Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 7
In a novel experiment, Lithuania brought out a publication—History of Lithuania—in Hindi in order to bring the Baltic country closer to India with which it shares a link in Sanskrit. The book brought out by its Embassy in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) was launched at a function here.
The Foreign Secretary of Lithuania, Laimonas Talat-Kelpša, who came in especially for the event from Vilnius, recalled the idea of the book in Hindi emerged after his first brush with the language when he was posted to New Delhi at the Ambassador.
‘’I was told, the formalities required that the accreditation forms would have to be filled in Hindi too and then I realised there was no official way in Hindi to spell our country. One thing led to another over time including the then Ambassador hiring a Hindi teacher to learn the language,” he said.
Now he can follow, understand and converse in the language with ease as he now hopes that the book would go a long way in filing up curious Indians who wish to explore and understand Lithuania, a country with which Mahatma Gandhi’s “soulmate” Hermann Kallenbach comes from.
The Lithuanian language shares many words similar to those in Sanskrit. For instance, back home they say “Dievas” when appealing to God; “Labas” while wishing each other wealth and prosperity; “Sapnas” for dreams and visions; or “Ugnis” for fire. As a measure of the age-old ties, in 2016 he presented Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a specially published Sanskrit-Lithuanian dictionary.
Former union minister MJ Akbar, during whose tenure at the External Affairs Ministry the book project was planned, was among those who participated in a panel discussion along with Pushpesh Pant, Lithuanian Foreign Secretary Talat-Kelpsa and Alfonssashonsus Eidintas, diplomat-historian -cum-author of the book. Ambassador Julius Pranevicius and ICCR Director General Akhilesh Mishra made the opening presentations about the venture and contribution to bilateral relations.
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