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Remarks by Ambassador at the Inauguration of ‘Namaste Switzerland- 2018’ on December 17, 2018

Posted on: December 17, 2018 | Back | Print

Remarks by Ambassador at the Inauguration of ‘Namaste Switzerland- 2018’ on December 17, 2018
Your Excellency Ambassador Raphael Nageli, Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, Good Evening.

Let me begin by welcoming HE Ambassador Raphael Nageli to this evening today. I congratulate my colleagues in the Embassy and the Members of the Indian Diaspora in Switzerland who made this Namaste Switzerland and the three exhibitions that we organise today possible.

As I complete one year in Switzerland, I can say for sure that as a diplomat, one is happy to be in Switzerland, one of the most beautiful of the countries in the world. It is also one of the most happening countries in the world. A country which ranks among the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, quality of life, economic competitiveness, innovation index and human development. Here in Switzerland, every Canton, every city and every small township has something unique to offer.

As a diplomat, one feels so proud to represent India, which is one of the oldest, largest and perhaps among the very few continuous major civilizations in the world. Let me repeat a story that I said earlier. A story in ancient history, when Alexander the Macedonian, after having crossed Persia, came to India, met a sage on the banks of the river Indus, who he referred to as a wise man, in Greek. This sage sat on a rock and spent all day staring at the sky. Alexander asked him what he was doing and the sage replied, "Experiencing nothingness.” The sage asked Alexander what he was doing. Alexander replied, "I am conquering the world.” Both laughed. For Alexander, the sage was wasting his one and only life experiencing nothingness! For the sage, Alexander was wasting his time trying to conquer a world that has no limits, with a sense of urgency that made no sense when one lives infinite lives. The fact, however is that, the empire that Alexander built collapsed within a few years of his death. But Indian spirituality continues to attract the world towards her.

You feel honored to represent a country which has over 1/6th of the population of the world. That means every sixth person in the world is an Indian, with a 1.3 billion population. A country which has over 30 million Indian diaspora abroad. This diaspora has branched out all over the world today. Well assimilated, it is studded with Nobel Laureates, Booker Prize winners, Emmy Awardees, distinguished physicians, engineers, businessmen, IT experts and Artists and spiritual leaders. The diaspora wherever they are, have produced successful entrepreneurs, beloved educationists, astronauts, stars in every profession and good civic minded citizens. This diaspora is now nurturing a second and third generation including in Switzerland that will surely outshine its parents, at the same time cherishing the fine traditions of India.

We Indians come from different parts of India, North, South, East and West. We speak different languages, we worship different Gods, we eat different foods, we wear different clothes, but there is a feeling of oneness and common consciousness that keeps us together, make us proud of our nation India. We are a nation of unity in diversity. The diversity is our strength. Every diverse culture in India flourishes, every religion in India flourishes. We have a constitution which guarantees freedom of expression, belief, faith, worship.  

This year is a special year for India – Swiss relations. This is the 70th anniversary of the signing of Friendship Treaty between India and Switzerland signed in 1948. We have organised a Festival of India in several cities in Switzerland With the active involvement of our Diaspora we are organising a week long cultural gala ‘Namaste Switzerland’. I thank the Diaspora for their efforts to celebrate India – Switzerland Friendship; Connecting Himalayas with Alps. I thank the parents for bringing their children in large numbers to participate in Namaste Switzerland. 

I once again thank HE Ambassador Raphael Nageli for join us today. 

Thank you.