Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary was commemorated in Slovenia with a wreath-laying ceremony in the city of Slovenj Gradec, an international city of peace which has installed in its central park a statue of the apostle of peace.
Wreaths and flowers were laid by city mayor Andrej Cas and his councillors, citizens and members of the Indian community. Two minutes’ silence in prayerful memory of the martyrs of the Indian struggle for independence was observed at 1100 hours in sub-zero temperatures that had the city under layers of snow.
The school band of Slovenj Gradec concluded the ceremony by playing some favourite hymns of Mahatma Gandhi, which he regularly used in his prayer meetings, including “Abide with Me”.
This day brought to a conclusion the first edition of the “Days of India in Slovenia”, which began on Jan 18 with an Indian-Slovenian concert of Carnatic and fusion guitar music by Prasanna accompanied by a Slovenian tabla maestro.
A jazz and rock concert followed in the town of Celje, a photo exhibition on the life of Mahatma Gandhi was inaugurated at Ljubljana by the president of the Slovenian National Assembly, Janko Veber.
India participated for the first time in the Alpe-Adria tourism fair, the largest trade show on tourism in the region and an Indian film society was initiated at the University of Ljubljana.
The festival concludes Thursday with a lecture on poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore by Slovenian Indologist Ana Jelnikar. The festival has been supported by the government, municipalities and universities of Slovenia and the Public Diplomacy Division of India’s external affairs ministry.
It has been attended by hundreds of Slovenians at all levels ranging from former president Danilo Turk, who is now a candidate in the next election for the post of UN Secretary General, to school children. In the process, it has increased the awareness of Indian aspirations and created more avenues for bilateral cooperation between two friendly nations, said a press release from the embassy here.
Slovenia, a country of two million people in Central Europe, treats India as a “focus country” in its international relations. Trade turnover grew by over ten percent in the first nine months of 2013. Memoranda of Understanding were signed by Air India with Adria Airways and Prasar Bharati with RTV Slovenia.
A Slovenia-India business club has been initiated in both countries to promote trade and business.