levels of society. There is and has always been a continual exchange between our two worlds. Were not India and China the epitome of civilisation in the pre-Christian era while we in the West were distant and far-removed? One talks today of crisis in the West but are we not at the low point in a long and implacable decline?
We can see that this “crisis” has mostly affected the so-called Western economies, and in particular, its cultural resources and so we ask ourselves, “what is our role in this scenario”.
FIND has prepared a series of ambitious programmes aimed at fostering dialogue between India and the West and which will hopefully become the seed for further long-term projects. To this regard, I would like to thanks all of you—staff, researchers, grant holders, and experts—who, despite these difficult times have continued to contribute enthusiastically to our projects, adapting and adjusting you efforts with comprehension and understanding.
We are entering a rather more austere period but, following the excellent work and invaluable experience gained in 2013, FIND will continue to follow a series of priority projects that are part of a vaster cultural programme of the highest quality. Thus, we intend to continue to consolidate our relationships with other cultural institutions and to create new synergies to bring about a series of long-term projects for the future.
This year, we will support a number of different artists, well-known in India and abroad and representing various artistic disciplines such as cinema, literature, contemporary art and photography through our residency and grants programmes; we will also host the second edition of our Summer Mela, including a series of events held between Rome, Venice and Zagarolo; FIND sponsored artists and researchers will also participate in photography festivals, contemporary art exhibitions, and international debates on contemporary social issues.
This year, seven grants will be awarded to young scholars and researchers to support their research and creative activities and which we intend to continue for 2015.
Finally, I would like to communicate three major projects that we will conclude this year:
- the birth of ASIEUR, a publishing house which will release various works of Alain Daniélou and other authors in an e-book format; this project is directed by Anne Ramaekers;
- the completion of a project started in 1936 involving the Semantic, a microtonal instrument devised by Daniélou and now created in a physical and virtual versions by Michel Geiss and Christian Braut who were later joined by Jacques Dudon;
- the release of the documentary-film on the life of Alain Daniélou by the documentary film-maker Riccardo Biadene.
While we approach Shivaratri or the Winter Solstice of the northern hemisphere at the end of this month, we renew our long-standing tradition of offering our best wishes for this universal event which depends not on religion, beliefs, country nor on Mankind but only on the Gods and the heavenly bodies. Thus, we mark this celestial event as we do every year with the Summer Solstice which has now become the International Festival of Music, undoubtedly following the visit of its creator and founder to Villa Il Labririnto in Zagarolo in 1980.
With my best wishes,
31st January 2014