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    Indian Cultural Festival Promotes Closer Ties


    by NTDTelevision

    A month-long cultural festival -- '”Inter-Cultural Dialogue” -- has been staged in , the capital of Tripura in northeast India.

    Festival organizers hope the event will promote closer ties among the Northeast Indian states and with their neighboring Southeast Asian countries.

    The festival began in Guwahati, the capital of Assam, on February 21st and will wind up on March 12th covering Meghaylaya, Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland.

    A four-day symposium-cum-cultural show will follow in New Delhi from March 17th to 20th.

    Around 150 artists and performers from Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and northeastern states of India are performing various traditional dances to showcase their area's traditional art and culture.

    [Swapan Nandi, Reknowned Painter]:
    "I feel our culture, this Indian culture, Indian ancient culture, especially the Aryan culture, has been beautifully mixed in their choreography. They are also trying to expose their dance items, their choreography through Ramayana, Mahabharata. Beautiful mixture of Indian culture and our neighboring countries."

    Along with traditional Thai and Indonesian dance, audiences enjoyed the mask dance of Sikkim and traditional Indonesian Wayang Kulit (shadow puppets) – something completely new to most of them.

    [Chum Chanveasna, Cambodian Artist]:
    "We are happy to join this program because we can show our culture and we can learn another culture like of India, Thailand, Cambodia and Java."

    Organizers say the festival takes advantage of the unique relationship in cultural-historical experiences of the people of Southeast Asian countries and northeast India to help bridge the gap and rediscover old ties between them.