President Ram Nath Kovind said Saturday that India and the Czech Republic have built a strong contemporary partnership on a shared past of flourishing trade in spices and silk.
President Kovind, who is in the Central European country on the final leg of his three-nation tour, was welcomed in four Indian languages - Hindi, Bengali, Tamil and Sanskrit by the students of the Charles University at the campus.
He said that he deeply appreciates their pursuit of knowledge and academic excellence as students of Indology, the study of Indian history, literature, philosophy and culture.
"It delights me that Rabindranath Tagore, our national poet and one of the greatest sons of India, once came to this very campus and delivered a thought provoking speech, captivating many," he said.
About a millennia back, the Kingdom of Bohemia and India had a flourishing trade in spices and silk. On that shared past, today India and Czech Republic have built a strong contemporary partnership, Kovind said.
"Indology has a very old tradition in Prague starting with the establishment of a Chair in Sanskrit, at this University, in 1850. Prof. Lesny was one of the founding fathers of the Czech school of Indology and a friend of Rabindranath Tagore.
"He was the first European Indologist who translated Tagore's poetry directly from Bengali instead of using English translations," he said.
All the Indologists in the Czech Republic exposed the lyrical beauty of Indian literature to the Czech people, bringing India's cultural traditions closer to each other, Kovind said.
Remote sensing studies of the Ghaggar-Hakra basin have changed our understanding of the Harappan civilization and the role of a lost river -Saraswati - that once flowed in those plains and was celebrated in Vedic literature, he said.
This wonderful cooperation among different disciplines presents a great opportunity to rediscover aspects of ancient Indian wisdom that can solve many of our contemporary problems, the President said.
Studies on Yoga have confirmed the positive impact it has on human health and well-being. "I am happy to learn that Yoga and Ayurveda have been receiving overwhelming support and interest in the Czech Republic," he said.
"Indology has not just brought our two countries together. It has had an enormous impact in the making of Modern India. It rediscovered India's rich past and triggered a cultural awakening. It enabled India to im-bibe and assimilate modernity without letting go of its cultural roots.
"From Vidyasagar to Vivekananda and from Tagore to Mahatma Gandhi, one finds that the socio-cultural modernisation of India was built upon a foundation that emphasised an organic synthesis of the eastern and western thought," Kovind said.
Indological studies continue to bind the world into that universal family where there are no barriers and no walls, he added.
Kovind also visited ELI Beamlines, a scientific research centre focused on laser technology, in which Tata Institute of Fundamental Research is also involved in frontier scientific research.
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