Speech by poet Krasimir Georgiev,

Director of "Fliorir" Publishing House, D-y Editor-in Chief of "Svetilnik",

at the presentation of the nev N 8-th of the Club`s annual

 Svetilnik home | Bulgarian

Your Excellency Ambassador Lal Dingliana,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour and great responsibility for me to present to you the new number of our magazine, on the first place because I am comparatively a new member of the enthusiastic citizens’ collective of Friends of India Club and I know how much fervour and enthusiasm many people of those, present in this audience, have invested throughout the years fully and selflessly to maintain and deepen the friendship between the Bulgarian and the Indian peoples. And secondly, having in mind the eminent representatives of our cultural life, who have presented the previous issues – poet Naiden Vulchev, poetesse Leda Mileva, poet Georgi Konstantinov. There is something symbolic in the fact that Friends of India Club invites poets to be conductors between the ambition of the creators and the evaluation of the readers of „Svetilnik”. It may be because they know that the thousand-years old  flames of poetry is somewhere there, deep in the roots  of Indian spirituality and Indian statesmanship. „Vedas”, „Upanishads”, „Panchatantra” are poetic documents from the dawn of human history; the great epics of „Ramayana” and „Mahabharatha” are 18 times bigger in volume than the „Illyad” and the „Odyseya” taken together, bigger than the epics of all European peoples. It is understandable therefore that the poetic view to life in the world is an invariable part of the philosophy, religion, art, of moral norms and view to life of the Indians. This may be the reason why some years ago Rangel Vulchanov called his film „India Forever”. A wonderful poetic image, which inspired the pioneers of the new public dialogues between Bulgaria and India.

In 2006 – the tenth year of „Svetilnik” - we are celebrating the 15th anniversary of our Club. That is why I hope you will allow me to connect today’s presentation of our magazine with the beginning, without which we wouldn’t have had today’s issue. Friends of India Club was instituted on February 5th 1991 in the hall of the Union of  Translators in Bulgaria. Initiators were the years-long contributors to the Bulgarian-Indian cooperation Vladimir Ganev, Evgenia Kamova and Margarita Georcheva. Among the 105 founders of the Club were the names of scholars, writers, journalists, diplomats, artists, translators, Indologists, politicians and public workers. The symbolic inauguration was performed by  Academician Peter Dinekov, poet Naiden Vulchev and the Charge d’affaires of the Indian Embassy Mr. Sahni, lighting a big brass light-holder with a peacock on top. Let us remember some more names and events from 1991 – the first year of our organized activities. Writer Vera Moutafchieva was elected President of the Club and Lyubomir Popov, the first Bulgarian Ambassador in Independent India, at the time of Jawaharlal Nehru – as First Vice President. The first Club evenings were devoted to literary works on India, written by Yordan Popov, Yassen Antov, Alexander Shourbanov.  The first lectures gave Ass.Prof. Plamen Gradinarov, Prof. Vesselin Traikov and other scholars.   Among the important events in the Club’s life in the first years was the meeting of Club members with the Indian Parliamentary delegation in 1993; the meeting with the President of the Republic of India Shankar Dayal Sharma with club members and Indologists; the celebration of  the 50th anniversary of Independent India, on the occasion of which Friends of India Club organized the first big scholarly conference on India in Bulgaria, called “India in Bulgarian Science” with participation of scholars from all fields of knowledge; and of course the publication of the first issue of  „Svetilnik” in 1997.

The foundations were layed by an Editorial board, including Vesselin Traikov , Vlaidimir Ganev, Evgenia Kamova and artist Yulii Minchev. The Editorial Council was composed of eminent Bulgarian scholars of the rank of   Prof. Alexander Fol. With enthusiasm and devotion these people shared their little free time for the cause of further evolving this periodic annual of the friendship between our two peoples.

In the 2000th year, when Friends of India Club entered its 10th anniversary, „Svetilnik” whose No 1 was a modest black and white bulletin, became a book with new theoretic and graphic vision, great part of the conception for which we are trying to keep up to now. The traditional rubrics were introduced from the very beginning: Lectoria; Chronicle of Club’s Life; „In the World of Books on India”. The first lectures of  scholars  in the Club’s Lectoria: „The Phenomenon India – A Historic Perspective” by Boryana Kamova; „The Cult of Knowledge in Traditional Indian Culture – Bhagavadgita” by Yordanka Boyanova; “ODISSI – A Classical Dance Style of India” by Rajashree Behera and „Hinduism – the Eternal Truth” by Ambassador Nilima Mitra attracted new followers to the Club’s cause. In close relationship with the Leading board of the Club, the magazine „Svetilnik” not only reflected, but also played the role of stimulator of Club’s life.       

A number of articles, published in „Svetilnik” with great effect on the reading public, were those on the contemporary achievements in different branches of  Indian science and economy; the interview of  the President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam, when he visited Bulgaria; the translations of Tagore’s  poems, his paintings; brilliant translations done by Bulgarian indologists from Hindi, Urdu and Sanskrit, etc. etc.

I mention all this in order to underline that now, when we have the new number of „Svetilnik” in our hands as contributors, editors or readers, we are only followers of an already established tradition. And on behalf of all of us allow me thank Vesselin Traikov, Vladimir Ganev, Evgenia Kamova, Yulii Minchev, Alexander Fol, Alexander Shourbanov, Vera Gancheva, Vesselin Seykov, Ivan Kambourov, Yordanka Boyanova, Kuncho Kunev, Plamen Gradinarov, Zhana Rousseva, Subhakanta Behera, A. Chandihoke, R.K.Singh, Tatyana Evtimova, Milena Bratoeva, Boryana Kamova, Galina Sokolova, Daniella Kuneva, also Club members like Dora Goprnenska, always ready to help in the organization of our events, Mariana Mundeva, Tony Peichinov, Michail and Veneta Vassilevi, Tzvetan Stoyanov,  Georgi Varlinkov, Evgeni Aleksiev. Many are those, who gave their share in further developing this tradition. Please excuse my excitement, because of which I miss to mention all authors and contributors. Let us thank the „Balkani” and  „Gera Art” Publishing houses for their contribution to the graphic outlook of the magazine.

And special thanks to the Embassy of India, with the support of which „Svetilnik” is being published; to the former Ambassadors H.E. Nirupam Sen, H.E. Nilima Mitra, H.E. Dinkar Khullar and the present Ambassador of India to Bulgaria, H.E. Lal Dingliana.

I am not going to relate in details of the separate articles published in the new issue. The book is in front of you, I hope you will find what to read in it, what to learn from it, what to like and probably also what to criticize. The official information acquaints the readers with the new Ambassador of India in Bulgaria; with the official visit to our country of  the External Affairs minister of India Anand Sharma and his meeting with Friends of India Club members and Bulgarian Indologists; with Bulgarian Vice-Premier and Minister of Education, Danail Vulchev’s visit to India; with delegations exchanged between the two countries. Devoted to the amazing  economic growth of the greatest in the world democracy, India, relate the articles  „India – the Next Superpower in the Economy of Knowledge”; „A New Giant Being Born”, the lecture „India Today” of the previous Indian Ambassador to Bulgaria H.E. Dinkar Khullar. Portraits of politicians and cultural figures  present this time the leader of the  Indian National Congress Party, Sonya Gandhi and late poetess Amrita Pritam, of which eminent Bulgarian poet Lyubomir Levchev writes with a sigh; actor Kishore Kumar, artist Jamini Roy, film director Mira Nair.  An honourary place in the issue is given to a remembrance of late Bulgarian artist Yulii Minchev, who all these years used to design with love and devotion our magazine. The festive days, celebrated by the Club members are also reflected: the World Hindi Day, the Day of Light Diwali, the National Day of India. Reports and articles treat questions, connected with Indian film industry, relate of the Mughal Gardens of Rashtrapati Bhavan, about the „Indira Gandhi” kindergarten in Pravets, about the Metallurgical plant „Kremikovtsi”, headed by its new owner Pramod Mittal. Travel noted acquaint the readers with different places in India, a special place this time is devoted to the state of Madhya Pradesh; and the pages on culture relate of the songs and dances  of Haryana and Rajasthan, of the folk art Rangoli; of  Thewa, the secret art of a few artisans.

In his editorial article Prof. Vesselin Traikov marks the contribution of „Svetilnik” to the popularization of Indo-Bulgarian relations; the traditional rubrics give adequate new information, Literary science this time is represented by Alexander Fedotov’s treaty „On the Connection among the Tibetian, Indian and Mongolian Didactic poetry” and „Tolstoi and India”, a lecture of Dr. Violina Atanassova from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. A lot of photographs in the issue  meet is with people and remarkable places in different parts of India, this time mainly with the state of Madhya Pradesh; there is a short story, fashion corner, Indian cuisine, sport news. And once more  poetry – verses by the ex-guest-lecturer in Hindi at the indology department of the university of Sofia, Dr. Anand Vardhan Sharma.

No 8th of the „Svetilnik” annual has a new outlook, due to some changes in the editorial model, slightly changed and reinforced with younger contributors, a new combination of the wisdom and routine of the older generation and the enthusiasm and new views of the younger one. The publisher was changed, as well as the printing house. An important part of the pre-print work on the annual coincided with the mandate changes in the  leading staff of the Embassy of India in Bulgaria. I would like to acquaint you in short with what was preserved from the previous theoretic and graphic conception for „Svetilnik”, which we took care to keep as a good experience and necessary transition and with the elements in the changed vision for the publication.

We kept the form, the volume and the supporting graphic forms, the emblem block, all the rubrics and of course the thematic outlook of „Svetilnik”, the light which it radiates on its readers. Whether we have succeeded, it is up to you to say.

What is new?  As far as graphic design is concerned we tried to move it little bit and balance the text and picture elements, tried to use more qualitative photography, where necessary we applied fragments from geographic maps, pointing the exact place of the action described. We increased the rubrics in the magazine and introduced some commentaries on various positions. We started an electronic variation of „Svetilnik” and gave an address in Internet, to which people from all over the planet may give their recommendations.

We have more new ideas for the further development of „Svetilnik” – this unique for the Bulgarian media edition and according to the more competent ones – one of the few similar publications in the world media. We rely on the cooperation with Bulgarian and Indian specialists, scholars, public figures, representatives of the cultural life and on our friends from the Embassy of India.

With this word – friends – I know I am breaking the protocol, but I would like to conclude with it, because I see in it a symbol of „Svetilnik”.

Thank you for the attention.                                

"Svetilnik", 9, 2006 | "Friends of India" Club | "Fliorir" Publishing House