CULTURE (2017 | Issue 3)

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The Winning Team: India & Germany

What’s Up, Germany? gives you an overview of some
action-packed and multi-faceted Indo-German
cultural collaborations.

What’s Up, Germany? gives you an overview of some action-packed and multi-faceted Indo-German cultural collaborations.

Cultural exchanges go a long way in shaping a better, closer and more understanding world. A cultural agreement was signed between India and Germany in 1969, forming the bedrock of Indo-German cultural relations. These ties are constantly strengthened by the German government through its embassy in New Delhi and consulates in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Bengaluru.

CULTURAL HERITAGE CONSERVATION

The Germans have a lovely word for the preservation of historical sites: Denkmalpflege. Under the Cultural Preservation Programme of the German Federal Foreign Office, Germany has contributed around ₹75 crore towards the conservation of more than 50 monuments and heritage buildings since 1981. These restoration projects were undertaken in partnership with non-profit organisations:

Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel & Prime Minister Narendra Modi

  • Germany gave over ₹23.3 lakhs to restore the Black Pavilion (Diwan-e-Khas) in Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar. The project was overseen by the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH). In 2016, the German Ambassador to India, Dr Martin Ney, inaugurated the pavilion along with Naeem Akhtar, former education minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Chausath Khamba, a Mughal mausoleum in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin Basti, was restored in collaboration with the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) in 2014.
  • Currently, two Mughal tombs in the Qutb Shahi Heritage Park in Hyderabad are being restored through the support of the German consulate in Chennai, in partnership with AKTC.
  • Other projects include the restoration of Arab ki Sarai in Humayun’s Tomb (New Delhi), the queen’s palace in Mehrangarh Fort (Jodhpur) and Avalokiteshvara temple (Ladakh).

In 2015, Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel returned a 10th-century idol of the Goddess Durga, which was stolen from Kashmir by a notorious Indian art dealer in the 1990s and later appeared in Stuttgart’s Linden Museum.

Ambassador Dr. Martin Ney with wife Dr Gabriele Ney at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

LANGUAGE SKILLS

German is one of the most popular foreign languages in India. It is being taught in schools around the world under the PASCH (Schools: Partners for the Future) initiative. Launched by the Federal Foreign Office in 2008, PASCH is being implemented by the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad (ZfA) and Max Mueller Bhavan. It has a global network of over 1,800 partner schools to promote the German language. In India alone, more than 15,900 students are learning German through PASCH. Another milestone project, “German in 1,000 Schools”, is run by the German government and Max Mueller Bhavan in cooperation with Kendriya Vidyalayas, where German is offered as an additional subject. Over 50,000 students are learning German in more than 250 Kendriya Vidyalayas all over India. In addition, through the Bildungskooperation Deutsch (BKD), Max Mueller Bhavan supports 310 private schools, enabling over 53,000 students to learn German.

Every year, the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD) has exchange programmes for students and teachers worldwide. Winners are selected through a competition and go to Germany for a six-week programme, during which they live with a German family. The teachers participate in an educational programme or do an internship at a German school. In July 2017, eight Indian students experienced German culture through this scholarship programme. And the action doesn’t end here! When Chancellor Merkel received the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, she used the prize money for Startup with German. Through this competition—which was initiated by the German Embassy New Delhi—31 students and four teachers won a language course in Germany. The highlight: a meeting with the chancellor herself!

LANGUAGE SKILLS

German is one of the most popular foreign languages in India. It is being taught in schools around the world under the PASCH (Schools: Partners for the Future) initiative. Launched by the Federal Foreign Office in 2008, PASCH is being implemented by the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad (ZfA) and Max Mueller Bhavan. It has a global network of over 1,800 partner schools to promote the German language. In India alone, more than 15,900 students are learning German through PASCH. Another milestone project, “German in 1,000 Schools”, is run by the German government and Max Mueller Bhavan in cooperation with Kendriya Vidyalayas, where German is offered as an additional subject. Over 50,000 students are learning German in more than 250 Kendriya Vidyalayas all over India. In addition, through the Bildungskooperation Deutsch (BKD), Max Mueller Bhavan supports 310 private schools, enabling over 53,000 students to learn German.

Ambassador Dr. Martin Ney with wife Dr Gabriele Ney at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Every year, the Pädagogischer Austauschdienst (PAD) has exchange programmes for students and teachers worldwide. Winners are selected through a competition and go to Germany for a six-week programme, during which they live with a German family. The teachers participate in an educational programme or do an internship at a German school. In July 2017, eight Indian students experienced German culture through this scholarship programme. And the action doesn’t end here! When Chancellor Merkel received the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, she used the prize money for Startup with German. Through this competition—which was initiated by the German Embassy New Delhi—31 students and four teachers won a language course in Germany. The highlight: a meeting with the chancellor herself!

German Embassy New Delhi

MUSIC BONDING

Recognising Western music’s popularity in India, the German Embassy New Delhi and the consulates sponsor German musicians on a regular basis. Django 3000, Karlsruher Konzert-Duo, Berger Duo and a string trio have all performed in India. Some of them even played music with Ambassador Dr Martin Ney and his wife, Dr Gabriele Ney, who are both  accomplished flautists.

SPORT SPURT!

Promoting sports, especially football, is also high on the agenda. In 2016, the German Football Association’s student national team visited India on a ten-day tour to play friendly matches with Indian teams. The German footballers trained socially deprived children during a camp organised in cooperation with the NGO STAIRS. Preparations are on for the U17-World Cup, which will be held in India in October 2017. The search is also on to get a football trainer from Germany!