New Delhi, April 24 :
Admitting that trade and commerce were the most important tools in a bilateral relationship, Egyptian Ambassador Khaled El Bakly says his country was going all out to spread a “love campaign” to strengthen people-to-people contacts between the two ancient civilisations.
“This art exhibition of Egyptian treasures and calligraphy is the first one in the love campaign we are planning. Next there will be a film festival followed by folklore festival and music festival. We want to connect to more people and we want to connect with Indian people culturally,” Bakly told IANS.
The Egyptian art exhibition at India International Centre will take place April 24-30 and the embassy plans to hold a similar exhibition in Jamia Milia Islamia soon, he said.
The exhibition has three dimensions – pictures of old jewellery of Egypt, antiquities of Egypt and Arabic calligraphy.
The exhibition houses more than a couple of dozen photographs of Egyptian antiquities and jewelleries. The shell-shaped waist belt of pure gold or a gold and silver vulture-shaped necklace will surely attract many eyeballs. A diamond-studded pure gold pocket watch with an enamelled portrait of Muhammad Al Pasha or a flower-shaped platinum and gold crown encrusted with 1,506 diamonds are some of the rare priceless items on display.
It also has replicas of ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses like Hathor – the goddess of principles of joy, feminine love and motherhood, Anubis – god of death, and Maat – goddess of righteousness, truth and justice, among others.
A colourful bust of Queen Nefertiti or a replica of Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun representing march towards a battlefield are a sight to behold.
“Many of the pictures of ancient artefacts are very similar to that of objects found in India. This will definitely thrill lots of Indians,” he said.
The Arabic calligraphy on exhibition spans from the time of Pharaohs till the Middle Age.
“We plan to do seminars and road shows across India to strengthen cultural ties and attract people for tourism. We want to go to the people of India so that they can come to us,” the ambassador added.
Egypt and India have ties dating back to the days of the Non-Aligned Movement. The ties had flagged during the 29-year-long (1981 to February 2011) autocratic rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak but these were sought to be revived after the Arab Spring uprising that brought the Muslim Brotherhood-led elected government of Mohamed Morsi to power in 2012. Morsi visited India in March last year before he was overthrown and put into jail.
Egypt is going through another transition as the country is waiting with anticipation for the election of a new president next month following the ouster in July last year of Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected president of the country.