India-Serbia Cultural Relations
Serbia is a culturally vibrant country and Serbians value people to people contacts. There is a lot of interest in Indian culture and TV serials. The Mission has taken several initiatives in taking cultural diplomacy to the next level.
2. Initiatives on Yoga, Ayurveda and Homeopathy
- Yoga, Ayurveda and Homeopathy are recognized in Serbian law and their practice in Serbia is coordinated through registered associations in these fields. Yoga is popular with all streams of Yoga being taught and practiced.
- The Embassy funded Serbian book “Yoga - Mind and Body” by an Indologist Professor Dusan Pajin.
- An eminent local expert on traditional medicines, Prof. Vuk Stambolovic, currently serving as Vice President, Commission of Traditional Medicine, Ministry of Health, helped the Mission in organizing an expert level meeting on “Traditional Medicine – Goals & Challenges” in the Serbian Ministry of Health in April 2015 to facilitate interaction between the heads of local Yoga, Ayurveda & Homeopathy institutions and senior officials of the Ministry.
- Serbian medical doctors specializing in Yoga, Ayurveda & Homeopathy visited India for training in AYUSH institutions for clinical application of Indian traditional medicines in primary health care centres of Serbia.
- An Ayurveda Centre is in the process of being established in the Embassy to guide the practice of traditional medicines in the right direction.
- An International Ayurveda Conference is scheduled to be held in Belgrade on 9-10 May 2016.
- On 19 June 2016, second International Day of Yoga (IDY) will be observed. Government of Serbia had co-sponsored India’s Resolution for Yoga Day in the United Nations.
- In recognition of Serbia's contribution to Yoga, Mr Predrag K Nikic, President of the Yoga Federation of Serbia, was conferred 'Padam Shri' in March 2016.
3. Popularity of Indian Leaders in Serbia
- Tagore, Gandhi and Nehru are well known names in Serbia.
- Birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and International Day of Non-violence is regularly commemorated at the Gandhi street in Belgrade.
- In March 2015, the Mission organized a unique interactive multi-media presentation on Mahatma Gandhi by the noted author and speaker Mr. Birad Rajaram Yajnik which was attended by nearly 3000 Serbian nationals and dignitaries at the Sava Centre. About 150 book titles have been translated into Serbian language.
- The 125th birth anniversary of noted Constitution maker and social reformer, Dr. B.R.Ambedkar was commemorated through telecast of documentary film on him by Radio Television of Serbia (RTS), lectures at Universities, schools and cultural societies etc, publication of special articles in leading newspapers and magazines, etc.
4. Participation in Local Events
Embassy’s initiatives in recent years have included participation in
- Belgrade International Tourism Fair by Incredible India (2014, 2015 & 2016),
- Belgrade Fashion Week by Manish Arora (2014),
- Belgrade Design Week by Prof. Satya Sheel (2014),
- Belgrade International Book Fair (2013, 2014 & 2015),
5. Indian Performance Groups
Indian performance groups continue to be popular in Serbia and recent programmes include:
- Kathak Dance Group led by Ms. Rujuta Soman Amogh (2014),
- Rajasthani Puppet Group led by Mr Vinod Bhatt (2014),
- Fusion Band 'East India Company' led by Mr Angaraag Mahanta-Papon( 2014),
- Rudra Veena group led by Dr Jayanta Kumar Das (2015),
- Katkatha' Puppet Group (2015),
- “Laya, Taal, Samvaad” Indian classical music group led by Pandit Sadanand Naimpalli (2015),
- Bharatnatyam group led by Ms Jyotsana Jagannathan (2015),
- Guitar group led by Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt who participated in Guitar Art Festival 2016 (Mar 2016),
- Stree Shakti' percussion band led by Ms Anuradha Pal (Mar 2016).
6. Indian Exhibitions
Indian exhibitions are regularly held in Serbia, most recent ones being:
- Indian Saree exhibition and Saree Fashion Show at Ethnographic Museum, Belgrade (2014).
- ICCR exhibition "Temple, Forts and Palaces- 2000 Years of Indian Archtitecture" by Dr Saryu Doshi hosted by National Bank of Serbia, Belgrade (2015).
- ‘Digital Prints of Artworks by Rabindranath Tagore’ hosted by National Library of Serbia in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Zrenjanin (2015).
- Exhibition on India Serbia Photography Contest 2014, showcasing 25 prize winning entries each from India and Serbia, hosted by Museum of Applied Arts (2015). The INDIASERBIA Photography Contest 2014 was launched at EXIT Festival in Novi Sad on 10th July 2014 in which more than 1500 photography enthusiasts participated.
7. Cultural Exchanges
- University of Belgrade commenced a new course ‘Cultural History of India’ in 2015 on popular demand.
- An MOU has been established between Serbian think tank Institute for International Politics and Economics (IIPE) and Association of Indian Diplomats operating on behalf of ICWA.
- An MOU has been established with Faculty of Philosophy, University of Novi Sad for a Hindi Chair.
- ICCR has deputed an Indian tabla teacher to Serbia.
- Three Serbian artists participated in the 1st International Watercolor Society India Biennale 2015 held in New Delhi from 3-8 December 2015.
- Prominent Serbian Cartoonist Toso Borkovic of daily ‘Vecernje Novosti’ won the first prize for his Cartoon with Education as the theme at the International Web Cartoon contest held in India in July 2015.
8. Educational Exchanges
- Regular student exchanges take place under the International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Expertise (IAESTE); between 2012 and 2015, 31 Indian and 30 Serbian students benefitted from this programme.
- An eight-member Serbian team participated in the 46th International Physics Olympiad held at Mumbai in July 2015 and won 3 medals and 2 certificates.
- Dr. Dattesh D. Parulekar, Indian Forum for Integrated National Security participated at the Conference 'National & International Security: Contemporary Global Challenges' organized by John Naisbitt University and Research Institute for European and American Studies (RIEAS) in February 2016.
9. Cooperation in Films
There is close collaboration between India and Serbia in the field of films.
- Prominent Serbian Film Producer & Director Goran Paskaljevic, shot the first ever Indo-Serbian film co-production 'Dev Bhoomi' (Land of the God), based on the theme of girl child education in the backdrop of Uttarakhand. The film will be premiered at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September 2016.
- The first Indian film – remake of the French film “Untouchables” – was shot in Serbia.
- Indian film Director, Chaitanya Tamhane’s film ’’Court’’ and Gurvinder Singh’s feature film 'Chauthi Koot' (The Fourth Direction) won the Grand Prix “Aleksandar Sasa Petrovic” Award for the best film at the Auteur Film Festival held in Belgrade in December 2014 and 2015 respectively.
- The Indian film 'Ludo' by director Qaushiq Mukherjee won NIN award for Best film at the 44th International Film Festival Belgrade (26 Feb to 06 Mar 2016).
- Serbian film director Goran Radovanovic's film 'Enclave' received special mention from the jury at the 46th International Film Festival of India held in Goa in November 2015 and was also screened at the 14th Pune International Film Festival in January 2016.
- Mr. Nenad Dukic, a noted Serbian film critic, was part of the jury at the 14th Pune International Film Festival in January 2016. Also, Mr Borislav Andelic, Film Critic, Daily News journal 'Vecernje Novosti' visited India to participate in Kolkata International Film Festival in November 2015 as a Special Guest.
10. Cooperation in Sports
Regular exchanges of sportspersons have taken place, including participation of :
- Indian Chess player Mr. Siva Mahadevan in the GM Tournament “Sumarice” in Serbia,
- Serbian tennis players in Indian ITF Tennis Tournaments,
- 28-member Indian women boxing team in the 5th Nations Cup Boxing Tournament in Serbia,
- Appointment of Mr. Marko Zarkovic as an international basketball coach by the Rajasthan State Sports Council.
11. Tourism Promotion
- Since 2014, Indian Embassy has regularly participated in successive editions of Belgrade International Tourism Fair held in February every year. Other tourism promotion activities have involved outdoor promotion through buses, LED displayes, billboards, special supplements, etc.
- Serbian government allows visa-free entry upto 90 days for Indian passports holding valid Schengen /UK&US visas.
- To encourage tourism to India, Government of India has provided e-Tourist Visa (eTV) facility to Serbia (https://indianvisaonline.gov.in/visa/tvoa.html). eTV facility is in addition to the existing visa services provided by the Indian Embassy in Belgrade.
- The number of Serbians visiting India has shown year on growth of 17% in 2015.
12. Social Media
- In order to connect directly with the public, Embassy is active on the following social media platforms:
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/IndiaInSerbia
Twitter : https://twitter.com/IndiaInSerbia
Mobile App : “India in Serbia“ is available on Google Play and App Store.
- Embassy has been subscribing to a banner on Serbia's most visited search engine www.krstarica.com for publicizing Indian cultural, commercial and other activities/events.