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Speech by Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj to open “Appa Deepo...
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Ladies and Gentlemen,

Welcome to a night like no other. A night where, for a brief moment in time, we forget about our everyday lives. We forget about why we’re here, or who forced us to come, we only know that we are here to watch a performer like no other: Dr. Sonal Mansingh. Having been honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan, among the highest civilian honours from India, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award and numerous other awards, it is undoubtedly a moment of pride for us Indians to watch her team and her perform in Bhutan tonight.

As a personal favourite, Sonal Mansingh echoes words of art with a voice of extraordinary power and elegance. Thus, her performance today serves as a reminder of why the arts are essential.

The arts stand for unity in a chaotic world. They stand for self expression and now, more than ever, they are a necessity. To be an artist, is to tell a story which has the potential to ignite powerful emotion within the world. And it is one of the many threads which binds culture and diversity.

The Upanishads have said:

Human beings cannot live without challenge. We cannot live without meaning. Everything ever achieved we owe to this inexplicable urge to reach beyond our grasp, do the impossible, know the unknown.”

It is Art which challenges us to look at our world with depth. It is Art which possesses the power to give meaning to the seemingly abstract. And it is Art which has the potential to drive our curiosity and allow us to delve into dark waters in search for knowledge. We learn to discover the unfamiliar territory of our own mind and unite through shared emotion.

India is a country with 35 States and Union Territories, 22 official languages as listed in the Constitution written in 13 different scripts, with well over 700 dialects and 8 recognized classical dances. And with Indian roots embedded in mathematics, science, philosophy and art, India’s culture is one which possesses both breadth and depth. With over 1 billion people, our platform for cultural expression is undoubtedly vast. Yet, it is our country’s ability to celebrate this diversity and allow it to become part of the world, which makes India’s cultural expression, so unique.

Thus, it makes tonight even more special, we have our closest friends, in this room: a room where one of India’s most passionate and powerful performers takes the stage, to remind us of who we are.

And now Ladies and Gentlemen, there is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so let us hand over the stage to Dr. Sonal Mansingh.

Thank You!

Tashi Delek!

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