New Delhi, December 09: Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge) Dr Mahesh Sharma yesterday inaugurated the three days ‘Bodhi Parva: BIMSTEC Festival of Buddhist Heritage’ in New Delhi. India is hosting the festival from December 08-10 as part of celebrations of 20th anniversary of BIMSTEC.
He said that the message of Lord Buddha is as relevant in the 21st century as it was two and a half millennia ago and has been a unifying force among nations. “The values of peace, accommodation, inclusiveness and compassion that are part of our societies can be attributed to the influence of the teachings of Lord Buddha and Buddhism” he added.
The Minister said “Bodhi Parva has entwined various threads of the Buddhist heritage into a beautiful melange including an exhibition of International and Indian Buddhist art and architecture, discourses by eminent scholars and practitioners of Buddhism, guided meditation and chanting by Buddhist monks and choir, screening of film on Buddhism, dance and music performances, quiz show and a food trail”. “These will help in building an awareness of BIMSTEC’s rich and common heritage” he added.
Sharma also said that India sees BIMSTEC as a natural platform to fulfil its key foreign policy priorities of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Act East’.
The inauguration ceremony of the ‘Bodhi Parva’ was also attended by Jeetendra Narayan Dev, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation of Nepal, Preeti Saran, Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Ibrahim Hossein Khan, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Bangladesh, Heads of Missions of BIMSTEC, member states and artists and scholars from India and other BIMSTEC member states.
On the occasion, Jeetendra Narayan Dev said “There is immense potential in connecting transnational Buddhist Heritage in BIMSTEC”. He stressed on the importance of conservation of Buddhist Heritage across BIMSTEC region, with its center at Lumbini.