Greece’s ambassador to India, Dimitrios Ioannou, said that as “natural allies” he wanted to bring together the cultures of his country and those of India, “two ancient civilizations.”
Ioannou, who was speaking to PTI on the sidelines of an art exhibition at the office of the West Bengal Administrator General and Official Administrator in the new Secretariat building, said he could discern the influence Greek in some of the statuettes on display and vice versa. .
“There is a two-way street – we call it Greco-Indian art – I hope that such exhibitions will revive the interest of the public of both countries to explore, to make known to all this ancient heritage link which is somewhat forgotten.
“Such exhibitions will strengthen ties between India and Greece, as there are too many things in common between us,” he said.
Among the exhibits were statuettes of Gautam Buddha, yakhsis, Hindu gods and goddesses and mythological figures, on which the influence of the Gandhara school of art or the Greco-Indian school dating back to the Mauryan era was easily noticeable.
Ioannou said he was in favor of UNESCO making “Indo-Greek common heritage” a specific theme, which should be explored and studied in the coming days, in addition to encouraging exchanges between the museum teams of the two country.
About the Administrator General’s Office’s plan to establish a judicial museum and research center of international standards in Kolkata with 25 categories of exhibits, he said “our aim is to have tie-ups with 149 countries “.
“If we pay homage to Indian and other civilizations, I think the whole concept is wonderful,” he said.
Deputy Head Biplab Roy, who has spearheaded an initiative in recent months, first unearthing artifacts and letters stored in his own office’s cobwebbed storage rooms, then leading excavations and by gathering objects, collected more than 40,000 antiques. .
Objects that Roy personally found in his maze-like storage include sepia photographs of a three-story steam tram on the roads of the second city of the British Empire and another of a pontoon bridge, which preceded by the iconic Howrah Bridge over the Hooghly and a certificate awarded to Paul Gregory Melitus, the 1880 winner of the Bengal Presidency of the coveted ICS examination.
Among others, an ivory replica of the Holwell monument, a 1919 book on public hygiene written by an Indian doctor during the Spanish flu epidemic, as well as a large number of firearms, swords and old figurines.
“We are reserving five acres of land in the city to house the exhibitions,” Roy said, adding that the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court had offered to extend his support.
Roy said many of the exhibits, such as letters, certificates and coins dating back centuries, were brought from abroad by local collectors who had voluntarily presented their collections to state authorities.