“I never thought I would be an Indian ambassador. As I look back, I realise I am where I am because of my Indian origin,” said British deputy high commissioner Bharat Joshi.
Speaking at the inauguration of Bhavan’s Cultural Festival 2013, held at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Friday, he said his strength, energy and commitment come from the Indian culture.
Born in England to Gujarati parents, he said he tried to live like the whites for the first 13 years of his life. “In June 1983, when India won the World Cup, I felt special being of Indian origin. That was the beginning of a big change in my life. I relearnt my mother tongue, began to read some of our epics, and biographies and autobiographies of the forefathers of this democracy. Today, we speak Gujarati at home, my daughters can read and write the language and we live as a Hindu Gujarati family.”
At the event, musicians Thiruvarur Bakthavathsalam and Ranjani and Gayatri were presented the P. Obul Reddy and P. Gnanambal Memorial Award.
Though the Gurukula tradition of learning music isn’t there anymore, the external structure still exists, said Ms. Gayatri. “We had rigorous training from a young age. Once, it rained heavily in Mumbai but we still went to music class to find that our guru and the two of us were the only ones to turn up for the class,” she said.
Ms. Ranjani said as they were introduced to music at a very young age, it eventually became an inseparable part of their lives.
“We were exposed to classical music of all sorts, including Hindustani and western classical music,” she said. A concert by Sudha Ragunathan was also part of the event.