High Commissioner’s remarks for ICCR Scholars’ evening and Distinguished Alumni award presentation ceremony চলমান ঘটনাবলী

আইসিসিআর স্কলার্স ইভনিং ও বিশিষ্ট প্রাক্তন শিক্ষার্থীদের পুরস্কার বিতরণ অনুষ্ঠানে হাই কমিশনারের বক্তব্য


High Commission of India


High Commissioner’s remarks for ICCR Scholars’ evening and Distinguished Alumni award presentation ceremony


(15 November 2019)


It is a matter of great privilege for me to be part of this evening to present the ICCR Distinguished Alumni award to Ms. Rezwana Choudhury Bannya. For us, I mean the High Commission of India in Dhaka, Bannya represents not only the bridge that ICCR builds between the countries but also she has been a constant source of support for our various initiatives. Bannya rendered Gandhiji’s favourite bhajan “Vaishnava Janato” for the album by Ministry of External Affairs to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.


2. To quote Rabindranath Tagore when he started Viswa Bharati, “Visva-Bharati represents India where she has her wealth of mind which is for all. Visva-Bharati acknowledges India's obligation to offer to others the hospitality of her best culture and India's right to accept from others their best.” Gurudev would have been pleased to see the fulfilment of his aspirations through ICCR alumni, particularly Bannya. Our visiting scholars from Bangladesh act as a living bridge between our two countries as envisaged by Tagore when he chose the motto for Viswa Bharati – “Yatra visvam bhavatieka nidam” which means, "Where the whole world meets in a single nest." Thank you, Bannya, for your valuable contribution that we deeply cherish.


3. The Distinguished Alumni award was constituted in 2015 to recognize foreign students who have studied in various Indian universities under the ICCR sponsored or supported scholarship schemes and has made exemplary contribution in enhancing goodwill and friendship between India and their own country. For us, we cannot have found a better representative of this value than Rezwana Chowdhury Bannya. Bannya did her Bachelors and Masters in Music from Viswa Bharati University, Santiniketan under ICCR scholarship and later went to pursue further training in the same university under the Guru Sishya parampara scheme of the ICCR. She had the privilege to be trained under eminent Rabindra Sangeet singer Kanika Bandhopadhyay – an institution by herself.


4. Friends, our cultural connection is that aspect of our relationship which can never be exaggerated or overstated. We share language, music, literature, painting, sculpture, cuisine, and the sheer madness cricket. The compositions of Gurudev and Kazi Nazrul Islam resonate on both sides of the border. It is not just a coincidence that Gurudev is the composer of the national anthems of both Bangladesh and India. Rabindranath Tagore is our shared pride and Government of India has renovated the Shilaidaha Kuthibari in Kushtia, We also have a Chair in Dhaka University. We were honoured to confer the Tagore Cultural Harmony Award to “Chhayanaut” led by Sanjida Khatun who continued to run this institution against all odds, particularly when Rabindra sangeet was banned in Bangladesh.

5. ICCR scholarship was started in Bangladesh in 1972 and so far, 3500 Bangladesh nationals have been awarded this scholarship. 238 students have availed ICCR scholarship this year. A new scheme, Indian Music and Dance Scholarship was started this year with 50 slots. ICCR offers courses in Indian music, dance, drama, Indian languages, literature, Fine Arts, Engineering, Science, Commerce etc starting from the Under-Graduate to the Ph.D level. We are proud that many eminent citizens of Bangladesh Prof Nisar Hussain, Rokeya Sultana, Dr. AAMS Arifin Siddiuqe (former VC, Dhaka University), dancers Shiblee Muhammed, Sharmila Banerjee, Wardha Rihab are ICCR alumni. Through their discourses, art exhibitions, dance and music recitals, seminars and lectures each of the ICCR scholars weave the fabric of friendship everyday bit by bit and we move from strength to strength.

6. I once again congratulate Rezwana Choudhury Bannya for the Distinguished Alumni Award. I do hope and pray and there will be many more Bannya-s who will carry on the noble work of reinforcing the excellent friendship and trust that exists between the two countries. I am sure you will enjoy the musical evening by Shurer Dhara.

Thank you.