At a colourful function organized at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC) in New Delhi, on May 24, 2012, the Day of Slavonic Letters and Culture was marked with the opening of a Photo Exhibition and Multi-Media Presentation “Secrets of the Russian Word”.
The important participants of the function comprised H.E. Mr. Doulat Kuanyshev, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to India, H.E. Ms. Irina A. Orolbaeva, Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic to India, Dr. Chinar Rustamova, Counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of the Turkmenistan Republic in India, Sergey Karmalito, Senior Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation in India, Prof. Ramadhikari Kumar, former Rector, JNU, President, INDAPRYAL, Mr. Fyodor A. Rozovskiy, Director, Russian Centre of Science and Culture, and Ms. Tatyana Perova, Head of the Russian Language Teachers’ Training Centre, RCSC. Those who attended the event included Major Dalbir Singh, Secretary, All-Indian Congress Committee, and Dr. Dmitry E. Chelyshev, Counsellor, Media and Culture, Embassy of the Russian Federation in India. A large gathering of diplomats from CIS countries and academics formed part of the audience.
Welcoming the intellectual gathering, Mr. Fyodor A. Rozovskiy, Director, RCSC, observed that the celebration of the Day denoted one of the most remarkable events in the history and evolution of the Slavonic world, adding that it was very specific occasion marking an event that centuries ago turned over a new page in the history of the Slavonic civilization. He also noted that the contributions of Cyril and Mefodiy continued to be the invisible bridge connecting all Slavic peoples with bonds of cultural and spiritual affinity.
Making an emphatic note on the cultural bond existing between peoples of CIS Countries, H.E. Mr. Doulat Kuanyshev, Kazakhstan Ambassador, made a special reference to the ideas of Kazakhstan leader Nursultan Nazarbayev on the creation of Eurasian Union supported by Belarus and Russia
Laying stress on the evolution of Slavonic Letters and Culture, H.E. Ms. Irina Orolbaeva, Kyrgyz Ambassador, related the significance of the Day as an important unifying factor among the Slavic nations that contributes greatly to the consolidation of the ideals of friendship, peace and concord among them. In this context, she referred to Russian language as the medium of translation of Kazakhstan literature into Indian languages and vice versa. She thanked the organizers for holding the Day memorable in the history of bilateral and multilateral relations.
Narrating the Day as noteworthy event reminding us so much about history, Dr. Chinar Rustamova, Turkmenistan DCM, pointed out that it revealed the ancient roots of the historical links of all the Slavic peoples and their relations with other nations. It is dedicated to the memory of the Christian missionaries Cyril and Methodius—the founders of the Slavic alphabet, whose life and creative work historically linked with the fate of the Islamic world, the history of the Arab Caliphates. Dr. C. Rustamova also mentioned that the RCSC has become a hub of activities promoting cultural relations between India and CIS Countries.
In a scholarly presentation of facts tracing the historic background of Slavonic script, Prof. R. Kumar described the systematic development and creation of the Slavonic alphabet, which achieved its present form in 1708 during the reign of Peter the Great. At present there are 33 letters in the Cyrillic alphabet out of which two are signs, he noted. In conclusion, Prof. Kumar said that there are large numbers of languages written in Cyrillic alphabet, mainly in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Over 60 languages of these regions use Cyrillic alphabet for communication in written form.
Underlining the significance of the Day, Mr. Sergey Karmalito said that the celebration of the occasion would inspire many young Indians to start studying Russian language and to learn more about Russian culture. “It is remarkable that this holiday has a long history both in religious and secular circles and it is also marked by many other Slavonic folks: in Bulgaria, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Macedonia and Poland”, he pointed out. Mr. Sergy Karmalito noted that it is significant that the similarities found between the Slavonic and Indian languages and the affinity discovered in the culture and traditions of Slavic and Indian peoples denote a common heritage once shared by the ancestors of Slavs and that of Indo-Aryans.
Making a Multi-Media Presentation on “Secret of Russian Word”, Ms. Tatyana Perova said that the creation of Slavonic script is a landmark event in the history of not only Russia but also other Slavic nations such as Belarus, Ukraine and Bulgaria. While West European culture is based on Roman tradition and script, the Slavonic culture is based on Bythantine culture and has its own script, which we call Cyrillic. Assigned by Emperor Michael III, Cyril brothers preached Christianity among the Western Slavs and spread the new script, and arranged that the divine service in Slavic countries was performed in their native language. They carried on their activities in Bulgaria and Moravia, and their disciples continued their endeavour and brought it to Russia, Ms. Taryana Perova noted. She added that Slavonic language became the written language and the language of the Church services, and is still used in the Russian Orthodox Church and has become an instrument for developing the literature in Slavic countries.
The celebrations on the Day of Slavonic Letters and Culture continued on May 25, 2012 at the RCSC with a series of competitions on Russian language and literature meant for school children, especially students of Russian language in various schools spread across Delhi, aimed at keeping the spirit of the Day among the young generation