In a bid to promote the study of Indian languages and cultures, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) is planning to introduce scholarships to pursue such courses at universities abroad, officials familiar with the matter said.
“There are times when people who want to pursue these courses don’t have access to resources needed,” an official familiar with the matter said, requesting anonymity. “This way, the courses at universities abroad can be promoted, and more people can learn about Indian culture. Countries such as Switzerland and Japan are offering some great courses in the fields.”
The scholarships are not just confined to Indian nationals, but will available for any student interested in pursuing courses in Indology, Indian languages such as Hindi and Sanskrit and Indian cultures, the official said, adding that the move will help increase India’s cultural footprint.
Founded in 1950 by India’s first education minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, ICCR is an autonomous government body that looks after the country’s global cultural outreach. The organisation participates in wide-ranging activities, including formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations; foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding with other countries; and promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people.
ICCR is already working on a culture connect and using its alumni network to further build relationships. “India is all about culture, and in the era of globalisation, so many things get vitiated and distorted,” said ICCR president Vinay Sahasrabuddhe. “ICCR wants to ensure that the enduring legacy of India’s culture stays alive and is recognised by all.”
ICCR will also be hosting scholars from over 13 countries who are studying Sanskrit, Indology, Hindi, and Buddhist studies. Scholars from Australia, South Africa, Italy, Japan, Poland, Mauritius, South Korea, Kazakhsthan, Fiji, Russia and Tanzania, among others will attend the 10-day programme scheduled to start in the last week of May.
The organisation is also set to create a digital archive, capturing its over seven-decades long history. “There are 4,500 videos that are digitised and in the process of being catalogued,” the official cited above said. “ICCR is also working to create an in-house museum to showcase the history of the organisation.”