Monday January 22, 2018

Fez music fest in Morocco pays homage to India

The festival features various Indian musical styles and numerous renowned artists' names

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Fez (Morocco), May 11 :The quaint Moroccan city of Fez, one of the world’s oldest cities, came alive to the sounds of India as dozens of Indian artists performed across the city as part of the 22nd edition of the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music 2016, which has India as a guest of honour this year.

The event saw Indian artists hosting wonderful shows ranging from playing music, singing and dancing on Monday evening at different locations in Morocco’s second largest city.

Various shows were performed at locations such as Boujeloud Cinema, Dar Adiel and the Prefecture Hall as well as Janan Sabil Gardens.

The festival features various Indian musical styles and numerous renowned artists’ names.

The opening show was a Hindustani classical music performance “Raga” and the artists came from Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Jodhpur and Jaipur, to showcase their talent for the first time in Morocco.

The Fez concert featured a performance by a group of young children from Rajasthan whose stories sounded like a movie story.

The festival management invited the Rajasthani artists to perform in Fez concerts, to support them and pay tribute to their art. The management has produced a short film about their lives.

Alain Wieber, artistic director of the festival, said that “The film depicts their present and past lives, their reality, and the villages from where they came, and their music.” He noted that “The musical genre they perform was on the verge of extinction, if they had not made any efforts to keep it alive.”

The film relates the story of three children who were born in a Rajasthan village and inherited their art from their families. It is the story of the three children whose lives revolved around music since they were born. So they did not go to school and did not learn anything, but remained clinging to one goal — which is to keep up their music and to deliver it to the largest possible audience.

Related article: Indian classical music touches The Cat Empire

According to the filmmaker: “The goal of the film is to show the origin of the music they play and how it evolved.” He added: “Despite all circumstances, they continue to sing, day and night, with their fathers, passing on their art from one generation to another.”

She explained that “featuring this kind of music in Fez festival would create new tastes among the young audience.”

Indian artists recognized worldwide, such as Parvathy Baul, Rageshri Das from Benares or the dual Shashank Subramaniam and Rakesh Chaurasia, flute musicians from Chennai and Mumbai, held a series of performances, in addition to the show of surbahar and sitar player, Irshad Khan.

Moroccans are very fond of Indian music, culture and cinema. In fact, the country celebrated 100 years of Hindi cinema at the 12th Marrakech International Film Festival in November 2012, hosting Bollywood biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and other Indian stars. The Marrakech festival honour came much before Bollywood held its own event to honour Hindi cinema.

Fez, with a population of 1.1 million, is one of the oldest cities in Morocco, founded in 808 AD. (IANS)

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All You Need To Know About India’s Strategic Chabahar Port

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border.

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Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is of great international significance in terms of trade, especially for India. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma

  • The Chabahar Port is of great strategic importance for India
  • It is in Iran and is being built and operated by India
  • This port will increase India’s trade with Central Asia and Europe

The Chabahar Port is a seaport in Chabahar, which is on the Gulf of Oman, near Iran-Pakistan border. Chabahar is the trans-shipment and logistics hub for the Makran Coast and Baluchistan province of Iran.

Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port is built and operated by India. Wikimedia Commons

The tension between India and Pakistan is nothing new. There are several instances where both the countries have tried to obstruct each other’s political or economic agendas. This obstruction, along with other strategic reasons, resulted in the India and Iran’s deal on the Chabahar Port, which is crucial because of several reasons.

Here are few things about it you may not have known before :

  • Under the Trilateral Transit and Transport Agreement of 2016, the Chabahar port is the gateway to the Transport Corridor between India, Iran and Afghanistan, which allows multi-modal goods’ and passengers’ transport.

Also Read: India and Iran sign agreement to develop Chabahar Port

  • The agreement also states that India will develop and operate two berths in the first phase of the port. The contract is for 10 years and extendable. This time period excludes the first two years as they will be used for construction.
Chabahar Port will make India's trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
Chabahar Port will make India’s trade with Afghanistan easier. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port’s first phase, which was developed by India, and inaugurated by Iran on 4th December 2017, is of great strategic importance as it makes it easier for India to conduct trade with Central Asia and Europe.
  • Iran’s Chabahar port is also important for India’s trade because of Pakistan’s reluctance in allowing India to send goods to Iran and Afghanistan through its land territory.

Also Read: Gwadar Port: China Turning Pakistan Port Into Regional Giant 

  • The development of Chabahar Port will increase the momentum of the International North-South Transport Corridor whose signatories include India, Afghanistan and Russia. Iran is the key gateway in this project. It will improve India’s trade with Central Asia as well as Europe.
    The Chabahar Port has also reduced Afghanistan’s dependence on the transit road, which went through Karachi. Now, trade can be conducted via Chabahar Port too. Islamabad has accused India of trying to use this development as a means to destabilise Pakistan.

    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
    The Chabar Port is the said to be the counter to the Gwadar Port. Wikimedia Commons
  • The Chabahar Port also acts as a counter to the barely 100 km away, Gwadar port in Pakistan, which is developed by China. However, Iran has defended that Chabahar is not a rival to Gwadar and Pakistan is invited to join in its development.
  • In October 2017, India sent its first shipment of wheat to through Chabahar to Afghanistan, in order to test the viability of the route.
  • India will also construct a 900-km Chabahar-Zahedan-hajigak railway line that will connect Port of Chabahar to Hajigak in Afghanistan. It will also connect Mashad in the north, providing access to Turkmenistan as well as northern Afghanistan.This project is worth $1.6 billion.

    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehrain. Wikimedia Commons
    India will supply $400 million worth of steel rails to Tehran. Wikimedia Commons
  • It is being said that India will supply $400 million of steel rails to Tehran. There are also possibilities of setting up a fertilizer plant through a joint venture with the Iranian government.