Cairo: Egypt’s Minister of Culture Helmiel-Namnam on Monday ordered the country’s national library to translate into Arabic a book based on the diaries of India’s first Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
Helmi was gifted the book by India’s ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya after they jointly inaugurated a book exhibition at the National Library of Egypt in Cairo as part of the ongoing Tagore festival to mark the famous writer’s 155th birth anniversary which will run until May 12.
Helmi said the celebration of Tagore was very important to enhance the relations between the India and Egypt.
“Tagore and Naguib Mahfouz (Egyptian writer and Nobel Laureate) were people who were committed to the issues of their societies and their local communities and this is how their writings have become a humanitarian creative experience,” Helmi said.
Bhattacharyya, who read a short part from ‘Gitanjali’ in English during the inauguration, said India and Egypt shared strong cultural relations and people to people exchanges form a foundation on which both countries strengthen their economic and political ties.
“For us it is a journey back in time but at the same time we hope that is going to set the foundation for our future cooperation,” Bhattacharyya said at the exhibition organised to honour Tagore.
“We are into the second day of Tagore Festival, a five-day festival in which we are trying to explore the links that Tagore had created between the people of India and the people of Egypt,” he said.
The exhibition displayed a number of Tagore’s books such as Paper Boats, Ghare Baire, The Post Office, Gitanjali, The Gardner and others translated into Arabic by Egyptians.
“We have more than 60 books written by Tagore and translated into Arabic in the National Library of Egypt. The issuing date of these books ranging from 1931 to 2012,” said Sherif Shahin, the chairman of the National Library and Archives of Egypt.